grow­ing veges in raised beds

When space is short, a raised gar­den on the pa­tio is per­fect for grow­ing a few veg­eta­bles.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - Edited by JACKIE FRENCH

Fill vases with proteas, sweet peas, daf­fodils, jon­quils and tulips, but be­ware of heav­ily scented flow­ers, in case fam­ily or friends are al­ler­gic.

You don’t need a big back­yard to have a gar­den. If your home has a patch of con­crete with at least three hours of sun­light a day, you can cre­ate an above­ground gar­den. Most veg­eta­bles have short roots and grow hap­pily in shal­low soil. If you put your gar­den on a balcony, though, make sure the deck­ing can take the weight of it when the soil is wet. Beds can be home­made, ready made or con­structed from ready-to-as­sem­ble kits.

PA­TIO OR ROOFTOP BED Most balcony or rooftop gardens grow herbs, veg­eta­bles and flow­ers, but they are also per­fect for pa­tio roses, straw­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, pas­sion­fruit to twine along the rail­ings, blue­ber­ries, goji berries and dwarf fruit trees like peaches, nec­tarines, ap­ples, lemon­ade tree or fin­ger limes. You’ll even find your pa­tio bed eas­ier to look af­ter than a back­yard one: there will be a lot fewer weeds, of­ten fewer pests and less bend­ing, plus ex­tra sun­light and heat re­flected from walls and floor.

TAI­LOR IT TO YOUR HOME A raised bed can hide an ugly wall. Or use it to com­ple­ment your home by con­struct­ing it in a build­ing ma­te­rial such as Colorsteel. At­tach sheets to stakes and fill the bed with com­post or good soil. Once your plants start spilling over the edges, it will look beau­ti­ful. Add tall stakes at the back for climb­ing beans and peas, while sweet peas or pas­sion­fruit can cover the wall be­hind.

SELF-WA­TER­ING SO­LU­TION In a wick­ing bed (a self-wa­ter­ing raised gar­den), the soil sits above a pool of water. As the soil dries out, water is drawn up and the plant roots head down. Plants like let­tuce and toma­toes grow more quickly, as they have a con­stant sup­ply of mois­ture, pro­vid­ing they have heat and food.

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