Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Building Raised Garden Beds:
Building raised garden beds is relatively easy (and raised vegetable garden beds are more productive); so it's a good idea to build your own raised beds.
What are the advantages of raised bed organic gardening? Plant roots need air and raised beds are not as compacted and allow better air flow in the soil. Well designed garden raised beds allow you to garden from the side of the bed.
Usually, raised beds are more productive; plants are closer together. There is better water drainage in a raised bed and, because the plants, air and water are in better balance, you can manage pests better (although if necessary you can use organic insecticide or other organic pest control methods). These are just a few reasons why building raised garden beds needs to be something you consider for your organic garden.
In situating your plot, remember that your growing vegetables will need the sun on them. If you follow the plan detailed here, you will need to position your raised bed so that the length straddles the east-west axis, to allow your produce the best exposure to the sun.
How to Grow Organic Vegetables:
Raised Vegetable Garden Beds
Building raised garden beds can be cheap or expensive depending on the materials you choose. A variety of materials can be used for constructing the frame; railway sleepers, bricks and concrete blocks, recycled plastic lumber, designer timbers etc.
Here we are going to build cheaply and without too much trouble, using softwood planks treated with a non-toxic preservative, to make a basic 8 x 4 raised garden bed.
If you take a trip to your local reclamation yard you will find an abundance of cheap wood (often your local organic garden supply store will also have organic materials to build your raised bed). Softwood is usually the cheapest and will serve our purpose well.
- Three lengths of 12" x 2" x 8' softwood
- 12 x 4" screws
- 8 x 2' metal stakes
- A bag of tacks
- A large ball of twine
As you will be doing raised bed organic gardening, make sure you treat the wood with a non-toxic preservative. Toxic preservatives contain synthetic chemicals that will leach into the soil over time. These will poison the soil and all its living guests, including your vegetables.
Mark off your plot area perimeter with string. Do not worry about removing turf as that will decompose once it is covered with soil. Dig out a recess of approximately 2 inches around the perimeter so that the walls (planks) will slot in securely.
Saw one of your planks in half. These will be the two 4' end pieces.
Now construct a box (over the plot area to avoid having to move the constructed frame too far) by fixing the end pieces to the lengths using three screws, evenly positioned, on each corner. Its that simple! Now drop your frame into the recess you dug out earlier.
Hammer (preferably with a large one!) two metal stakes into the ground on each side of the frame, keeping them snug against the wood until the top of each stake is flush with the top edge of the frame. This will support the outside of the frame. The soil will take care of the inside.
Buying Rather than Building Raised Garden Beds:
This is a cheap and basic, though effective, way of setting up a raised bed garden. There are other ways.
For those that balk at the idea of building raised garden beds, or who are just unable to for whatever reason, garden centres (or online) sell garden raised beds. Typing 'buy raised bed garden' into any search engine will bring up a list of raised bed garden suppliers.
You are now halfway to having your own organic raised bed vegetable garden. Next, you will learn how to prepare your soil. After that, you will learn what that big ball of twine is for.
Please visit Organic Soil for the final stage in creating your raised vegetable garden beds.
Natural Soil Aeration
Soil with a good population of worms in it is a healthy soil. If your existing soil has plenty of worms then you just need to keep them happy while your vegetables grow.
Worms in your soil keep it aerated and maintain a functioning drainage system. Worms are, in effect, tilling your soil.
Worms do not destroy the soil structure or pollute the environment with petrol fumes and residues (as heavy machinery do).
By creating space with their burrowing, worms allow air to circulate, water to drain, and roots to grow.
More on Worms: What do Worms Eat?
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