Spring Vegetable Planning
When considering whether to grow in your native soil or in raised beds, it's important to know about your soil's health. If you are unfamiliar with the history of your garden, or if some of the other plants in your landscape are not fairing well, you might consider having your soil tested by area labs to determine the make up of your soil and see if it needs any amendments. But there are also some simple questions to ask yourself. Does that area of your property drain well after a heavy rain? Is it easy to dig, or is it rock hard? Does your soil look like compacted clay or too sandy or gritty? These answers in combination with a soil test, will help you determine if it's a suitable area for growing in the native soil.
If you decide you need to build raised beds, they can be any depth and length you choose. From as little as 4 inches deep up to 18 inches deep. The deeper the beds, the more costly it can be to fill them with soil. If you have decent soil, you might consider a raised bed that is only 4 to 6 inches deep. If you would like easier access to your vegetables, or have poor soil, build a deeper bed that allows for your vegetable roots to grow. Do keep in mind that you do not want your beds to be so wide that you are unable to reach the middle of them for planting and harvesting. Building beds that are 48 inches wide is a common width. A couple advantages to raised beds is that they can provide better drainage for those whose native soil doesn't drain well. The soil also warms earlier than garden beds in the ground. The disadvantage is that they can be costly to build and fill, and they may drain a little too well, which requires you to be more vigilant about watering in the peak of summer.
Once you have made it through these planning stages, you are ready to plant! It's an exciting time of year for gardeners. What do you hope to grow in your garden this year?