Regular readers of this column already know the benefits of raised bed gardening. Less weeding, less bending over, and no more soil compaction around your plants. Perfect drainage because excess water can seep out the bottom. Healthy plants out of reach of rabbits. Boxes that sit on top of the ground, filled with fancy soil, and never mind tilling all the space between boxes.
How can you make this happen quickly and easily? We all fantasize about having a complete “square foot garden” with enough raised beds to provide the perfect environment for all our vegetables, herbs, and fruit plants. The ugly fact is that it takes a pile of lumber and hardware, and many weekends of time to even make a dent. Spring is upon us and there’s pressure to get our cool weather vegetables (Brussels sprouts, celery, cabbage, lettuce and onions) in the ground now.
Before you spend and pile of money at the lumberyard, or worse yet, abandon your gardening dreams until next year when you’re “ready”, here’s a quick and easy solution to raised beds instantly: “Smart Pots”.
Smart pots are durable, reusable black fabric raised beds you can set up in seconds, fill with just the right soil mix, and create an instant raised bed garden for less than it would cost to build one out of pressure-treated wood. They provide perfect drainage, allow plant roots to breathe, and soak up the sun to warm the soil quickly so plants will thrive.
Think about it. Rather than changing the chemistry and texture of the earth’s crust (your yard), simply unfold these terrific, foot-deep fabric planters, fill with just the right growing mix for the specific plants you’re trying to grow, and then plant. Done.
For acid-loving plants like blueberries and strawberries, fill your Smart Pots with “Pine Magic”, the same stuff that commercial growers use to make custom potting mixes for growing in containers. Herbs just love soil-less mixes like Sungro #4 or Professional Potting Mix. Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers prefer topsoil enriched with mushroom compost. You can grow huge potatoes and sweet potatoes in well-rotted compost from your pile.
Instead of a “square foot garden”, imagine a “polka-dot garden” with round raised containers of various sizes, sized just right for the plants you’re growing. Smart pots are almost weightless, so you can flip the soil out when you’re done and clean them, eliminating insect eggs and fungus spores.
Sound crazy? Maybe so, but you can start growing vegetables today without tilling, or even waiting another minute for the muck in your yard to finally dry out. Try just one. You’ll be back to us for more before your neighbor even gets his tiller running.
Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery and Landscape, located near Winchester, at 9736 Tri-County Highway. More information is available at www.goodseedfarm.com or call (937) 587-7021.