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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed


or Container Correctly
By Jennifer Poindexter

Creating a garden may seem elementary in thought, but when you begin the
process, there may be steps you are unaware of how to do.

For instance, growing a garden is one thing, but how do you go about getting
your garden beds set up?

Believe it or not, there is a process. If you don’t complete the first step right, you
can’t expect much else to go right with your garden.

However, you don’t need to fret. I’m going to walk you through each step of
setting up your garden beds regardless of what type of garden you are starting.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

Raised Beds

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly


Photo by Joe Mabel

Raised beds are becoming a popular garden choice. They have many benefits
such as making gardening less labor intensive and are great for gardening in
smaller spaces. Here is how you create raised garden beds:

1. Ponder Your Garden Design


Before you begin putting raised beds into the ground, you need to contemplate
about how you want the beds to be laid out.

You could place the beds parallel to one another or create fun abstract designs
with them. Just keep in mind, once they are in place, they are there.

Be sure of your layout before you begin building your beds.

2. Building Materials
After deciding on the design, start deliberating about the materials you will build
your raised beds from.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

You could choose to build with wood. Many people do this because wood has a
clean, finished look to it, and it is affordable.

You could also choose to build your raised beds from concrete blocks. They are
easy to put together to form raised beds, have a unique look, and are affordable
as well.

Obviously, you can get as creative as your mind allows when deciding what to
build your raised beds from.

3. Design Your Garden Beds


Once you’ve decided what materials you’ll make your raised beds from, it is time
to design them. You could build raised beds in a U-shape, in a rectangular shape,
a square, or any other shape you wish.

You’ll want to decide what shape you’d like your beds to be in and make sure it
fits your original garden design.

If it does, you are good to go. If not, you’ll have to tweak either your raised bed
plans or your garden design.

When you have your garden design layout lining up with your particular raised
bed designs, you are ready to move on with the process.

4. Decide How High You Want Them


Now you know your design layout, you need to decide how high you want your
raised beds to be. Some people like to build raised beds two or three layers high.

Building beds higher makes them easier to garden in.

However, they require much more dirt too. If you build lower garden beds, they
don’t need as much soil to get started but do expect more from your back when

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

tending them.

This is a decision you’ll need to make now. I’m usually working on a budget;
therefore, I make my garden beds one layer high.

By doing this, it saves money on dirt and organic matter. These are things to take
into consideration when creating your raised garden beds.

5. Contemplate the Purpose


The last step you take before building your garden beds is to decide their
purpose. It will help you determine if you’ve made the best decisions up to this
point.

What I mean by their purpose is: are you building raised beds because of lack of
space? Are you making them to help a disabled person be able to garden with
ease?

What is your reasoning for choosing raised beds? When you have your reason in
mind, go back through your plans and make sure you picked the best layout to
fulfill your purpose.

If you did, it is time to build the beds. If not, stop here and consider things before
you go through with the build.

6. Fill the Beds


You have now studied your raised beds thoroughly. I encourage all these thought
processes because I know what it is to jump the gun and spend a great deal of
effort and funds to create something only for it not to function.

If you reflect on things, your chances of being unhappy with your choice are less.

When you feel sure about your raised bed choice and design, build the beds.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

Once complete, fill the beds with soil and organic matter to enhance your soil.

Container Garden


via mnn.com

If you are working with limited space, container gardening could be the answer
for your gardening problem. You still need to know how to get your container
garden set-up. Here is what you need to know:

1. Choose Quality Containers


The container for your container garden is one of the most critical components,
next to the soil. You will want to make sure you choose high-quality containers.

What you don’t want, is flimsy plastic containers you find at gardening centers
when you purchase plants from them.

Those pots are great for starting plants, but they are not what you want as a
permanent home for the plant.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

However, you do want sturdy plastic pots, terracotta pots, and five-gallon
buckets. These are all sturdy enough to make great homes for your plants
throughout their growing season.

2. Deliberate on the Size


As much as you want sturdy pots for your garden, you’ll also want the right size
containers as well. Some gardeners grow fruit trees in their container gardens.

Consider the sizes of the plants you are adding to your garden. You obviously
can’t grow a large plant in a small pot.

Which is why it is vital to make sure you choose the right pot size. If you don’t,
your plants could become root bound, and this will kill them.

Try to come up with the largest pots you can. It will ensure your plants won’t
become root bound and give your garden a healthy chance for survival.

3. Quality Dirt Makes the Difference


The final step in creating your container garden is to be sure you place it in a
location with ample sunlight and fill your containers with quality dirt.

Once you’ve filled the pots up with the dirt, it is a good idea to add organic matter
to the soil as well. It will only enrich your soil and better feed your plants when
they’ve been planted.

Small Garden Bed

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly


via installitdirect.com

Perhaps, one of the most challenging garden beds to start are the gardens which
go in the ground. They are the traditional style garden, but they are larger (even
the small versions) and require extra preparation. Here is what you need to know:

1. Beat the Grass Down


The first step to preparing your garden bed is to get rid of the grass. The best
way I’ve found to do this is to put your weed eater to work.

From there, you beat the grass down to the dirt as much as possible. This should
give you a base to start with.

However, you’ll need to complete the steps to follow because keeping the grass
from coming back is vital to a healthy and weed free garden.

2. Prepare the Land


When you have beat the garden space down to rid it of grass, you have one of

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

two choices (and they will depend upon what time of year you are preparing your
garden.)

First, if you are developing your garden in the fall, use your tiller to till up the soil.
You will leave the ground alone all winter. The cold temperatures will kill the
grass off.

However, if you are a little late in prepping your garden, you need to first till your
ground. From there, you can place newspaper over the ground to deter the grass
from returning.

Also, if the days are hot enough, you could cover the ground with plastic and
allow it to sit for a couple of weeks. This should kill off any remaining grass and
deter any of it from returning.

Once you feel confident you have beaten the grass, you are ready to move on.

3. Work in the Good Material


When you are getting close to time to plant, work organic matter into your soil. It
is also a good idea to test your soil to see what vital nutrients may be missing.

This will help you to build your soil and give your plants the best start possible.
When your dirt is ready, you’ve prepared a space for a fully functional garden.

4. Add a Border
This final step is optional, but some people prefer to add a border to their garden
or fence it. It will help to deter pests in the future.

Depending upon border size, it could deter small things like bugs if you go with a
simple outline around your garden. It could also discourage larger pests such as
deer if you go with a full fence around your yard.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

Again, this is an optional step, but one which can be helpful.

Large Garden Bed


via livetomanage.com

Our final garden we are going to discuss creating is the large garden bed. The
steps are a little different from the small garden bed because the assumption will
be made you will be using larger tools to work the garden, like a tractor. Here is
what you need to know:

1. Till Up the Land


When working a more extensive garden, it is a good idea to get started in the fall.
You will want to mark off your garden area and till up the area with your tractor.

From there, you will let the soil sit. It will look lumpy and ugly like disturbed land
does typically.

However, by allowing the garden area to sit during the cold months, you are
giving the grass time to die off.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

If you are starting late, it will be a good idea to cover your garden with a black
tarp for a couple of weeks on hot days. It should kill the grass off quickly to help
you keep weeds under control.

2. Cultivate Your Dirt


When you feel confident the grass has been killed (and usually a month before
planting), either use a tiller or cultivator attachment on your tractor and cultivate
the land.

It will soften the dirt, make things lay flat, and give your garden a smoother look. I
know my garden is ready when I no longer feel I will twist an ankle by walking
through it.

3. Add the Good Material


Once your garden has been smoothed over, you are ready to add organic matter
to your soil. It is a good idea to test your soil to see what it may be lacking.

When you know what you are lacking, you can work on adding it back into your
soil. This is a big job because you are working a more extensive section of the
garden. Keep this in mind, to keep from becoming discouraged.

4. Cultivate Again
Finally, you’ll cultivate the land again once everything has been added to the soil.
Cultivating it will help distribute everything evenly and give your garden a nice
finished look.

It should be ready for planting once you’ve completed this step.

However, I will say, when working a smaller garden, it has benefits to adding a
fence. I don’t recommend adding a fence to a larger garden because if you use a
tractor, you can’t maneuver in the garden with a fence.

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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

This is your choice, but I stick with an old-fashioned scarecrow to keep larger
pests out of my garden.

You now know how to start any garden your heart may desire to create. It isn’t
complicated; it only requires forethought and a little effort.


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How to Set Up Your Vegetable Garden Bed or Container Correctly

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