More Fun, Less Work!
Jane Young, Ardenwoods Resident
You’ve parted with your wedding china, Aunt Ethel’s cut glass punch bowl, and your vintage fur-lined jacket. Two hundred books went to the library book sale, and Goodwill welcomed half a dozen sets of bed sheets. You’re downsizing, and it feels pretty good.
But what about your garden? For years you’ve celebrated tulips and daffodils in spring, fresh green beans and red-ripe tomatoes in summer, and your favorite herbs all the way till frost. No, you can’t take that garden with you, but you can create a new garden that’s beautiful, productive, and more fun than work. Meet the raised bed.
Ardenwoods’ beds are 2 ft. high in 4 ft. squares. Some residents happily manage one such square; others go all out with four or five. The planting medium is commercial potting mix supplemented with bagged cow manure and compost. Here are the bragging rights of a raised bed: (1) reachable from all sides, (2) easy to work up with hand tools, (3) no drainage problems, (4) scant if any weeds, (5) fewer crawling insects and slugs, and (6) burrowing moles and voles unlikely.
Watering Plants in Raised Beds
A caveat: plants in raised beds need more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Water in the morning, giving your plants all day to slowly absorb the water. Gently aim the watering spout or hose at ground level, and try not to wet the foliage. To avoid watering too often, stick your finger two inches into the soil. If it feels moist, wait another day.
Increased irrigation flushes nutrients from the soil more quickly, so plants will need more frequent feeding as well. Feed once about every 2 weeks and then adjust according to the plants’ response. Diluted fish emulsion or seaweed extract work well. Vegetable plants will appreciate occasional side-dressing, that is, applying a slow-release, dry fertilizer alongside the plants and working it into the top inch of soil.
Both flowers and veggies do well in raised beds. Whatever you love to grow, your garden can be a palette of color, shapes, and textures. Have fun with it!
Did you know? Ardenwoods Retirement Community is located less than 5 miles from the NC Arboretum.