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Tips and Solutions Detail

How to Use A Lifetime Raised Garden Bed

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Raised Gardening

A Lifetime Raised Garden Bed consists of four interlocking panels to create the 4 x 4 ft bed.  A weed barrier fabric is placed in the bottom of the bed to prevent weeds from sprouting through from the ground. (This is not included with the kit, but can be purchased at your local nursery or home improvement store.) Then, the bed is filled with a special soil mix and it's time to plant!

Many gardeners prefer raised bed gardening because:

• Growing plants in raised beds is a logical choice for gardens with poor soil.
• Higher yields are produced. This is because of the rich, customized soil you create in the raised garden bed instead of relying on the natural soil conditions. It is also because more plants can be grown in a raised garden bed than conventional row planting because no space is wasted between rows.
• Less maintenance is required because soil is loose and thus easily weeded. The loose soil allows better water absorption and drainage so less watering is required. The raised bed can be located close to the house for easy accessibility.
• Raised bed gardening makes it possible to have a garden practically anywhere, such as rooftop gardens or on top of solid rock.

What You Need to Get Started:

• A Lifetime Raised Garden Bed
• Soil Mix: One 4x4 ft bed holds about 8 cubic ft of soil mix. You will need a mixture of 2.5 cubic ft of each of the following; vermiculite (to retain moisture), peat moss (to make the soil light and loose), and compost (the organic matter that provides nutrients for your plants).
• A Weed Barrier-This is a special fabric that needs to go in the bottom of the raised garden bed. Each bed will need a 4 x 4 piece of weed barrier. Make sure to clear the debris from the bottom of the bed and lay down the weed barrier to keep weeds and grass from growing.
• Seeds or plant starts suitable to your climate region- The back of your seed packages will have a Plant Hardiness map that indicates which zones are appropriate for which plants. 

For the best results, you should locate your raised garden in a sunny area that gets 6 - 8 hours of sunshine a day. You should also keep in mind that the closer you locate your garden to the house, the easier it will be to maintain. Wouldn't it be convenient to just open your back door and pluck a couple of tomatoes for your lunchtime salad?

How to Space Your Plants
The main difference between raised bed gardening and traditional gardening is the plant spacing. Traditional gardening requires space between the rows to allow for a walking path, whereas raised bed gardening is done in a 4 x 4 box. This allows you to reach all sides of your garden without walking on the soil. To give you an idea of the spacing required for different kinds of vegetables, we have the following suggestions:

• Broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, and cilantro--1 plant per square foot
• Swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, and potatoes--4 plants per square foot
• Bush beans, spinach, and summer squash--9 plants per square foot
• Carrots, onions, radishes, and small beets--16 plants per square foot
• You can also grow trellis crops in your garden, like tomatoes and cucumbers. Just make sure that they don't overshadow any low growing plants in your garden bed.

Because Lifetime Raised Garden Beds are constructed from polyethylene plastic, you don't have to worry about warping or rotting like you would with a wooden bed. These beds are easy to snap together and easy to disassemble should you decide to relocate it.

Happy harvesting!

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