Photo of 12 deep raised beds, newly built











Too Wet to Plow ...
Dry - Warm - Cool - Pest-free - Productive - Practical ... All Are Possible

It's the gardener's dream – dry, warm earth in early spring. The seeds and sets were ordered one gray January day; now they're in hand. But outside ... it's raining. It's been raining. Tilling is impossible, yet the calendar pages turn. Soon the window of ideal planting time will close, and crops of peas and potatoes and spinach and lettuce and broccoli and cabbage will be curtailed – or denied – by the heat of summer.

What might have been ...

If only there were a way to dry out a patch of earth at will. To contradict the uncooperative conditions. To control one's seasons, water demands, and pest and weed pressures.

Raised beds can be arched with hoops and covered with black plastic to shed rain and raise winter-chilled soil temperatures, giving the gardener dry soil on the day chosen for planting. Raised beds, covered with clear plastic, are protected from frost in both spring and fall; covered with reflective shade cloth, cooled and shaded; covered with fabric insect barrier, kept pest-free. These contained growing areas can be specifically watered. Some crops - such as garlic - need a critical dry-time. With hoops and a clear plastic cover left open at the ends,  the bulbs will mature and paper, regardless of the sudden June monsoon. Monitoring for need – be it more or less fertility, acid or alkaline conditions, or varying optimal temperatures for growth – is, with a deep raised bed, a manageable thing.

With the deep raised-bed, you don't have to get down on the ground to weed or harvest or water. You can erect the structures on soil too grassy, too hard-pan, too poor or too stony to till and improve. You can stop wasting time taking care of aisleways between beds - just place them a mower-friendly distance apart.

Why bemoan the vagaries of the weather? You don't have to give in!

Rows of raised beds, ready to plant


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