We all want our veggies and herbs to perform to their very best and there are a couple of important things we need to do to make sure that happens.

The first thing any veggie or herb, or in fact most plants for that matter, need is good drainage. If the soil is either water logged or dry then roots struggle and when they struggle so does the plant.

Another thing herbs and veggies can do without is competition from other plants, especially those with invasive and robbing roots. Trees, while majestic, can be responsible for a network of feeder roots that spread throughout the garden and beyond, so anything planted in the ground is going to face an uphill battle to grow to its fullest potential.

That’s where raised garden beds are the answer to problem situations, whether they be large trees nearby or maybe finding a more protected spot in the garden to grow your plants.

Raised garden beds come in all shapes and sizes, it’s just a matter of building or purchasing one that suits your décor. I reckon they need to be at least 30 centimetres deep to give plant roots enough space to grow. If you have an invasive root issue, simply putting the raised bed on the soil and filling it up is only a short term solution. Once those other roots smell out the water and feed, the bed will be chock a block with other roots.

A piece of galvanized iron or similar, creates a barrier and stops any roots from invading your plant’s space, so they are free to grow uninterrupted. Once the barrier is down, place the raised bed on top.

Time to fill. There are a few options, you can use bags of premium potting mix, you may need a few. That’s fine if you have only a small bed. Alternatively, head to your local landscape yard and buy your potting mix in bulk or see if they have a special raised garden mix.

Starting with a layer of pea straw will add bulk to the bed and reduce the amount of mix you’ll initially need. Another bonus is you might get a few free peas popping up later. If you want to get the most out of your raised garden bed, then get the soil right. Apart from a free draining potting mix, there are other excellent additives.

Coir is a brilliant for retaining moisture and nutrients around roots. You can buy these in compressed bricks. Place in a wheelbarrow and just add water. Leave for about half to one hour, top up with more water if needed and let it expand. How one brick turns into a wheelbarrow full of coir is just a marvel.

Time to get the bed filled. Starting with a layer of potting mix. Then some coir. A sprinkle of Dynamic Lifter will add much needed nutrient and some well aged manure won’t go astray either. Just keep going.

The beauty of raised garden beds is they are ready to plant once you’ve finished filling, and with all the ingredients, there’s no worries about your veggies doing what they do best – and that’s produce the goods.




About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.