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What you need:
  • String
  • Stakes
  • Square headed shovel
  • Garden fork
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Straw
When it comes to planting vegetables, wide beds have many advantages over rows. Beds usually increase yields two to four times by devoting more of your precious garden space to crops. You also save in material cost by only adding soil amendments to actual growing space. This diagram shows the difference in plant density between a traditional row and a wide bed.
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Start by setting a string line to mark the outline of the bed. A wide bed should be no wider than twice your comfortable reach while kneeling down. For most people, this 3-4'. The beds can be as long as you like. Follow the string line with a spade to score the soil below.
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Remove the string line and prepare the bed by adding organic matter and forking it in.
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To raise the level of the bed even further, use a square headed spade to transfer a few inches of soil from the walkway onto the bed.
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Rake the bed to remove any stones or debris. Raking also helps break down large clods of soil, leaving a fine tilth.
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When sowing seed in a wide bed, broadcast sowing is the method of choice. If you transplant seedlings, plant in staggered rows. Better drainage, additional root space, and improved soil structure of your wide bed allow you to plant more densely than in a traditional row. Keep the walkways between your raised beds free of weeds by mulching them with 3-4" of straw. Avoid using hay as it generally contains an abundance of weed seeds.