Make Your Own Above Ground Garden

As we know, spring is just around the corner and this means preparing new gardens to enjoy. Unfortunately, not everyone has adequate space or soil to have a traditional garden of vegetables or flowers, but do not despair! An above ground, no-dig garden can be just as efficient as one in the ground. It can also be every bit as beautiful, and very simple to build with a few easy tips.

The first thing to consider is what type of plants you would like to enjoy in your garden. The root systems of smaller border flowers will require less depth than bulbs or most vegetables. This will determine the size and depth of your new bed. A perimeter of 4x4 plywood will suffice for a smaller raised flower bed, while hay bales make a perfect organic border for a large vegetable bed. You may also consider using brick path borders to add to the aestheticism, and compliment your garden. Combining both techniques, and experimenting with height and shape will provide endless opportunities for creativity and a lovely focal point just about anywhere!

Once you have determined the size of your bed, use a hand trowel or tiller to loosen the ground as well as you can. It is best to incorporate organic matter and remove weeds, but you can also just cover the area with cardboard or layers of wet newspaper. Follow this step by organizing several inches of grass clippings, shredded leaves or weed-free hay or straw. Fill your new garden 3/4 full with a mixture of topsoil, mulch, grass clippings and organic fertilizer, making sure the top few inches are strictly topsoil and/or wood chips.

Now, you are ready for your transplants or seeds! Any hearty transplants will be a lovely addition including tomatoes, peppers, root vegetables, bulb flowers, and herbs. Even vining plants like some species of roses will thrive, given proper care of the soil according to care of the plant you choose.

If you decide to create a garden with a perimeter of hay bales, keep in mind that the drainage of the area will greatly benefit from night crawlers in the soil. Of course, it is always a good idea to stock a bed with earthworms, but they are especially attracted to hay. The bales can be placed virtually anywhere where there is adequate space, will contain the soil in the garden, and help retain moisture in dry conditions.

Hay bales are also beneficial to any garden for many other reasons. Not only will the hay slowly decompose and create nutrients and natural fertilization for your garden, a properly treated border of hay bales can actually be used as a medium to grow some plants into the hay itself! By treating the hay with plenty of water and ammonium nitrate for 7-10 days, you can prime the hay for transplants of ivy, decorative flowers, or other hearty plants. Simply use a garden spade to break holes large enough to fit the plant into the hay to the first leaf after treatment, and continue to water regularly. This will prove to be a beautiful addition to your yard, and is a great way to create gardening space and different levels of depth.

Enjoy fresh vegetables and plants all summer long.

I hope you enjoy your new garden!

by Mandi June Henderson

Enjoy fresh vegetables and plants all summer long.

I hope you enjoy your new garden!

by Mandi June Henderson