Saturday, February 14, 2009

Raised Bed Gardening in Phoenix

If you have the money to set up the proper soil mixture in a raised bed, this is a nice way to go. The cool thing about the raised bed method is that you can set it up on any surface, even concrete, which is what our soil seems like anyway. The amount of labor setting up a raised bed is almost certainly less than a in-ground Arizona garden, because pouring in your own perfect, spongy and rich soil from bags is definitely easier than having to break up and dig down into the Arizona's high-alkaline hardpan and caliche, fighting indestructable bermuda grass every step of the way. It might even be more cost effective in the long run than trying to improve the junky Arizona soil, especially when you consider the fact that you are getting higher crop yields.

I set up one raised bed in my backyard, and the radishes planted there are ginormous, much bigger than the ones in the field. I used the basic soil recipe from Square Foot Gardening, but I actually didn't have vermiculite (not being totally sure where to get any), so I just substituted top soil. So my mix was 1/3 organic compost, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 top soil, all from bags from Home Depot. So far so good, the radishes I planted there are big, and the strawberries look real healthy.

Here is the website for the Square Foot method for further inspiration: www.squarefootgardening.com

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