HOMEGROWN : Create a raised vegetable garden for a happy harvest

In the summertime, there is nothing more satisfying than savouring a fresh slice of a juicy, ripe red tomato or biting into a cool, crisp cucumber—and it’s even more delicious when that tender vegetable was grown in your very own raised vegetable garden!

The simple act of nurturing a young plant to fruition is not only good for the environment, studies show that a connection to nature is a healthy outlet for anxiety, especially during uncertain times, as well as a practical exercise in self-sufficiency. There’s something so satisfying about tending to something and watching it thrive—and even gardening failures hold important lessons to be learned. 

Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned pro, why not hone your veggie-growing skills by growing your own food?

Make your bed.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time for gardening, you can still have a productive vegetable garden, no matter the size, by starting with a raised bed. It’s a shortcut to a plentiful harvest, even in the first year. The benefits are many: Garden anywhere! Attractive cedar raised beds are an asset to your landscape. Create perimeter gardens, spice up your entryway, grow food in your front yard, or hide an eyesore.

You can harvest more food in less space. Set plants closer together so that every square inch is productive. Use small-space gardening techniques like succession planting and vertical supports to ensure you’re maximizing the space.

You can plant earlier. 
Excess water drains better and soil warms up faster in spring compared to in-ground beds. Specialized covers and garden fabric help you get started even earlier.

You can use better soil. 
A productive vegetable garden depends on good soil. With a raised bed, you start fresh with the ideal soil blend—even if the soil in your yard is poor.

You’ll see fewer weeds. 
Because raised beds are densely planted, weeds have little room to grow. And when they do find space, it’s easy to pull them from the loose, rich soil.

Easier pest control. 
It’s simpler to manage insects and exclude animal pests compared to long garden rows because you can easily cover beds with row fabrics or specialized covers.

Less bending to tend. Deep root raised beds are 15” high, so you bend less during planting, caring for, and harvesting plants.

Try something new.
Time to decide what to plant! Fill your garden with the types of vegetables you like to eat. If your family loves salad, plant head lettuce, a lettuce cutting mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. If you love to cook, plant onions and peppers, leeks, potatoes and herbs. Try to include at least one vegetable that’s new to you! See our handy list of Easy Top Ten Vegetables.

After you’ve chosen which veggies you want to grow, research planting dates for your location, your site conditions, your soil conditions, spacing for the size planned and fertilizer needs. Try to select plants and varieties that are well adapted to environmental conditions in your area, as these are likely to be more vigorous and better able to withstand attack by pests.

LOCAL LINKS

The Old Farmers’ Almanac
gardenplanner.almanac.com

Barrie’s Garden Centre, Barrie
barriegardencentre.com

Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery, Barrie
shop.bradfordgreenhouses.com

Ego’s Garden Centre, Coldwater
egosgardencentre.com

Scott’s Garden Centre, Orillia
scottsgardencentre.com

Springwater Garden Center Inc., Springwater
springwatergardencenter.com

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