by Tovah Martin
Start your raised beds right from the ground up.
So, you just raised the bar for your garden and ordered up some raised beds. That’s lip-smacking good news for your menus as well as a high note for your aesthetics. When you serve up your homegrown ingredients next summer, meals are going to be so fresh that every bite bursts with flavor. Vegetables will be so popular, the kids are going to fight over the broccoli. And think about all the bouquets in your future. While veggies feed your tummy, flowers brighten your spirit. And herbs—like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme add zest and aroma. But first, before harvesting the initial succulent sprig of arugula, you need to feed the soil.
Scientifically Formulated Goodness
Why can’t you just dig up some earth and toss it into a raised bed? Because plants need a certain soil consistency to perform their stunts to the max. Soil that works properly in the ground will not necessarily drain properly in thunderstorms or retain water in droughts when placed in a raised bed. Rather than taking the crash course in the dirty underground and trying to fiddle with ingredients, leave the soil to the experts. Coast of Maine has the formula all figured out thanks to their soil scientists.
Pumping Out the Production
Those soil scientists know that you want your raised beds to work really hard. You want to harvest crop after crop of veggies and cut bouquets of blossoms galore to share with family and friends. When you start with a base fortified with Coast of Maine Raised Bed Mix you can put in multiple crops that keep your garden productive from the first sprig of spinach onward until killing frost (and often beyond).
Filling Raised Beds
What soils work best in raised beds? Glad you asked, because Coast of Maine did the deep dive into creating the ideal underground formula with Castine Blend Organic Raised Bed Mix for giving your plants the underpinning they need. They get the breakfast of champions to turn out crop after crop with the consistency to tackle any type of weather. We’re talking about a mixture that includes peat moss, composted manure, aged bark, biochar, and mycorrhizae. For my raised beds in a sunny location on a dry hill, I find that the sweet spot for my raised beds is a ratio of 2/3 Castine Blend combined with 1/3 Coast of Maine Monhegan Blend Black Earth Premium Top Soil.
For the first growing season after installing a raised bed, I rely on the compost in the blends to carry the beds through the year. In subsequent seasons, I add Coast of Maine’s Schoodic Organic Composted Manure Blend to the raised beds. For beds that produce crop after crop, I give them a second helping of composted manure halfway through the growing season to give later crops the oomph they need to perform like athletes. Meanwhile, crops like Swiss chard that labor throughout the entire season get the nutrition they need to keep new leaves coming.
Crop after Crop
How do you push production? Keep the goodness growing with succession plantings of crops. It’s like a relay race. As soon as one wave of veggies or flowers finishes producing, you plant for the next surge. Behind the scenes, the goodness going on below ground level supports your raised bed into constant production. Stay tuned: We’ll give you some bright ideas for succession planting in future blogs. You will be rolling in all sorts of goodies nonstop for the entire growing season, thanks to your hardworking, fertile, crop-friendly soil. Talk about superheroes…
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.