Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 8 Of My BEST Raised Bed Gardening Tips

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Raised beds are probably the easiest way to get started in the garden,

aside from a simple container garden.

But along with raised beds,

there comes a whole host of questions.

How to irrigate them,

what to fill them with,

all sorts of different things that can really confuse a beginner gardener.

So in this video,

we're going to go through a bunch of tips,

some from old videos,

some new tips for you in a compilation to answer as many of those questions as I

can.

Kevin Espiritu here from Epic Gardening where it's my goal to help you grow a

greener thumb.

And this really is a throwback and compilation to try to get you as much

information as possible about growing in raised beds,

in as little time as I can.

So without further ado,

cultivate that Like button for Epic raised bed harvests and 20,000 years of

fertile soil.

And let's get into the video.

This is one of my favorite methods for filling a large or tall raised bed with

soil on the cheap and still getting high quality soil.

So this is one of the tallest and largest beds that I personally have in my

front yard here.

It's a cylindrical bed.

It's 30 inches tall,

38 inches in diameter.

So it's easy to work from,

but there's also a lot of soil that needs to be filled,

right?

And so if we were to do that with the highest quality mix that we either make or

purchase,

that's going to be a lot of money.

So what I've decided to do is borrow a technique from the Germans called the

Hugelkultur method,

and sort of a hybridized Hugelkultur,

where effectively what I've done is the bottom 60 to 70% of

this bed has been filled with lumber,

logs,

nothing treated,

nothing bad,

just like old logs,

old sticks and brush and twigs,

grass clippings,

unfinished compost,

leaves,

everything like that.

And you basically will go from the larger materials to the smaller materials.

And then as you get up to about here,

so the top 12 inches or so,

I've filled with extremely high quality mix.

And so that's the way I've saved the money because unless I'm growing something

absolutely insane with a really deep taproot or really extensive root system,

which I'm not in this bed,

then I really don't need more than about 12 inches or so of high,

high quality soil.

And the beauty of this method is number one,

you've saved a lot of money.

So that's what I'm all about.

Save as much money as you can in the garden and invest it where you want to.

And so what I'll do is as this grows,

as I go season to season,

as I go year to year,

it's going to naturally settle,

even if it was just all soil.

But it's especially going to settle because there's some larger material in

here.

And then I can have a no dig raised bed where all I do is harvest out.

I don't till it up.

I don't mix in any crazy amendments.

I just go ahead and top dress with a couple inches every single time of my

personal compost right here.

And then that bed is just in production.

I've never disturbed the soil after the first time I created it and I've saved a

lot of money in doing so.

So this is one of my best tips for saving a ton of money when creating a soil.

When it comes to watering a raised bed,

the obvious first choice would be to hand water,

depending on the size of your garden,

right?

So I hand water,

even though I have this drip irrigation,

which we're going to talk about right now.

I still will hand water because number one,

you're out in the garden.

It means your eyes are open.

Your ears are open.

You can hear and see what's going on in the garden,

and then you can observe and make adjustments.

And so there's no better cure than prevention.

And as you're out in the garden,

that's a fantastic time to observe,

say,

oh,

you know what I have a little aphid problem here,

or I see some powdery mildew coming on,

and then you can make your adjustments.

So that's a fantastic reason to hand water.

And I still will hand water from time to time.

But that being said,

I do have a drip irrigation system set up on every single one of my raised beds

here and there are 14 in the front yard.

So every single one is set up on drip irrigation.

And what we've done here is I have a header row that connects to the main line.

That's where all the water is coming from.

And then it goes into four lines of drip per bed.

And then I just have a footer row here.

And that's mostly just to secure it.

There's no good reason to have it there,

except for the fact that I didn't want to have a spike,

a spike,

a spike holding it down.

I thought it might get a little bit messy.

And so the thing that I know,

and the way that I designed this system,

is based on the length of the tape and the number of emitters on each of the

lines.

I know that three gallons of water every 15 minutes is being applied to the

bed.

And so,

because all the beds are connected I can tell a friend,

let's say I'm on vacation or even just myself,

I can say,

okay,

if I turn it on for 15 minutes,

every bed in the front yard is going to get roughly three gallons of water.

And so if I know that's how much is going into the system of each bed,

then I know how to troubleshoot.

I know exactly how much to water.

I know if something's been overwatered or underwatered.

And it's just a very handy way to keep your watering consistent.

Because I think a lot of us,

when we're growing,

if we're hand watering,

sometimes our routines get thrown off and we don't water when we need to,

or as the summer ramps up and you need to water multiple times a day perhaps,

in your,

in your climate,

then that can get a little bit cumbersome.

And it's a lot easier to just go turn it on and turn it off.

And so that's what I've done in my garden.

Now you can use drip tape,

you can use drip line,

you can use soaker hoses,

and there are some unique benefits to each.

Soaker hoses put out water consistently across the entire length,

which means it might be better for direct sown seedlings because there's a

consistent stream across the entire length.

Now if you're transplanting in,

like I do in my garden for 95% of what I grow is transplanted in,

started from seedlings out in the backyard,

then that's okay to use drip because the root systems are more established.

I can transplant in somewhat near the emitters and they're going to be

completely fine.

And so there are some unique considerations there,

but for the most part,

drip is a fantastic way to irrigate your garden.

Hands down one of the most common questions you get when starting a raised bed

garden is how tall should my raised bed be?

And the actual question you should ask is how short can it be?

The shortest you can really get a raised bed is somewhere around six inches.

And this is what I learned when I was mentoring under Mel Bartholomew,

who is the author of Square Foot Gardening,

a really popular book that sold millions of copies and taught many people how to

garden.

And he did this experiment himself.

He figured out that six inches is just about the shortest a raised bed can

possibly be.

And the only reason he could even make that work is because of the

soil mix he used.

He used a one third vermiculite,

one third peat moss,

and one third blended compost.

And he preferred to get his compost from at least five different sources.

And so because he had such a perfect soil mix,

which does tend to be somewhat costly,

he could get away with about a six inch tall raised bed.

Now you can see behind me,

I don't have a six inch tall raised bed.

In fact,

the shortest raised bed I have is this one here,

which is 15 inches tall.

I also have beds that are 30 inches tall.

So I personally prefer a taller raised bed.

But then that,

that begs the question is there a benefit to a bed that tall?

Now for me,

a 15 inch tall bed is probably ideal for most applications.

And the reason why is because number one,

it's a little bit easier to work in.

If you have a garden stool or something,

you can kind of turn over and just easily work in it.

I'm relatively tall.

That helps me with my back and things like that.

Another reason is because you can grow things that are deeper taprooted.

So like a 12 inch to 15 inch long carrot,

a daikon radish.

Things that require a deep taproot are going to do quite well.

Things that have a large and extensive and deep root system are also going to do

really well in a,

in a 15,

12,

15 inch tall bed.

So that is why I prefer 15 inches tall.

And generally 15 inches tall is enough that you're not going to break the bank

filling it with soil.

It will still hurt a little bit.

Something like this will take around 15,

16 cubic feet of soil.

So yeah,

if you are buying a bagged mix and dumping a bunch of bags in there,

then yeah,

that actually is going to cost you a little bit.

Now,

when you get into a taller than 15 inch bed,

like a 30 inch tall bed,

the real benefit for me there is ease of use and workability.

And so for example,

this bed right here,

or the circular bed back there,

is 30 inches tall,

which means it's super,

super easy to work in.

Again,

I'm tall,

I'm six foot four.

If I bend over,

I can get a little sore.

And also,

you know,

I have a mom who's a disabled gardener.

And so for her being able to stand and work in a tall bed is super,

super helpful.

Okay.

Let's assume we have some raised beds built.

And the question for most beginner gardeners is when do I plant and what do I

plant?

And when do I plant what?

There's a lot of different variables at play there.

So I'm going to try to explain it from the most simple perspective that I

can.

First of all,

seasons,

right?

We all have seasons.

I'm in a zone where fortunately I don't have as much of a season as many of you

probably watching this video.

There's something called the USDA hardiness zones.

It goes from one all the way up to 13.

Most of us live somewhere between four and 10.

I myself am in zone 10B.

The numbers correspond to an increment of the average annual minimum

temperature.

So for me,

zone 10B means my average annual minimum temperature is 45 degrees

Fahrenheit.

What that means is of course,

it's below 32,

I don't really get a freeze here.

It means I can grow year round.

So the first step for you when growing in raised beds or really growing in

general,

is to figure out what that growing zone is for you.

You can just Google it.

You can say,

you know,

your zip code,

hardiness zone,

and you'll get a result.

And it'll tell you.

Now what that tells you,

why is that important?

That tells you when your season effectively starts and stops on average,

right?

And so it'll tell you your last frost date and your first frost date.

Now these are sort of swapped as far as what they mean.

The last frost date means the end of winter,

the beginning of spring,

the last time you're going to get a freeze or a frost this season.

So if you know that,

you know that anytime after that date is generally safe to plant pretty much

your spring,

your summer and so on,

right?

Because you're not going to get something that's going to kill the plants.

You're not getting a frost.

Your first frost date is the beginning of the cold season,

right?

It's when temperatures start to drop,

the days start to get shorter.

And that means that it's kind of your end window.

The door is shutting on the season.

So as soon as you know your last and first frost date,

then you know roughly how long your growing season is.

And what that tells you is that kind of defines what you can grow and when you

can grow it.

So for most people,

you're going to have a frost date that ends somewhere in March,

towards April.

That covers most people's zones.

And it begins somewhere around September to November.

So that's roughly six months of time.

So what you want to do when you're thinking of your spring crops in the garden,

this is why many gardeners myself included like to start seeds indoors.

Cause if you're starting seeds indoors,

what you get to do is you get to preempt the season.

So let's say your last frost date,

just for example is April 1st,

right?

That means that if you plant seeds in the ground April 1st,

then they need to come up and they need to grow.

So a 30 day crop like a radish is going to be mature on May 1st,

one month,

right?

Now,

let's go ahead and imagine that you planted that radish indoors.

Now,

most people don't plant radishes indoors because it is a crop that does really

well direct sowing.

But just for the sake of example,

let's imagine that's what you did.

If you did that,

so you planted it two weeks before your last frost.

You can't plant it in the ground because it's already frozen.

But if you plant it two weeks before and then transplant it in on the day of

your last frost,

then you've basically bought yourself two weeks of time,

right?

So you've preempted the season.

So if you're someone who's growing in a short growing season,

like a zone four,

a zone five,

you don't have a lot of time.

It's really important to start your seeds indoors and always be on

top of it,

right?

So keep sowing.

Which actually brings us to our next tip.

When we're gardening in raised beds,

or really in general,

we want to make sure that we're getting consistent amounts of produce - healthy,

nutritious produce out of our gardens and not just all of it at once.

So how do we actually manage that?

Let's just say,

I'm really ambitious.

I'm getting started in my garden and I plant 25 heads of lettuce on April 1st.

It's a two month crop.

So right around June,

we get our lettuce and we have 25 heads at a time.

I'm probably not eating 25 heads of lettuce in a week.

And you probably aren't either,

right?

So you're gonna either give that away to friends or in the worst case,

you might let it go to waste.

And we don't want that.

Right?

We're not growing something to just throw it away or give it to someone else.

There's nothing wrong with giving it away,

but you just don't want it all at the same time.

So how do we solve that?

This is where something called succession planting comes into play.

It's a really helpful technique,

but I think a lot of beginner gardeners especially can get confused by it

because now you're working in the dimension of time and not just I plant the

lettuce,

60 days later I have a lettuce.

You're trying to plant something consistent over time.

So let's change crops.

We're going to go to radishes because radish is around a one month crop,

right?

So let's say we wanted to plant a hundred radishes for our garden this year.

Well it would be a mistake,

like I said,

to plant them on April 1st,

all hundred,

because then May 1st you have a hundred.

And that's pretty much it.

That's your radish for the season.

There's still many months to go in the growing season.

So how do we stagger this out a little bit?

Let's imagine we wanted to harvest 25 radish every single week.

Well,

let's take this bed for example.

And let's divide this bed into four.

Let's imagine in this quadrant back here,

we plant our first 25 radish.

Okay.

Then we wait a week.

After a week,

we plant another bed of radish right here in this quadrant.

So now this is zero weeks old.

This is one week old,

right?

Okay.

Now we wait another week,

we plant another one here.

We have zero weeks old,

one week old,

two weeks old.

Now we wait another week and we plant one here.

So we have zero weeks,

one week,

two weeks and three weeks.

Then we wait a week.

Don't do anything.

We don't plant.

It's already full.

This is at four weeks old.

It's about a month.

You start pulling those radish and you plant in here,

right?

So now you have a crop of radish and you plant here.

So now this one is zero weeks old.

This is three weeks old.

This is two.

And this is one.

And you can see how that works.

You're going to get whatever amount you want to plant every single week.

And this math,

it really just scales based on what you want to do.

So if you want radish every two weeks,

or if you want lettuce every two weeks,

and depending on the amount you just kind of play with the time.

So the real variables here,

the things that you need to plan out,

I know it can sound a little crazy and a little mathematical,

but you know just a little bit of planning can really help you get the most out

of your garden.

And so what you want to play with is how long it takes from a crop to be planted

to being mature and how often you want it.

And then you just do the math based on that.

And so as you can see here,

I have some kale,

I have some mustards,

I have some beans,

but really what I want to draw your attention to is this lettuce.

Now back here,

right around here where there's nothing,

is where I just harvested some lettuce,

right?

This is lettuce that was about 55 days old.

As soon as I did that,

I transplanted in.

You can see a small lettuce right here.

There's an even smaller one back here.

And so I have lettuce at about 15 days old,

about 30 days old and about 45 days old here in this bed.

So every single day,

if I so choose,

I can come out and just grab a head of lettuce,

use it in my salad.

And I'm not scared that I'm going to use all the lettuce I have.

And I'm not scared that there's not more coming because I always keep planting.

You can see down right here,

I've planted some new lettuce as well.

So succession planting in a raised bed.

I think it's really nice because in a raised bed what you can do is just really

evenly divide your space.

And it just makes sense to the brain.

And so this is one of my best tips and it's a classic tried and true technique,

it's not my technique,

that will help you grow in a raised bed and really get the most out of it.

How do we take a field of lettuce just like this and turn it into

a bowl of lettuce day after day for pretty much the

entire year.

We're going to use something called the cut and come again method.

And there's two different ways to do it.

With cut and come again what you're trying to do is preserve the growing

tip of the plant,

and for lettuce and many leafy greens,

that is in the center and we call it the crown.

And so what you're seeing me do here with this bibb lettuce,

very standard classic type of lettuce,

is come around the outside and you can do it clockwise,

counterclockwise.

But what you're trying to do here is take away those large mature leaves.

And I'm doing it here with this merlot lettuce too,

which is more of a frilly variety.

This one I'm going to take down pretty considerably just to show you a peek at

what the inside really looks like.

Because if you do damage the crown,

then your plant is done for good.

And so you really want to avoid that.

You're seeing me take away these outside leaves and look,

there's just very small versions of those leaves in here.

So if we dig in,

we can see the future of this plant,

basically.

These are four,

five,

maybe even six little leaves that are in development and in four or five days,

you'll see those really start to come out.

And so you can do this with something like spinach too.

Come around,

make sure that you're not chopping off that crown,

get around the outside.

And you're going to get a lot more yield out of this because you're taking off

those mature leaves,

letting them grow up and then doing the same thing.

So we can see here,

crown is the exact same.

Those baby lettuce leaves are coming out,

sorry,

those spinach leaves.

And now here is a different method.

This is a more efficient method.

So you can come in with a chef's knife or something similar,

make sure you know right about where the crown is so you don't chop off too

much of it and then grab it like a head of hair almost,

and then just come through and slice.

And you're going to want a really sharp knife for this.

And so you've got a nice bunch of lettuce.

You've preserved the crown.

We can see I didn't chop the crown off and there we go.

It's really that simple guys.

So the cut and come again method explained in about a minute or two.

Well there we have it,

the cut and come again method very simple,

explained.

You can get bowls of lettuce day after day using this method as long as you're

doing it the right way,

but it does bring us to a couple of questions.

And the first question is how many times can I actually cut one of these

plants before it actually is just done for good?

Which is a great question.

So usually it depends on,

really does depend on the type of plant,

the type of lettuce or leafy green that you're doing.

But for the most part,

anywhere from three to five cuts and that's about it.

So you know,

it's not like the plants just going to continue producing forever.

For something like,

you know,

this loose leaf lettuce right here,

you're going to get three to five cuts before the quality of the leaf is going

to start to degrade.

It won't be this big.

And it also won't taste that good.

And it's going to sort of be just a little bit uglier.

And just the plant is,

is trying to bolt because it knows that,

you know,

its life is coming to an end,

but you're not really giving it the energy and the ability to do so.

So then you're in a bad spot.

So that's it,

endless supply of lettuce.

I'm going to go and make a salad now.

Our next tip is interplanting.

When you're growing in a raised bed,

you can see we have some onions here.

What I like to do,

depending on the crop,

is come through and strategically plant different crops throughout.

Now what's nice about onions is that they have this type of leaf structure,

almost like a grassy type of look.

It's not a grass,

but it grows in a similar manner,

right?

And the reason that that's nice is because then what you can do is you can come

through and you can put different crops in that play nicely with that.

So I can throw some radishes in here,

which is what we're going to do in this video.

And we're going to get really nice spacing.

We're going to get really nice yield.

Radishes turnover quickly.

So we'll probably get two,

three crops of radish by the time that these onions are actually done.

And they're very shallow rooted similar to the onion.

And so they're not going to really interfere with the root structure of the

onions as they're growing.

So effectively,

because onions need this much space but they're young in their life,

we can get a lot of extra yield out of the same bed.

You know,

some people might just commit this one bed to onions and that's fine.

That's well and good.

But I like to come through,

especially in small spaces in raised beds when you're trying to squeeze as much

production as you can,

you might as well pepper in a couple of different crops.

So we have our onions here.

And what you'll notice right away is they're really well spaced for onions.

I did a bit of a triangular style spacing,

maybe four to five,

maybe six inches apart.

But again,

like I said,

early on look what we do.

We'll just make little bisections of these types of

lines here.

And we can cram in some extra radishes.

And that's what I'm going to be putting in from my little radish toolbox right

here.

We'll talk about some of the varieties,

but you can do this with a lot of different crops.

It's not just onions.

It's not just this type of setup.

For example,

when you're growing and interplanting tomatoes,

what you can do is once the tomatoes grow up,

you can prune off some of the lower growth and then you can grow an understory

plant in your tomato beds.

So there's a lot of different ways to interplant,

but right now I'm just going to pepper in a few radishes.

No need to go insane here.

I don't need a massive crop of them,

but I do want to just get,

you know,

a little bit of extra production out of this bed.

The radishes I've chosen are black Spanish radishes,

really cool unique one.

And really that's all there is to it guys,

just plant in just like this.

And at the end of the video,

I'm going to give you a little bonus interplanting tip.

So stay tuned.

Okay.

As we water in our new radish crop that's coming in,

the extra intercropping tips or innerplanting tips.

So the first thing to think about is tall and small.

So let's say you have a bed of corn,

right?

Corn is a long season crop,

and it's also a pretty tall plant,

shallow roots.

So what you want to think about there is potentially interplanting with

something that's a fast growing crop that grows low to the ground.

Because not only are you going to turn that over and you're going to get that

out of there before the corn comes mature and really needs to use all of the

nutrition in that bed,

but you're also going to protect the soil.

And so the soil is going to stay nice and moist.

You have a living mulch basically over the top of it,

and it's really going to help your corn stay nice and moist.

You're not going to have these crazy shocks to the root system.

It's a really good way to think about it.

Then also think season to season,

right?

So let's imagine I have some tomatoes in here like I mentioned before.

Tomatoes is another good,

tall and small.

But for example,

if you're moving in from summer into a fall,

what you can do is as your tomatoes,

by that point they're going to be nice and bare on the bottom,

and there's a lot of room on the bare soil below.

What you can do is then plant in and start your fall crops before your tomatoes

are out of the ground.

And so you're getting this nice turnover where there's no time left where the

soil is bare and you're just squeezing the most out of your garden both in terms

of space and in terms of time.

Today we're learning how to replant a raised bed after you've grown a massive

crop in it.

So what you're looking at here is arugala,

way too much arugola.

So what I'm doing is I'm chopping this down right at the soil surface,

clipping it down right at the soil surface,

but I'm leaving the roots in.

And we're to get into that later in the video.

Why am I leaving the roots in,

why am I not ripping those out?

We're going to get into that.

But right now let's talk about how to then amend the soil.

Because remember everything you just saw me take out of that bed was stolen

in effect from the soil and the sun.

And so if we keep doing that without adding more back,

we are depleting our soil of nutrition.

I'm adding about two cups of organic worm castings,

super good all-purpose fertilizer.

I'm adding about a cup and a half of my Epic Soil Starter,

which is an organic natural fertilizer.

And then I'm adding in some organic compost.

Now in a perfect world you're going to be adding compost you've made yourself

because that is full of beneficial bacteria,

fungi,

microbes.

But I did not have some.

So I bought some.

Not the end of the world,

but in a perfect world you would be making your own.

Now just dump that out over the soil surface.

And this is about a half to one inch of total material,

which is all you really need when it comes to top dressing for a new,

new planting.

And just smooth that out and water that in.

What you're not seeing me do here is you are not seeing me dig in with a shovel,

dig in with a trowel,

break up the soil.

I'm not doing that because I practice the no dig method in which I respect the

soil life that's going on below the surface to do a lot of my gardening work for

me.

And why would I want to disrupt that soil life by breaking up the fungi down

there,

disrupting the bacteria.

There's no need.

I'm going to just go ahead and stick with that no dig method.

And now I am planting,

right?

I am replanting directly into that amended compost mixture that I made.

I'm using the square foot gardening method here.

So you can see this is called a seeding square.

It's just a planting template and it will plant at either 16,

nine,

four or one per square foot spacings,

depending on the type of plant.

So you saw me earlier just put in some beans,

those are about four per square foot.

And so I used the blue holes and I put them in at four per square foot.

Now let's get back into why do I not rip out the roots?

Well,

it's really the same reason that I don't dig into the soil when I'm mixing in

new organic matter.

What I'm trying to do is give everything that's in the soil that's alive

more to work with.

So the root systems,

obviously without the tops,

are going to be struggling to survive,

they will not survive.

So they'll start to die and decay.

They'll be starting to shred up by earthworms and beetles and things like this,

which increases the surface area of that organic matter,

which makes it more available to bacteria and fungi to break down even further.

And then I've got air pockets where roots used to be that's aerating and

breaking up my soil for me.

So a lot of nature is taking care of the processes we would normally do in the

garden,

which is why I leave in the roots.

Well there we have it.

Some awesome tips.

And of course,

are there more details to include?

Definitely.

And if you have any questions,

drop them in the comments.

I try to take a look at as many as I humanly can to generate ideas for future

videos.

Now,

some of you are probably wondering what those metal raised beds are in the front

yard.

Those are called Birdies Garden Beds.

They're from Australia.

They're actually the number one raised bed in Australia.

And I love them so much.

I first tried them out maybe four years ago and I kept bugging the company to

sell them here in America.

And now I am a distributor of those beds here in America.

So if you want,

you can go check those out at shop.epicgardening.com.

We have orders coming out for a late July,

early August delivery.

Popular beds.

They're taking some time to actually get out to customers at this point in time.

But check those out if you want to.

Until next time,

good luck in the garden and keep on growing.

The Description of 8 Of My BEST Raised Bed Gardening Tips