If you have a community garden in your neighborhood and you consider growing vegetables in a lot there, then I advise you to build a raised bed lots.
Raised bed is basically a detached bed from the ground. It contains soil that you brought specifically to it. Making it a more hospitable environment for the plants. And hospitable to you as you would not need to use heavy tools to dig in. Since it is raised it is separated from the surrounding – making harder for animals to enter and eat your vegetables. The ‘raised’ part means that you don’t need to bend over to reach and work the plants.
The best way to create raised bed is to build a wood frame for the bed. I built my bed from wood pallets. I dismantle the pallets to woods and reassembled to frame structure. My bed size is 2 X 1 X 0.8 meters.
Nowadays, there are plastic containers for vegetable storing that are suitable for this need. Using this box can save you the need to build the wood frame yourself. As the floor of the container is above ground – you can see if there is water leakage from it.
The structure of the raised bed is the following:
Soil for agriculture use. 40-60 centimeter.
Light plastic tablecloth to separate the soil from the water reservoir.
Water reservoir – with sea sand. – 10 centimeter.
Heavy PVC layer
Heaving a water reservoir allows you to irrigate the bed every one-two weeks. The water rises by capillarity into the soil so the plants get constant water as much as they need, with no access water.
In the surface of the bed place a thick PVC/plastic layer. This layer should keep the water in the bed and prevent it from leaking to the ground. It also needs to withstand vegetable roots that might attempt to rupture it. (In my original bed, I used plain plastic sheet and it was puncture after several months).
Fold the plastic layer so it forms a solid container and ties it to the bed sides. Over the layer, place plastic boxes above it to form a cavity for water. Put irrigation pipe in one of the boxes and tie it to the bedside. Over the boxes and between them place a tablecloth that will prevent sea sand from falling into the boxes. Isolate the irrigation pipe with the tablecloth by wrapping it around the pipe. Pour sea sand onto the tablecloth. Make sure it gets down between the boxes so even low water level will be capillary raised upward. After you cover the bottom with sea sand put an additional tablecloth on it to separate the sea sand from the gardening soil.
Now fill the bed with gardening soil up to 5-centimeter from the top of the bed with the good garden soil you bought.
Now you have your raised bed standing ready for gardening. The first thing is to take a small wire and tie it in a way that shows you 10 X 10 inches boxes. In every box, you can plant different vegetables. You can see it in YouTube videos about “square foot gardening” and “raised wicking bed”.
Taking care of your raised bed
You can build PVC pipe frames that form a mini-greenhouse for the bed. This allows you to further isolate your vegetables from the hardship of nature. A nice video can be seen here:
You should remember that your bed is detached from the surrounding earth. So you need to supply it with fertilizers that it can’t get from the soil. The most important ingredient missing is calcium. To compensate for that, I take egg shells, sanitize it in the microwave and crush them into powder. If you want to make it more available to the plants, place them in vinegar. After that spread them into the bed soil.
Another mineral needed in the bed is Epsom salt. Every three weeks pour two cups of Epsom salt in 5 gallons of water over your bed.
Fertilize the bed with worm casting and worm tea. You will create mini heaven that will bring you many fresh organic vegetables. (As well as some insects and parasites).
Here I am proudly showing off my raised bed: (The pitchfork is not really needed and used).