Once you have assembled your kitset garden bed, its time to fill it. The following instructions will ensure you give your plants the best possible environment to grow in. While Macrocarpa is long lasting, it does gradually deteriorate when in direct contact with soil. For this reason some people choose to staple black polythene plastic to the sides of their garden beds, which will extend the life of it.[border]
Raised Garden Beds – The Perfect Growing Environment
Use an even mix of organic matter and soil to grow your vegetable crops. This combination promotes healthy growth as it provides optimum drainage, aeration and water holding capacity. The simplest method to employ when filling raised garden beds is the “lasagne method”.
Fill the garden bed with alternating layers of organic material (Tui Organic Compost) and soil (Tui Vegetable Mix). Tui Organic Compost boosts plant establishment by improving oxygen availability to plants and increasing microbial activity.
Tui Vegetable Mix is blended with blood and bone, dolomite and sheep pellets to give vegetable crops the best start and ensure sustained growth. Add Tui Super Sheep Pellets between layers. The pellets release fast-acting and long-lasting fertilisers over time. Repeat layers finishing with Tui Vegetable Mix.[border]
Planting and Maintaining Your Raised Garden
You can plant or sow your seeds immediately as Tui Vegetable Mix won’t burn the plants. If sowing seeds, sprinkle a layer of Tui Seed Raising Mix on the top of the garden bed. The mix provides ideal conditions for seed germination and it contains gypsum to promote strong root establishment.
Space plants in accordance with the recommendations on the seed packet or seedling tray. Dividing the garden bed into squares can make it simpler to space plants and manage crop rotation, which keeps your soil and plants healthy. Planting in the early evening will minimise transplant shock. Water soil lightly after planting.
The isolated growing environment of raised garden beds offers a low maintenance form of gardening. Garden tasks can be completed without standing on and compacting soil and the confined growing area makes it easier to protect plants against pest and disease.
The chance of weeds establishing is reduced so your vegetable crops won’t have to compete with them for space and nutrients. Further discourage weeds and add valuable nitrogen to the soil by applying a mulch such as Tui Pelletised Pea Straw. This pelletised form of pea straw is convenient, clean and easy to use, it expands 4 times in size after watering.[border]
Feed And Water Your Plants
Water crops deeply at the roots on a regular basis (2-3 times a week is recommended). Watering little and often will cause plants to develop shallow roots which are easily damaged in hot weather. Use a wetting agent like SaturAid to draw water directly into the soil avoiding run-off and wasted water.
As plants grow they extract nutrients from the soil which needs to be regularly replaced. Tui Eco-Fert is an organic fertiliser made from seaweed and marine plant extract. It promotes greater root and flower development increasing crop setting and plant growth, ensuring your crop reaches its full potential.