Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Peppers need well-drained soil to grow best. If your soil is soggy and liable to be-
come waterlogged, you may wish to grow your plants in a raised bed. In essence a raised
bed is a bed which is raised above the surrounding soil. These tend to be relatively narrow
(~4 feet/1.2 meters wide) and framed using wood, plastic or stone. In addition to improve-
ments in drainage, raised beds can offer a variety of advantages - crops can be grown in
closer proximity helping to reduce moisture loss from the soil and prevent emergence of
weeds; they can extend the growing season and should your garden soil not be ideal, new
fresh improved soil can be used. Similarly, should a fungal infection have taken hold in
your soil, a raised bed allows you to remove and replace the soil from one year to the next.
In addition, having a raised bed can make it more difficult for slugs and snails to attack
your peppers.
To create your raised bed, choose the best site in your garden for your plants (good
sunlight, sheltered area etc.). Mark out the size of your raised bed. Typically these are 4 feet
(1.2 meters) across - making it easy to reach all parts of the bed from either side - however
the length and shape is up to you. You can mark out using string, or dust out some flour
using your hands. Remove the top sod and loosen the soil beneath using a pitchfork, down
to a level of 9-12 inches (20-30 cm). A variety of materials can be used as edging mater-
ial to demarcate the bed e.g. wood, plastic, bricks etc. Whatever material you use, make
sure that it does not contain any materials or coatings which can leach in to the soil and be
taken up by the plant. So never use creosote-treated railway sleepers or treated woods. Your
local garden center will also sell such edging or framing material. If you have a problem
with burrowing creatures (e.g. moles), you may wish to line the bottom of the frame with
chicken wire to prevent them from emerging in your new bed. Fill the material with a good
quality top soil, mixed with compost and rake level. If planting several raised beds, ensure
you leave sufficient space between the beds to allow you to walk and work between them.
The height of the bed is totally up to you - at a minimum I would create one 9-12 inches
(20-30 cm) high, but this can be as large as you require e.g. this can be waist-height should
you have trouble bending and kneeling.
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