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Information on Raised Beds

How to Make a Raised Bed Garden
The Perfect Raised Bed

 

These two sites provide all the information that you need to build your own raised bed.
It’s simpler than you think!

General watering advice for plants

Ideally, water is best applied early in the day but it is more important to water thoroughly and deeply than to worry about the time of day!!

 

Plants MUST be allowed to dry out between waterings. Plants that are watered every day will die from root rot. In a normal season in the upper half of the country, a long, deep soaking once every week you don’t get an inch of rain is exactly what your lawn and garden needs and wants. In a severe heat wave and/or further South, you can water deeply twice a week. Always water in the early morning; never in the evening, never in the heat of the day, never for short periods of time, and at the base of the plants if possible.

 

Focus on the root zone. Remember that it's the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease.

 

  • Water only when needed. Water timers are a great invention, but you should not be automatically watering your lawn and garden, regardless of the weather. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little water.
  • Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals concentrate their roots in the top 6 inches of soil; for perennials, shrubs and trees, it's the top 12 inches. In some cases, it may take hours to get moisture down to a depth of 6-12 inches.
  • Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It's much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.
  • Mulch everything. Mulch reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil surface.

Watering and care for new plantings

The first two weeks after installing new plants is the most crucial time for survival!

 

Plan to be available to “baby” your new plants during this important time of establishment. Watering every 3-4 days is necessary for trees and shrubs. Perennials and groundcovers should be watered more often because their root balls are much smaller; approximately every 2-3 days. The thing to remember about plant establishment is WATER, WATER, WATER. You may want to invest in a hose, timer and sprinkler to help. If you have an irrigation system, it is crucial that you inspect it carefully to make sure that it is reaching all the new plantings. Almost all systems need adjustment after plant installation. Also, make sure it is set to give adequate water for plant establishment, not maintenance.

 

Trees and Shrubs: Place the open end of the hose at the base of the plant and allow it to gently flow onto the root ball of the plant. The rate of flow should be such that it soaks into the soil without running off or puddling. You can water each plant individually--five to ten minutes per four feet of plant, or place a sprinkler to cover the area for several (3-5) hours (we do not recommend use of a soaker hose as the only source of water during this initial establishment period).

 

Groundcover and Perennials: These plants have much smaller root balls than their woody companions and thus will need more frequent watering. Sprinklers are probably the easiest way to apply water. A sprinkler should be set to run for one to two hours allowing water to penetrate the top 6-12” of soil. After the first two weeks, the new plant material will need less frequent watering. At this time, you should reduce watering to 1-2 times per week. Hot, windy weather will call for more frequent watering. Each watering must be a deep, thorough soaking. The rule of thumb is to apply one inch of water per week during the growing season. This can be accurately measured by setting a can or rain gauge in the planting area and making sure the sprinkler, or the sky fills it to the recommended amount at least once per week (please note-- one inch of water wets the soil to a depth of 8-10”). The mulch we have applied will help in maintaining soil moisture. Dry, windy days mean more frequent watering, cool wet periods need far less. Remember, too much water is as great a danger as too little. A little common sense and observing eyes coupled with these instructions will give your new plants the care they need to flourish. Proper watering during the first growing season is the single most important factor in successful transplanting, so if you’re uncertain, concerned, or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us immediately and remember

 

After the first week or so... Unless the weather is extremely hot and dry, you may be able to decrease watering frequency, perhaps to two or three times per week, for the next month or so.

 

Years Two to Three You should need to water deeply only once or twice per week in dry weather if you have selected the right plant for the right place, prepared the soil and planted correctly, and mulched your plants. Exactly how often and how long you water will depend on your soil and other conditions.

 

After Year Three Properly planted and watered, plants should be fairly well established by now, and can thrive with less watering than you may expect. Plants selected for drought tolerance in your conditions may need no supplemental water, whereas shallow-rooted plants or plants with greater water needs may need water weekly. Many plants, when selected for the conditions in your yard and watered according to the above guidelines, may need watering only a couple times per month in dry weather. Remember that all plants will benefit from deeper and less frequent watering as a general rule.

 

Plants MUST be allowed to dry out between waterings. Plants that are watered every day will die from root rot. In a normal season in the upper half of the country, a long, deep soaking once every week you don’t get an inch of rain is exactly what your lawn and garden needs and wants. In a severe heat wave and/or further South, you can water deeply twice a week. Always water in the early morning; never in the evening, never in the heat of the day, never for short periods of time, and at the base of the plants if possible.

Helpful Books

Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy

This is by far the best book that we’ve found explaining the reasons for using native plants. This is not a great guide for the specific native plants to be used in this area. That information can be found at the website for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey.

 

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway

This is the most practical and hands on permaculture guide that we’ve found. More and more permaculture books are coming out each year, but many are heavily theoretical and difficult to apply. You can’t go wrong with this one.

 

The Naturescaping Workbook by Beth O’Donnell Young

The perfect guide to redesigning your own yard using some permaculture principles.

 

Right Plant, Right Place by Nicola Ferguson

This is one of the most important books for landscape design. It meticulously catologs 1,400 plants based on their needs.

 

The Sunset Western Garden Book

Provides great info and photos for well over a thousand ornamental plants.

Recommended Websites

You Bet Your Garden

“You Bet Your Garden” is a wonderful call-in organic gardening show on WHYY. The site provides a section called “Garden Answers A-Z,” a large directory of all of the questions that have been answered on the show.
This is a great place to consult first if you’re having problems in your garden.

 

The Cooperative Extension of Camden County
This is a good place to consult about problems with specific plants and to stay informed about interesting horticulture events in the area.

 

Bartram’s Gardens
Consult this site to stay informed about the great horticulture events hosted at Bartram’s Gardens.

 

The Native Plant Society of New Jersey
The NPSNJ provides a thorough list of plants native to this region and hosts interesting events.

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