Have you decided to invest in some raised garden beds but aren’t sure if they are susceptible to overwatering? Although these beds typically have better drainage, there are some factors to consider, such as location, climate, soil type, and plant varieties.
Raised garden beds can be overwatered, just like other planters. Generally, there is more chance your plants will dry out when the bed is elevated, but the risk of overwatering remains. Each plant variety has different watering needs, and it is best to keep track of their individual requirements.
This article will cover water management for raised garden beds and how to keep your plants healthy throughout the year.
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What Is a Raised Garden Bed?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a raised garden bed?
Raised garden beds are planters that are elevated, either above the ground or simply on top of your garden soil. If the raised bed is sitting atop your existing soil, it will not need a base. If the bed is lifted high above the ground, it will need to have a bottom to hold the soil inside.
Raised garden beds are most commonly made of wood, but other materials such as steel, stones, or even bricks can be used to build them.
This Nova Microdermabrasion Raised Garden Bed On Wheels (link to Amazon) is a great example of a steel build. It has drainage holes to minimize the risk of overwatering and can be assembled and transported easily.
Raised garden beds are ideal for growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs, whether it be in your backyard or on a farm. Installation is relatively simple, and once they are in your garden, they require little maintenance thereafter.
They are also aesthetically pleasing, giving your garden a clean, neat look.
How To Improve Drainage of Your Raised Garden Beds
Now that we have gone over the fundamentals let’s look at how to maintain your raised garden beds and prevent overwatering.
Poor drainage is one of the leading causes of overwatering in plants. The best way to prevent this is to ensure your raised garden beds have an excellent drainage system. Below are the best ways to improve drainage.
Use Mulch to Manage Moisture
Placing a layer of mulch in your raised garden bed has many advantages, including weed prevention and increased drainage. Mulch locks in moisture while also spreading it out evenly throughout the soil. Mulch also helps to prevent water pooling and rapid draining.
Implement Raised Garden Bed Liners
Liners are one of the best investments for your raised garden beds. They insulate the soil while also keeping pests away. The most notable benefit, though, is that they promote drainage.
This Gardener’s Supply Company Raised Garden Bed Liner (link to Amazon) is a great option. Not only is it durable, but it’s also made using eco-friendly materials.
Use Compost To Promote Drainage and Nutrient Absorption
Since you are not planting directly into the ground, you need to ensure your plants have the best possible soil to grow in.
Compost can increase nutrient absorption, improve drainage and also reduce the risk of plant disease. The most favorable soil ratio for your raised garden bed is 60% topsoil, 30% compost, and 10% potting soil.
Use Cover Crops for Soil Aeration
This one may sound like something only an experienced farmer would do, but it’s actually very straightforward and can be done in almost any garden.
When To Water Your Raised Garden Bed
Depending on your plants’ needs, certain times of the day are better for watering. Let’s have a look at your options.
Early Morning Watering
Early morning watering is the preferred time to water your plants because the weather is cooler. As temperatures rise throughout the day, your plants will need to drink before the peak temperatures hit, which typically happens in the afternoon.
A deep morning watering will allow a reservoir to form to keep the vegetation hydrated all day. A morning soak will recharge the top level of the soil.
Evening watering is the second best option when watering your plants. After a hot day, it would make sense that your plants will be dehydrated and require some water.
During the night, plants convert the energy they have received from the sun to make nutrients. Ensuring the temperature of the soil is stable will aid this process. This can be done by giving them a good soak.
The primary concern with late evening watering is that the plants will be more susceptible to disease because the leaves may remain damp over the course of the night.
Avoid Midday Watering
If you water your plants in the hot midday sun, most of the water will be lost to evaporation before it reaches the roots. However, if your plants show signs of dehydration, you can water them in the afternoon and at another time during the day.
How To Water Your Raised Garden Beds Successfully
Below are a few tips on how you can water your raised garden beds to support the optimum health of your plants.
Pay Attention to the Weather
You will most likely need to adjust your watering to the seasons. In the middle of summer, your plants will need daily hydration, whereas, in winter, they may only need to be watered once a week. Keep an eye on the weather forecast to ensure you water your plants according to their needs.
Only Water When Necessary
A good rule of thumb is to check that the top two inches of soil are dry before soaking your plants; you can do this by sticking your fingers into the ground. If you are not keen on putting your hands in the dirt, you can invest in this Varomorus Soil Sampler Probe (link to Amazon).
Push the soil probe deep into the raised garden bed and pull it up. The probe has an exposed side that will allow you to see the soil that has been pulled. You will be able to see how moist or dry it is.
Spend Time in Your Garden
Spending time in your garden is not only pleasant but is also beneficial to your plants. By having a good look at your plants, you may notice problems such as signs of overwatering. In addition, you’ll be more likely to spot pest problems and treat them before they become infestations.
Overwatering is possible for all plants regardless of their environment. Elevated garden beds do lower the risk of oversaturation, but you still need to be mindful of how often and how much you water your vegetation.
Signs of overwatering in your raised garden beds include growth of algae, root rot, soggy soil, brown leaves, and stunted growth. Some forward thinking and planning are all you need to ensure you have happy, healthy plants in your raised garden beds.