Planning an Herbaceous Perennial Flower Bed

The reason why many people are opting for perennials is because they require less care and maintenance compared to annuals. The first thing is that perennials last more than one season while annuals have to be replaced every few months. In a warm dry climate, annuals require a lot more water than perennials.

This should be reason enough to get thinking about planning a herbaceous perennial flower bed. Unfortunately many gardeners end up planting short-lived perennials like Verbena, Bidens and Nierembergia. Although these perennials look beautiful, they hardly last more than a year. Therefore, when planning a perennial flower bed, look for those that will last for several years. For instance, you can plant Agapanthus for its beautiful sky-blue flowers, Salvia, Lampranthus (Ice plant) or shrubs of Chrysanthemum which last for something like 2 to 3 years.

One thing you have to realize that herbaceous perennials rarely bloom continuously for a long periods of time. They do have non-blooming season where they have to pruned, clipped or trimmed down. However, you can get over this disappointment by also planting non-flowering herbaceous perennials like Iresine, ornamental Asparagus, Phormium or Dietes. If you do not want these showy plants as they do require pruning, you can think about ornamental grasses like Miscanthus. However, do remember that even ornamental grasses have to be clipped right down to the ground each spring and autumn to keep them rejuvenated.

That is why you need advance planning when it comes to planting herbaceous perennial plants. You can plan to have early blooming perennials like Linum, Perovskia, Osteospermum or Convolvulus. Then when the later blooming and flowering perennials and ornamental grasses come to life, you can prune the former. Some late blooming perennials are Canna, species of Iris, Felicia and Penstemon.

Pauline Go is an online leading expert in the gardening. She also offers top quality articles like:
Weeds in Flower GardenGrowing Organic Vegetables

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Companion Planting With Perennials

Roses can look particularly effective when they’re grown in combination with other plants, especially with flowering perennials, or with grasses and other perennials grown for their foliage. All these plants will enhance the beauty of the roses (provided, of course, that the colors don’t clash).

There’s another big advantage in combining two types of plant: the perennials can provide color when the roses aren’t flowering, and distract the eye from the roses when they’re at their least attractive. The cardinal rule is not to use too many different perennial species, and to make sure that the colors and shapes harmonies with one another. The tall blue spikes of delphinium flowers towering over an area of yellow bedding roses make one particularly striking combination. Another is a group of red hybrid teas or floribundas under planted with the delicate tracery of white or pink gypsophila

Not all perennials make suitable companions for roses; some will obviously need different conditions. Most types of rose (apart from wild roses) will also need dead-heading, pruning and feeding, so it’s important to leave some space around them for easy access. Carpeting perennials make particularly good edging for a bed of hybrid tea roses, especially as many of them flower in spring, before the roses come into bloom. Examples might include Thesis sempervirens (which is, in fact, a sub-shrub), the clump-forming Campanula carpatica (Blue. and ‘White’), the various colors and varieties of Aster dumosus. gypsophila, Cerastium biebersteinii and others.

All perennials grown as companions for roses need to be long-lived and sun-loving: this is no place for delicate species that need constant care and attention. When you’re laying out a new bed, plant the roses in groups and give the perennials room to expand. You may have to cut back or move ground-covering perennials if they start to smother the roots of the roses.

Steven is a gardener by trade and a writer in his spare time. Check out his other articles on gardening in his profile as well his new websites on electric hand dryers [] and outdoor LED light [].

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Perennials in the Garden

Perennials are plants that reach their maturity for at least two seasons. They can be planted as a single, solitary plants, grouped in a flower border or flowerbeds and also between shrubs. Many are also planted with annuals and biennial plants in mixed flower garden beds.Perennials are plants that live two years or more as adults and fully developed plants bloom every year. Perennials are probably the most diverse group of plants that show a huge variety of shapes, forms, colors, textures and aromas that determine their choice for planting and shaping the surface where they want to plant.

Perennials’ highly colored leaves can enter a contrast in the dominant vegetation surrounding plants, emphasizing the structural form of other plants. A possible choice is a great example of dark green acanthus leaves, red leaves of some hybrids Khan, colorful foliage cultivars host or silvery leaves Onoporduma (decorative thistle), Stachys or Senecio. Some perennials unusual shapes, textures, leaves or flowers can be used as an element that will attract attention, as the main plant in a particular part of the garden.

Likewise, perennial flowers are highly variable in color, shape, size and shape, allowing gardeners the endless possibilities of contrast, a complementary or mono planting crops. Also good grouping of flowering perennials form blooms can create interesting shapes and structures, such as whitefly, horizontal blossoms yarrow (Achillea), and tall, pointed blossoms Lupinus.

Popular fragrant perennials are also an essential element of the garden that attracts bees and butterflies, including species such as some types of clematis, Hemerocallis, Nicotiana, Pennant and verbena. However, many perennials will remain attractive in autumn and winter. For example, plant Sedum spectabile, also called the ice plant, which blooms in summer a beautiful red flowers collected in the thyroid of flowers in winter remains attractive because it remains its flower stalks and seed heads. Flower-bed planted perennials typically contain plants that bloom in spring, summer and those that bloom in autumn.

The floral borders today are usually planted with many plants, but carefully selected by the color of flowers, and leaves, and according to their texture and composition. At the same time some gardeners prefer planting in rows according to height, so that the lowest plant is more forward. Perennials are always planted in carefully prepared the ground, dug deep, and cleansed of weeds because the plants will grow on it a number of years. Perennials are usually planted in spring or autumn. Adult perennials should not be watered as frequently, except during extended dry periods. Perennials are sensitive to low winter temperatures.

Wandering Jew [] makes an excellent Perennial in the Garden, visit wandering jew plant [] to find out more.

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How to Get the Most Nutrition Out of Vegetables

There are many methods for obtaining a healthy body, and there are equally as many diets and experts who want to show you how to get there. One of the first things you should consider in a healthy diet is your intake of vegetables. No diet, no matter how much of a fad or how time tested it is, will argue against the importance of vegetables. Veggies are universally understood to be the cornerstone of any healthy nutrition plan. At the same time, it can be quite difficult and confusing to know what vegetables to eat and what you are getting out of them. Eating a wide range of colors, cooking them properly, and finding exciting recipes will help you get all of the beneficial nutrition out of your food.

An initial problem is that while you can certainly just eat any vegetables whenever they feel like it, it is quite important to know which nutrients are found in which vegetables. The best way to get as many nutrients as possible is to eat a wide variety of colors of vegetables. The colors of vegetables correspond to different levels of micronutrients found in them. For instance, red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, beets, and watermelon tend to be higher in lycopene while yellow/orange vegetables like carrots, yellow peppers, and sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids. In general, if you do not know which foods contain which micronutrients it is best to simply eat as many different colors of fruits and veggies on a daily basis.

The next difficult step in getting the most nutrients out of vegetables is to cook them in the proper way. Again, different vegetables need to be cooking in different ways, or else they tend to lose a lot of the nutrients that make them so healthy. At a basic level, most vegetables should not be boiled. Boiling sucks out a lot of the good stuff. An exception to this is when you are making soups or stews with your vegetables, but if this is the case be sure to drink the broth as well because that is where most of the lost nutrients will end up. To be on the safe side, stir-frying and steaming are the best ways to cook vegetables, next to eating them raw.

Finally, one of the biggest problems people face with getting nutrients from veggies is simply finding fun and exciting ways to cook them! Most people do not eat enough fruits and veggies simply because they do not taste as good as fatty burgers and French Fries. The challenge is to find ways in which to cook vegetables that will excite your palate: experiment with various spices, learn about how different cultures cook vegetables, and find foods that mix well together.

In the end, if you can find fun ways to cook your vegetables, understand how to cook them (avoid boiling, steaming is better), and eat a wide range of colors then you can be certain that you will be able to get all of the nutritional benefits from your diet. And remember, out of all of the fad diets, no one will ever try to tell you that vegetables are bad for you! So eat up!

Kyle Lambert is a writer, vegetarian, and cook. After years of helping friends and family make the switch to plant-based diets he decided to create a website dedicated to the lifestyle. Focusing on vegetarian recipes and cooking, Kyle hopes to educated people interested natural health. Find his full website dedicated to How to Cook Veggies [] and How to Cook Vegetables on the Grill []

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Recipe for Making Great Compost

While the following recipe may seem surprisingly simple, it is the essence of classic backyard composting. Once you know the process, adding your personal touch will help you cook up the perfect compost every time.

Ingredients: Air, Water, Carbon (brown waste) and Nitrogen (green waste)

To Prepare:

Combine generous portions of all ingredients and allow to cook outdoors for several months.  Just starting piling up the ingredients in a convenient place A corner of your yard is a common option.
Continue to add brown and green ingredients until the pile is approximate 4’ x 4’ x 4’.
Mix often (every week is good) and add water to moisten (about like a damp sponge).

Compost is ready to serve when the ingredients are unrecognizable, the internal temperature is ambient, and the contents smell rich and earthy.  Add to the existing garden soil at about 30% by volume and mix into the top four inches of any garden bed. While the following recipe may seem surprisingly simple, it is the essence of classic backyard composting. Once you know the process, adding your personal touch will help you cook up the perfect compost every time.

Ingredients: Air, Water, Carbon (brown waste) and Nitrogen (green waste)

To Prepare:

Combine generous portions of all ingredients and allow to cook outdoors for several months.  Just starting piling up the ingredients in a convenient place A corner of your yard is a common option.
Continue to add brown and green ingredients until the pile is approximate 4’ x 4’ x 4’.
Mix often (every week is good) and add water to moisten (about like a damp sponge).

Compost is ready to serve when the ingredients are unrecognizable, the internal temperature is ambient, and the contents smell rich and earthy.  Add to the existing garden soil at about 30% by volume and mix into the top four inches of any garden bed. While the following recipe may seem surprisingly simple, it is the essence of classic backyard composting. Once you know the process, adding your personal touch will help you cook up the perfect compost every time.

Ingredients: Air, Water, Carbon (brown waste) and Nitrogen (green waste)

To Prepare:

Combine generous portions of all ingredients and allow to cook outdoors for several months.  Just starting piling up the ingredients in a convenient place A corner of your yard is a common option.
Continue to add brown and green ingredients until the pile is approximate 4’ x 4’ x 4’.
Mix often (every week is good) and add water to moisten (about like a damp sponge).

Compost is ready to serve when the ingredients are unrecognizable, the internal temperature is ambient, and the contents smell rich and earthy.  Add to the existing garden soil at about 30% by volume and mix into the top four inches of any garden bed. A few common things you might be tempted to add to your compost should be avoided. If you want to play it safe, keep these out of your compost:

What Not To Add – From Outside

Weeds going to seed (you don’t want weed seeds surviving only to sprout in your garden compost next spring).
Diseased  While it’s possible the diseases won’t over-winter, the safe bet is to leave them out of your compost ingredients.
Animal waste (from carnivores)
Chemically–treated plants and grass. While most consumer lawn and garden chemicals break down rather quickly when exposed to the elements, some do not. In fact, they’re very persistent.

What Not To Add From Inside

Animal products. This includes meat, bones, grease, and dairy. Reasons to keep these away from your compost include the risk of potential disease pathogens, short term odor, and critter attractant. While all can be composted, that doesn’t mean you should. In home systems, tend towards the conservative side, especially when starting out

Kids Eating Vegetables, How Does That Happen?

The age old task of getting kids to eat vegetables… how is it done.

There have been many different ideas on how to hide vegetables in other things to ensure that your kids eat their veggies and there’s been many an article produced to help parents who are pulling their hair out over getting their child to eat their vegetables. So, I’m not here to reinvent the wheel, but merely reinforce some good principles for getting kids to eat their veggies (not to mention other foods that are good for them).

So here are 10 principles for getting kids to eat their veggies…

  1. Set a good example for your kids.

Kids whose parents sit down to eat with them, tend to have less eating difficulties and model their parent’s behaviour. So make sure you eat your veggies too!

  1. Get them involved in the preparation

Helping select the veggies at the supermarket (or sending the kids on a mission to find particular veggies in the fruit and vegetable section) encourages kids to be involved with their vegetables. Encouraging kids in the kitchen by helping with the preparation while you’re preparing the meals, also helps.

  1. Grow your own, if you are able.

Growing vegetables gives kids a sense of accomplishment (as it does for adults) and they often want to eat what they have grown themselves. If you are limited with space there is a great book called “how to grow food in small spaces” which is a fabulous guide to growing vegetables especially if you don’t have the luxury of a whole garden. The guide is created by a company called “The Little Veggie Patch Co.” and they have some great things to look at and learn on their website. They also have a great selection of seeds, growing guides and other great items. You can even rent yourself a little urban veggie plot in Melbourne!

  1. Make them fun

Dressing your vegetables up and making them more interesting is a sure fire way to interest kids. Try some fancy faces or decorate some thin pizza bases in the shapes of animals these are great ways of inspiring kids creativity as well as their veggie intake

  1. Offer lots of colours

Plenty of colours appeal to kids, especially younger kids. Have you noticed that kids toys are multicoloured? So, the same principle applies to their veggies and it makes it much easier to make them fun!

  1. Persist and be consistent

You may need to introduce a vegetable a number of times. You often need to introduce a new food 10-15 times to a young child before they recognise it, so be patient. And be consistent, continue to offer vegetables daily (even if you vary the vegetable) and make sure you model the behaviour.

  1. Choose age appropriate portions

Different ages are able to manage different quantities so ensure that you choose amounts that won’t overwhelm your child but will still ensure they are exposed to vegetables.

  1. Try different vegetables each day or prepare them differently

Different vegetable each day helps to introduce kids to vegetables more extensively, you also might need to prepare them in different ways to not only expose them to the taste of a particular vegetable but also to the many different ways you can consume them..

  1. Use easy to eat vegetables at different times during the day

We often just think of vegetables with the evening meal but keep in mind that you can have them at many different times during the day. For example try mushrooms or avocado on toast for breakfast or cherry tomatoes for snacks (these are particularly enticing if the child has grown them themselves and a small cherry tomato plant can be grown simply and successfully in a small pot on a window sill!)

  1. Don’t bribe with food

And lastly, but defiantly not least, Never bribe with food. Although this has probably been done for generations, bribing with food won’t encourage a love or interest in vegetables and this is what we want kids to bring into adulthood to inspire their kids.

So, there it is, the Balanced Lunchbox’s ideas on getting kids to eat vegetables.

For more great tips on healthy eating and how to plan healthy lunches see:

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The Importance of Eating Fresh Vegetables

Nearly any reputable diet plan these days will include a lot of vegetables. It almost seems like they have become the new miracle food, but the fact is statistics support that. People who consume seven or more portions of vegetables and fruits day, a recent study has found to reduce their risk of dying from any cause by 42%. This is compared to those who eat one portion or less a day.

There is a long list of benefits that vegetables can give, but we must remember that different vegetables carry different health advantages. Some of these are quite surprising, but the point is about vegetables is not to just stick with two or three of your favorites. A wide range of vegetables, with color being the key to look for is what we should be after. So when planning our meals it is important to make constant changes so we can bring a variety of vegetables into our diet.

This article will point out certain vegetables that can provide us with some of the surprising benefits mentioned earlier. For instance, did you know that vegetables can actually help you handle stress? So read on, with the thought of shopping your entire produce section.

1. Vegetables as a comfort food. Cortisol is one of our stress hormones, and magnesium will help balance cortisol. When we eat green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach they are loaded with magnesium. Low magnesium levels have been linked with migraines and anxiety disorders. Another great food for stress is avocados as they are loaded with folate, which is extremely healthy for the brain. Avocados should not be overlooked in the diet, as they also are some of the healthiest fats we can eat, plus potassium and glutathione.

2. Vegetables can give skin a more youthful glow. Vitamin C, which are abundant in cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers and tomatoes are important for collagen formation. These will guard against a gene that prevents cell damage from the sunlight, environmental toxins and stress. If you want to reduce wrinkles eat these types of vegetables. Also important are vegetables loaded with beta-carotene, and these are carrots, red and orange peppers and winter squash. Look for vegetables with pigments to make you appear more healthy and beautiful.

3. Vegetables digestive issues. Vegetables are loaded with fiber, and this can help you flush wastes and other gastric irritants from the system. Bloating from gas can come from many things, but often it is produced by the bacteria in your gut; the same bacteria that help improve digestion. Certain foods like cauliflower, cabbage, prunes and Brussels sprouts can also lead to bloating.

Soluble fiber found in blueberries, nuts and other fruit slow down your digestion. Insoluble fiber found in leafy vegetables, celery, carrots and green beans helps to move everything through the digestive tract more quickly. Depending on your digestive issues you should choose the vegetables that have the fiber needed for your particular problem.

When buying vegetables typically the greener or more colorful they are the more nutritious they will be. Buying out of the produce department will be a much better option than the frozen food section or the canned vegetable section. Plus they taste a lot better.

Where you carry your weight has a lot to do with your overall health, as it is a  marker for issues  having to do with the kidneys and liver. Read more about how to put on good weight through diet and exercise on our website Rich Carroll is a writer and avid health advocate now living in Chicago.

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Why We Love Fresh Vegetables

It is no doubt that many of us will always include fresh vegetables in most of the dishes that we take. Do we stop to ask ourselves why we do that? There are many nutrients that are carried by vegetables, and they help make our bodies healthier and protects them from diseases. The following are some of the benefits that accrue to us who love vegetables.

Benefits of fresh vegetables

Eating vegetables that contain potassium is good for blood pressure. An example of such vegetables is spinach, and the nutrient from them is responsible for lowering blood pressure. Additionally, the body is protected from other malfunctions like kidney stones and loss of bone.

Vegetables contain high fiber content. Fiber helps the body to avoid health problems like constipation, since it ensures smooth running of our digestive system. It is also vital in reduction of risk of heart disease and obesity.

Cholesterol is one substance that everyone wants to avoid by all means. One way of ensuring that the body is free of that substance is including more vegetables in are diet than other foods that contain cholesterol.

It is important sometimes to lower our calorie intake. One sure way of making this achievable is by eating lots of vegetables, because they contain small amounts of calories. Faced with a condition whereby we are required to reduce calories, like lowering of body weight, then this option proves handy.

Vegetables like mustard greens contain vitamin A that is important in prevention of skin problems like acne, and scaling that may result on the skin, and others like Keratosis.

The skin also benefits greatly from the intake of vegetables that contain Vitamin E and beta- carotene. The nutrient has oxidizing properties that prevent the skin from the UV rays that come from the sun. This radiation can be harmful since it can cause skin cancer. The problem is avoided thanks to vitamin E in fresh vegetables. There is no more fear of the skin aging so fast because beta-carotene slows down the process. It also prevents diseases that are associated to old age.

Some vegetables like broccoli are vital in prevention of some cancers in the body. They contain anticancer compounds called isothiocyanates and glucosinolates. This is one problem solved owing to the fact that if some cancers are not detected early when they arise, they cannot be cured. In such a case the risk of suffering from the cancers is prevented.

Fresh vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants like Vitamin C, folate and lycopene. Studies show that vitamin E is vital in neutralization of free radicals that may be in the body, hence keeping the body cells protected. Folate is responsible for the formation of red blood cells in the body and helps the nervous system to function properly. Lycopene on the other hand boosts the immune system and lowers the risks of cardiovascular infections.

Looking at the awesome benefits of fresh vegetables that those who love fresh vegetables get, you are tempted to buy more of them from the nearby grocery store. But, it does not cost you much if you try gardening fresh vegetables at your home. It will consume a small portion of your time. Even if it took much of your time, close the eye that is looking at the time and focus on the benefits.

If at all you do not have any knowledge about gardening, then you should seek some professional advice. After obtaining the knowledge, you will have a new hobby, vegetable gardening, and the diet at your dinner table will be filled with vegetables that you have produced.

Final call

It has always been said that prevention is better than cure. The truth of this saying comes into play when we love vegetables, there is little risk of contracting diseases. It is as if we insure our health once we increase the amount of vegetables in our diet. It is therefore crucial that each one of us endeavors to increase their consumption.

Eating vegetables is so important. Many people don’t realize how important it is. It would make us more healthy and can prevent some diseases.

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Fruits and Vegetables – Nature’s Healers

Natural healers have long known about the power of fruits and vegetables. Did you know that green leafy vegetables have almost 20 times more essential nutrients, ounce for ounce than any other food? Fruit (eaten properly) and vegetables contain all the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids the human body requires. Fruit is, without exception, the most cleansing and most easily digested food you can eat. Both fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber which help the cleansing process. Water transports toxins from the cells and tissues of your body, and fiber keeps the eliminative system working.

I did previously mention the importance of eating fruit “properly”. This means it should be eaten fresh and apart from any other food, with the exception of plain, unsweetened yogurt. The reason being, fruit takes less digestive energy than any other food. When you eat fruit with or after other food, the sugar ferments instead of being assimilated, creating gas. The body then has to work very hard to process the remaining food. Because yogurt is a cultured food, it is predigested by virtue of the live enzymes it contains, and is very easily assimilated. Fruit does not digest in the stomach, as other foods do. It is digested partially in the mouth when you chew it, bypasses the stomach, and is digested and absorbed in the small intestine. Cooking or canning fruit destroys its nutrients and its sugars turn acidic, making it of no benefit to the body.

There are studies that show that people who eat lots of vegetables have half the cancer risk of people who eat few vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables accelerate body cleansing and proper elimination of wastes, which in turn normalizes body chemistry. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants like Vitamin C and mixed carotenoids (converts to Vitamin A in the body). Antioxidants support and protect your immune system.

One of the many beneficial elements of fruits and vegetables are bioflavonoids, a significant part of the vitamin C complex. Bioflavonoids:

o Build a protective antibiotic barrier against infection

o Boost immune response

o Are anti-inflammatory

o Help relieve allergies and asthma

o Assist in preventing cardiovascular disease

o Protect eye health

o Detoxify your body of carcinogenic chemicals, radiation and heavy metals

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. This means that they are packed with nutrients in comparison to the number of calories they contain. As a result, they are essential for any kind of weight loss program. You can eat as much of them as you want, which can’t be said about any other kind of food.

In case you’re saying to yourself, “Yes, but it’s so hard to eat fresh fruits and vegetables… I’m just too busy… how can I eat more of them,” I have listed some ideas below that I think will help simplify matters for you.

How is it best to shop for, store and prepare fruits and vegetables?

o Use leafy greens, broccoli, berries and ripe fruit within two or three days of purchase to get the most out the vitamin content.

o Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water. Avoid soaking.

o Cook vegetables such as potatoes, beets and sweet potatoes whole or in large pieces and in their skins to preserve vitamins.

o Cook vegetables by lightly steaming or using a pressure cooker until just tender.

o Grilling, roasting and stir-fry are also excellent ways to cook vegetables.

o Don’t boil them in water, unless you drink the water or use it in a soup or as a broth. The water-soluble vitamins will escape into the cooking water.

o Shop just for two or three day’s worth of most fruits and vegetables at a time to preserve their freshness.

o Don’t eat canned fruits or vegetables. They contain very few nutrients and too much sodium and/or sugar (added as preservatives).

Tips for including more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

o Take a piece of fruit with you to work or school for a mid-morning snack.

o Have fruits and vegetables cut up and ready to eat on the refrigerator shelf.

o Combine fruits of different colors, flavors, and textures like red grapes and pineapple chunks.

o Fill half of your plate with vegetables first, then add the other food.

o Try a new fruit or vegetable.

o Make a point to have at least two vegetables every night for dinner. Make one of them a “high-powered” choice like carrots, greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, red pepper, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, squash or eggplant. Rule of thumb: The more intense the color, the more nutrients it contains.

o Add fresh vegetables to foods you already eat, like to pasta, or rice.

o Experiment with different ways to cook vegetables – grilling, roasting, stir-fry, streaming

o Experiment with fresh or dried herbs and seasonings for flavoring.

o Eat fruit for breakfast and vegetables with lunch and dinner.

The human body is designed to consume a diet that is predominantly vegetarian. Fruits and vegetables are true healers and, for optimal health, should constitute the majority of the food you eat every day.

Merry Rose is a Certified Nutritionist with a private practice in Los Angeles. She has been passionate about nutrition for over 25 years. Formerly, a professional singer and dancer, she noticed that what she ate and drank had a tremendous impact on her level of energy and overall health. Merry received her certification (CN) from the National Institute of Nutritional Education. Merry designs personal nutrition programs for a broad range of issues with an emphasis on women’s and children’s health. She is the consulting nutritionist for the Nike Fitness Academy.

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How to Set Up a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

The raised bed vegetable garden system a great option for growing vegetables because, no matter where you live, you can use this system.

The raised bed vegetable garden can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. As long as you use the principles associated with this type of garden bed then you can expect to get great results with a bounty of fresh healthy vegetables.

Growing Vegetables In Raised Beds

This type of garden is something similar to growing vegetables in containers only the ‘container’ can be so much larger.

For growing vegetables, the soil doesn’t need to be very deep as most vegetables don’t have deep roots apart from the root crop vegetables that is and then a depth of about 12 to 15 inches or 30 to 40 centimeters is mostly ample, potatoes are fine as you mound as they grow.

Raised Garden Bed Sizes

You only need your garden bed to be raised to about 12 to 15 inches. The length can be whatever length suits and the width needs to be a comfortable reach for you to the center from both sides without stepping into the bed.

The height of the bed should be whatever height suits you. If you don’t want to bend over while tending your garden then build your raised bed to a comfortable height that will allow you to tend the vegetables without the need to bend your back.

Raised garden beds are ideal for those with disabilities or the elderly who find it difficult to kneel down and more importantly get up after kneeling down.

If you wish to build your own raised beds then your options are many. You can use timber, concrete blocks, retainer wall paver blocks, stone. If using timber, only use non-treated timber like a cedar as the treated timbers usually contain toxic substances that can leech out into the soil and you will run the risk of your vegetables taking up the toxins.

There are also kits and ready made raised bed vegetable gardens that you can purchase and save the time in building them yourself. Check out your local nursery suppliers or have a shop around online.

It is also possible to have this type of garden without solid sides. Start with a good layer of gravel for drainage and then mound up the soil you wish to use, make sure you loosen the ground underneath before putting down the soil.

As a surround for the bed you could use a thicker border of mulch as an edging. I would only do this if the pathways between the beds were not grass but a mulch or gravel so that weeds or grasses couldn’t find their way into the growing area.

The pathways can be an attractive and low maintenance option too, especially if you use a wood chip or bark mulch or something like decomposed granite.


Raised bed vegetable gardens are meant to be low maintenance. That means by using this system, that is, adding your own soil mix to the beds, the weeds, pests and diseases are all but eliminated.

Better drainage is another advantage as having the bed raised allows the water to drain away and not leave the plants water-logged.

Crop rotation is very important when growing vegetables. Simply put, crop rotation means not growing the same vegetable two years in a row in the same spot.

With raised bed vegetable gardens, you can have the beds whatever size you want. This size should be determined by the size of your family or your vegetable needs.

So if you are a person living on your own or have a family of ten, your raised vegetable garden can cater for your needs.

You don’t need a big area to have a vegetable garden using the raised system. If you have a small yard or even a balcony then you can use the same principles to grow your very own vegetables.

The best advantage for you the gardener is, by using this system of raised bed vegetable gardening it has been shown, compared to the conventional vegetable gardens, to produce nearly twice as much in a smaller area.

As long as you follow the principles of raised bed gardening then you can be growing and eating your own vegetables in no time. That is the beauty of vegetable gardening, your wait is only a matter of weeks in many cases.

CTBaird is a freelance author You can find out more about raised bed vegetable gardens at Raised Bed Vegetable Garden [] for great resources, information, hints and tips on gardening using raised beds.

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