Hi All -
I built/used a small raised bed (cedar) for the first time this year for a small veggie garden.
Should I empty the bed of soil with winter coming? Should I deconstruct it and store the whole thing for the winter or can I leave it out? Is any protection for it necessary?
Any advice is appreciated!
i'm sure you will get good advice from other board members on this... especially those who live in snow country. i do not.
all i can do is suggest what my instinct tells me.. and that would be to leave it alone for the winter. the spring will thaw it out and being raised, the soil will warm faster than the ground around it.
If you have built a box which has sides above the soil level, then you can expect that the coming winter's snowfalls will be held inside and subsequent freezes and thaws will result in an increased amount of moisture permeating the soil level. To avoid this you could just cover the soil with a plastic cover and depending on its size could tie it down, or staple it in place.. Or, you might just resort to laying rocks and/or bricks on top to hold it in place. Laying a number of evergreen boughs could also deflect freeze and thaw cycles.
Chicago is noted for winds---although many places are windier--Des Moines for example, but wind will dry out the soil very quickly.
So any way you can deflect wind will help.
Seems to me tearing the box down and storing is a lot of fuss for nothing.
You don't need to do anything with your raised beds. When they thaw in the spring, just loosen the soil as you would any garden & go from there. Really no need to cover or de-construct them at all. I have a large raised bed and have never had any problems. The bed is over 20 years old. Wisconsin, here.
"I've decided to quit my job, drop out of society, and wear live animals as hats."
I would say leave it alone too...perhaps a layer of shredded leaves on top to be dug in come Spring to enrich & protect soil from being lost.
"Those that throw mud, lose ground!" :>)
I don't do anything special to mine for winter. I use it all year.
In spring, it contains bulbs which then get over-planted with summer annuals. The largest section grows vegetable plants in summer. Once they're spent, it serves as a spot to "heel in" pots of herbs and mums to protect the roots from freezing.
If I took it apart, then where would I be? This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
Now is the time to amend the soil you have in your raised bed. You can add shredded leaves as someone suggested and that would be a great addition. If you have any compost, that would be great too.
And like others said...dig it into the bed in the spring & plant.
Raised beds are meant to be left alone once they are built unless you are moving & want to take it with you. Otherwise, you are disturbing your soil microbos that do good things for your plants next year.
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
The way I look at it is I might treat a raised bed in winter much like I treat a compost bin--I cover it to prevent excess moisture from snow and rain making it soppy when spring breaks.
I would think it depends on just how much snow might accumulate and whether it will stay around to act as an insulator or as a source of much melt.
Some people use raised beds precisely because they drain/dry faster than the soil they might've been cursed with. The midwest where I am has notoriously horrid clay that could take years to amend. Building a raised bed on top and filling it with loose garden mix is much, much easier. It dries and warms much faster in spring, when it might take weeks longer for the clay ground to dry out.
No... snow is absolutely not an issue.
Hi everyone - THANK YOU so much for all your replies and good information - very appreciated!
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