Gardening Articles: Care :: Soil, Water, & Fertilizer
Growing Peas in Raised Beds
by National Gardening Association Editors
"Raised bed" is a term used when soil is raised so that the seedbed is higher than the soil in the adjacent walkways.
Advantages of Raised Beds
Here are several reasons why growing on raised beds is beneficial for peas.
You can plant earlier in the spring because the soil on a raised bed warms up and dries out faster than it does in the rest of the garden.
You'll have better drainage because rainwater runs off into the walkways, eliminating the problem of water standing too close to the plants' roots. The better your garden drains, the fewer diseases your plants will develop.
You can irrigate more easily. Simply run water from a hose between the beds and allow the water to seep into the root zone. Raised beds are an especially good idea if you live in a dry area or if you have a dry spell.
Preparing Raised Beds
Preparing raised beds is worth the extra time and effort. Here's what you need to do.
- Decide on the width and length of your raised beds as well as the space in between. This will depend on whether you're planting single rows or wide rows.
- Using a spade or tiller, work your soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
- Measure your rows and walkways. Stake out the dimensions of your raised beds with sticks and strings. One to two feet wide is fine, and the length can be as long as you want. Allow at least 18 inches between the edge of one raised bed and the edge of the next. Rake-width raised beds work very well. Therefore, the center of one raised bed is almost three feet from the next if you leave an 18-inch walkway.
- Use a hoe to pull the loosely tilled soil from the walkways up onto the bed until it's four to eight inches higher than the walkway. By drawing two inches of soil from the walk on each side of the bed, you'll create a four-inch raised bed.
- Rake the top of the bed smooth, leveling the surface as you go. Now you're ready to plant.
You fertilize, plant and harvest on raised beds the same as you would on level ground. However, as long as you're going to make raised beds, it makes sense to grow in wide rows -- or double rows at the least! Otherwise, you waste too much valuable growing space.