Building Raised Beds by Fern Marshall Bradley

Building Raised Beds continues the Storey basics line of condensed, easy-to-follow instructions on a large variety of topics. All books in this line contain line drawings, a smaller page count without all the filler but with all the information to successfully accomplish a task. In this book, garden beds (creation, building up or digging down, soil, sun, planting, care, etc.) are discussed with a simple raised bed instruction included.

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The book is divided into four chapters: One – Getting Started (Investigating sunlight and soil, dig down or build up?, dimensions and layout); Two – Building your beds (Digging down, Building up, Soil amendments, Pathways); Three – Planting and Tending (Planting how-to, Watering, Mulching and feeding, Dealing with weeds, pests, and diseases); Four – Accessorizing your bed (setting up a support system, installing a watering system, sending your garden into space, a sturdy vertical trellis, adding artistic touches. Resources and links, index.

As can be seen from the above chapters, the emphasis is on what needs to be done before and then after building the raised bed. Instructions are only given for one rectangular bed, though images are shown for different shapes of beds. Although the title says “building”, there’s really more of an emphasis on everything else – from making pest control measures (fences, snail control, etc.) to watering options. The choice of building up or digging down into the soil is explained as well – explaining that arid areas will need a different type of bedding than wet areas.

Note that this book is for those with a yard and not for apartment dwellers looking for options on their porches or balconies. But the topic is thoroughly covered – from beds built into a slope to compost and soil types. What the book lacks in breadth in order to be brief more than makes up in depth on the topic. Building a simple raised bed and everything needed to successfully create a flower or vegetable garden is included.

In all, another great entry in the Storey Basics line of books. I have quite a few now, on a variety of topics from pickling to pruning, and all have been well done, consistent, and informative. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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