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Learn how to build raised bed boxes

Learn how to build raised bed boxes
By Sherry Walker
For The Salisbury Post
If you dream of growing big juicy tomatoes, sweet, crunchy carrots, fragrant flowers and herbs but you have poor soil, you need to learn about raised beds.
Raised beds can also make gardening easier, plus they are attractive.
Come learn what to ask a prospective contractor or how to build your own. Saturday, March 31 the Rowan County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in conjunction with Johnson Concrete will hold a free, public demonstration on building a landscape block raised bed.
In a raised bed, you have choices. You choose the soil to put into it, not trying to amend the clay soil typical in our area. You can select the height and the materials of the bed to fit into your landscape. Do you want to be able to sit on the edge of the bed and garden? Your material choice and height affect your gardening comfort. Common materials are treated lumber and landscaping block. With the latter, you can more easily make any shape to fit your space and whimsy, including curves. A raised bed will drain better and dry out faster than planting directly into the soil. This means you can work in it more quickly after a rain, but you also need to be more diligent about watering it.
If you don’t know where to get started, come get some free help. The demonstration gardens at the Agricultural Center on Old Concord Road contain raised beds at various heights and materials. Johnson Concrete provided the landscape block for this project, all Versa-Lok block, which comes in several sizes and colors to coordinate with existing landscaping. The garden also contains a Versa Green plantable wall. Sound intriguing? Versa Green is a landscape block which has a channel to hide an irrigation drip line and a hollow center for planting medium and a plant. Stacked upon each other, it becomes a plantable retaining wall or focal point planter.
Looking for organic planting medium? Johnson Concrete will explain their PermaGrow organic, planting medium during Saturday’s demonstration. This new product is a blend of natural compost, pine bark fines, and PermaTill to keep it from compacting. Johnson Concrete and Extension Master Gardener volunteers will actually demonstrate the building of a raised bed from Versa-Lok block, showing how to prepare the base and build the walls. This demonstration starts March 31, 10 a.m. and last about an hour at the Agricultural Center, 2727-A Old Salisbury Road. Coffee will be served compliments of the Master Gardeners and they will answer general gardening questions. The event is free and open to the public.
Sherry Walker is an extension Master Gardener volunteer with Cooperative Extension in Rowan County.

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