Are you looking to start your plantings earlier and possibly stretch your harvest date further? Look no more than raised beds. Raised beds are nothing more than elevating soil or mix, which allows the soil to warm faster in the spring and to cool slower in the autumn months. In some regions, depending on climate, using raised beds lengthens the growing time by an extra month on either end of the regular growing cycle. That can be a real advantage in getting strong, healthy plants and trees.
Arbor Day Farm is currently experimenting with our own raised beds. Our soil here is, for the most part, clay. This hinders good root development for young seedlings and it also eliminates the possibility of lifting (that’s “greenhouse speak” for harvesting) the seedlings at maturity. The clay would tear the lateral roots, all but killing the seedlings once they went to outplanting. With the challenge of clay soil in our area, we decided to go with raised beds as a trial when it comes to growing bareroot seedlings here at Arbor Day Farm.