Elevated garden beds are excellent for yards with poor or compacted soil. Not only do they look stunning in a backyard garden, they also ease the workload that comes with maintaining traditional, in-ground beds. Plants are lifted out of the way of rowdy pets and little ones, and your soil warms up earlier and stays that way longer, extending the growing season.
Types of Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden bed plans and kits come in different styles and sizes. Some of the least expensive kits are made from raw, natural wood or wood treated with natural wood stabilizers. Cedar is the most common wood used for raised beds because of its durability and resistance to rot.
Vinyl, plastic and composite raised garden beds are strong and durable containers that are built to last. Next in terms of price are kits made from a blend of hardwood fibers and post-consumer recycled plastic.
Locating a Raised Garden Bed
Build your beds somewhere that receives at least five to six hours of daily sunlight — the more, the better! Orient them north to south to prevent plants from shading each other out. And be sure there is a nearby water source for irrigation.
Filling a Raised Garden Bed
Protect against pests by lining the bottom of the bed with weed block, newspaper, cardboard or landscape fabric. Fill your beds with the best soil possible. For most applications, a good basic mix is made from 60-percent topsoil, 30-percent compost and 10-percent potting mix. Add enough soil mix to fill the bed. Some settling will occur. And beware of adding anything to your beds that may contain weed seeds or herbicide chemicals.
Raised Bed Gardening Triumphs Over Poor Soil Conditions
Raised bed gardening is the key to success when it comes to having healthy, thriving plants. It takes care of your soil problems and you can even use a raised bed for growing flowers and vegetables! A successful gardener should consider this method if they live in an area that has poor quality dirt-especially ones with sandy soils or heavy clay soils.
What’s the best way to garden? With raised beds! They’re so much easier than digging up dirt and planting your seeds or seedlings, plus they make a beautiful display. Whether you have an acre of land that needs attention or just one little plot in shades salad bowl type area – this is perfect for all sorts o’ spaces (and pockets too).
The ability to manage the soil is one of the most significant benefits of using the raised bed. Because you choose and mix the ground yourself, you can create the perfect soil environment for the plants you want to grow. That means even if you’re going to grow plants that don’t typically thrive in your area because of your local soil composition, you can grow them in raised planters in which you have created the perfect soil for those plants. The benefits of using raised beds extend beyond just the soil environment. Raised bed gardening allows you to create your own mix for perfect plant growth, even if local conditions don’t typically support that type or variety!
There are other benefits to raised areas as well, even if the soil is not an issue in your area. Another significant advantage to consider is the way the raised beds let you target the use of things you put on your garden. Apply fertilizer and mulch where they are needed – and there only – so you end up using less and do not accidentally apply these things where they are not required. If you use chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, you can use a smaller amount of them, and again, you can target their use. Because you apply them only to the raised bed, you don’t have to worry about runoff or the effects these chemicals can have on your pets or kids who play in your yard. All in raised bed gardening makes for more efficient planting.
One great benefit of a raised gardening bed that is the fact that the planting area is, in fact, elevated. Since the garden is not ground level, it is much easier to tend. Garden enthusiasts with back problems will love being able to see their plants and manage them without bending over and dealing with hours of painful work. Raised areas are ideal for people with joint pain and injuries that make it difficult for them to garden traditionally.
Although raised garden beds have all of these benefits and make different kinds of gardening possible in areas where the soil is not ideal, the beds can’t trump every problem a garden may face. You still need to consider the climate in your area and choose plants accordingly – raised planters or not, and tropical plants won’t grow in snowy climates. Also, you will still need to pay attention to what level of sunlight your garden area gets and choose your plants with that in mind. Further, although most people with raised beds deal with less pest infestation, you will still need some way to deal plant-munching insects. Even though raised beds can’t fix everything, however, they are still a great option when soil limits the way you garden.
Final 3 Tips For Building a Raised Bed Garden
Raised bed gardening is a fun, creative, and efficient way to garden. If you are just getting started with this type of gardening, here are a couple tips to get you going in the right direction.
Tip #1 – To Purchase a Kit or Not?
There are many ready made kits on the market now to make building your bed quick, easy, and affordable. If you choose this route, do some research as some will vary in quality and features, not to mention in ease of assembly.
Tip #2 – Building Your Own
If you decide to build your own bed be sure you know the weight of the bed you intend to build once it has soil in it. The bigger the bed, the heavier it is with soil, and the more reinforcement you will need. If need be rebar can be placed at angles to the bed once assembled to give it side support, this is important in larger beds.
Tips #3 – Consider Size
When trying to decide what size to make your raised bed, be sure to consider what types of vegetables you will be planting. A 12 inch raised bed is sufficient for most root vegetables, lettuce and other leafy greens need even less space.
Raised bed gardening can be a great way to create a garden when space is limited. It is a fun, efficient, and easy to maintain way to exercise your green thumb. Hopefully these couple of tips will get you started on your own garden today.