Raised beds for gardening are all the rage. Not a totally new concept, but the idea of incorporating raised beds into traditional gardening has become much more mainstream in the past decade.
What is Raised Bed Gardening?
Raised gardening beds are contained areas higher than ground level that hold soil for planting. Generally the entire bed is filled with crops and the gardener works around it. Beds are typically square with five-foot long sides, so you get 25 square feet of gardening space.
Raised beds can host all sorts of plants including vegetables, fruits, herbs, perennial flowers, annual flowers, and some small bushes or shrubs. With all those options, you can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables for your dinner table — you’ll never be overwhelmed by one particular crop.
Why Use Raised Beds for Gardening?
Gardeners have their own opinions on why they employ raised beds for gardening. The most popular reasons include:
- Economically efficient – Raised beds save money on water and fertilizer as you only apply them to the raised bed plants, not all the space between as done in a normal garden layout.
- Less weeding – Weeds can’t flourish in densely grown areas because they are unable to compete with the root systems in a raised bed.
- Soil control – Whether you have bad soil in your yard or you just want to make it perfect for planting, a raised bed is great for maintaining tight control of your soil’s pH levels and nutrient content.
- Longer growing season – Raised beds offer a warmer environment for soil and therefore can lengthen the growing season. Additionally, the soil also dries out faster so cool-season crops can be planted earlier, too.
- Protect against critters – Creating your raised beds at hip height can act as a defense against moles, rabbits, groundhogs, and more.
- More comfortable – The height offered by raised beds can make gardening a more comfortable and enjoyable hobby. Backs, shoulders, and knees will be thankful for not continuously hunching over.
Building Your Own Raised Garden Bed
Building your own raised bed is easy, too. All you need is four pieces of untreated, 2×10 lumber cut to five-foot lengths. You can use longer pieces, of course, it just depends on how much space you have available for your raised bed.
From there, you can assemble a raised bed quickly with Gardener’s Blue Ribbon®’s Decorative Raised Garden Bed Corners. These special supports allow you assemble a raised garden bed in a matter of minutes and without any tools. Just slide your lumber into each corner and shape it into a square. These sturdy, all-metal guides are built to last, too!
Once you’ve assembled the frame, move it to your ideal location, fill with soil and start planting.
As your crops grow, you can also add support stakes to the raised bed frame with some Sturdy Stake Holders. These allow you to securely add plant supports for tomatoes, beans and other climbing or tall-growing vegetables.
Looking to make a taller raised bed? Check out this guide from Garden Girl TV!
Raised Garden Bed Pests & Problems
While there are plenty of great things about raised beds, there are also a few problems that may crop up.
- Water –As mentioned above, your soil will dry quicker in a raised bed. This is partly because the water simply follows the pull of gravity. That leads the water straight out of your bed and into the ground below! Luckily, you should be watering in tighter concentrations on your plants so you ultimately waste less water.
- Nitrogen depletion – As your water is leaving your raised bed, so is your nitrogen! Be sure to give your plants a nitrogen boost at least once a month.
- Bugs – Raised beds are still susceptible to pests and insect issues so make sure you keep an insect killer approved for use in organic gardening on hand. Safer® Brand EndALL Insect Killer is a great option that kills over 45 different bug species. From egg to adult, you want a spray that kills on contact.
- Soil Compaction – Raised beds are essentially really big containers, and just like containers, soil compaction can be a problem. This is caused by the increased speed of decomposition in a warmer raised bed. That means your organic matter and compost won’t last long in a raised bed. Be sure to add more at the beginning of each season.
Raised Bed Gardening
How is your raised bed working for you? Are you a fan of raised bed gardening or do you prefer traditional gardening methods? Tell us in the comments below!