Raised Bed Gardening, Part 1: The Basics
Raised garden beds are a beneficial tool for those who are new to gardening as well as experienced gardeners. Raised beds are appealing because they can make gardening easier as well as lend a neat and decorative look to your gardening area. Although starting a raised bed garden can require an initial cost, you will have a garden that will last for years if you use the proper materials.
Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
There are various reasons why you might prefer using a raised garden over planting a conventional garden. Probably the biggest advantage to choosing raised gardening is soil quality. If you live in an area with poor soil, you will have trouble getting plants to grow to their full potential. Raised gardens allow you to bring in high-quality soil if your native soil is not good enough.
The soil temperature in a raised garden bed will warm up faster than soil in a conventional garden, so another benefit of this method is earlier planting. By planting earlier, you can get more out of your harvest and extend the life of your garden.
Raised gardens are also easier to work in. Because the soil is raised up, it is much easier to pull weeds without trying to maneuver around your plants. You also won’t compact the soil by stepping on it frequently since you won’t need to walk in the garden bed.
When building a raised garden bed, choose wood that will resist rotting and that hasn’t been treated. Cedar is a popular choice for constructing a garden bed. Try to build the bed in a flat, level area for best results. Also, keep in mind how deep/tall you will need the bed to be. Most plants do fine with a depth of around 6-12″, but plants with deep roots such as potatoes or carrots will require a deeper bed. If the soil under the bed is not very good, consider building the bed a bit higher.
Next month we’ll discuss the specifics of how to go about building a raised bed garden as well as some tips and hints regarding this gardening method. Stay tuned!