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Raised Bed Gardening

What Can You Raise in a Raised Bed?

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Raised bed gardening refers to gardening in soil that has been mounded or contained higher than the surrounding soil. Raised bed gardening is an old gardening practice, but it’s currently growing in popularity again because it offers several advantages to simply growing your plants in level ground.


You Control the Soil

Obviously this will be good for your plants, since you can bring in the best garden soil. Never walking on the soil means it will forever be light and aerated, not compacted. It’s also good for the gardener because there is no tilling necessary! And even if your local soil is the worst clay or rock, your raised garden bed will won’t need to be amended and worked every year.


More Vegetables and/or Flowers

You can squeeze more into a raised bed because you don’t need to leave room for paths. You never walk in the beds, you just lean into them. Keep this in mind when you’re building a raised bed and don’t make it any wide than you can reach.


Good Drainage

Ever hear the expression ‘well drained soil’? Of course you have. Because raised beds are elevated, the soil drains more rapidly than garden soil. You can work in the spring, when your yard is still mud and rainy days won’t be lost days in the garden. Of course this also means they can dry out faster, but raised beds are also easier to water than open gardens. The smaller area is perfect for installing drip irrigation. Even if you use a garden hose, you’ll be wasting less water and taking less time than watering traditional garden beds.


Critter Control

It’s much, much easier to keep burrowing animals out of a raised bed. Just line the bottom of the raised bed with hardware cloth or chicken fencing. Repellents can usually be sprayed just around the perimeter. You can even cover the whole bed with bird netting.


Easy on the Back

Every inch the bed is raised is one less inch you’ll need to bend. In fact, physically challenged gardeners and wheelchair gardeners can keep on gardening when beds are raised to a reachable height. I can see raised beds getting higher as we get older. Here’s a nice height raised bed design you can build yourself.


Building a Raised Bed

Raised beds are easy enough to construct. The simplest raised beds are just four boards joined together in a square. Cedar, redwood, the new pressure treated woods and even newer synthetic boards all weather well for several years. You can even get resourceful and build your bed out of bales of hay, cinder blocks or whatever’s handy. Or you can buy a kit that comes with everything you need to nail or pop your bed together.

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