Raised Bed Gardening

The best of both worlds

Looking at the typical family garden a hundred years ago would have found your eyes roaming over a huge chunk of land dedicated to growing all the veggies the family would need. These gardens were bigger than most building lots in today's tightly packed neighborhoods.

In spite of the cramped growing conditions planting a garden is something that has enjoyed a recent boost in popularity. This suburban interest has given rise to a number of new ways to look at gardening. One of the most popular gardens suited to suburbia is the raised bed planter garden.

What is a raised bed garden?

There really is no big difficult act to create a raised bed garden. Any garden, herb, flower or vegetable that is planted on ground higher than that of the surrounding area is considered a raised bed garden. With that in mind a simple heap of dirt, leveled off and planted on the top qualifies as a raised bed garden. It might not be the most attractive or easily maintained option, but it qualifies for the title nonetheless.

Keep it simple squares (K.I.S.S)

A more attractive option would be to create a raised garden bed by building some sort of box. One of the simplest most cost effective, yet beautiful ways to do this is to nail together some wood into the shape of the container you want.

When selecting the wood keep in mind that woods heavily treated with chemicals are toxic, and can leach this toxicity into the soil where your vegetables are growing. It might be a better idea to treat the wood yourself to avoid the toxins. Pine is an inexpensive option that is easy to work with, come in all shapes and sizes, but rot quickly. More weather resistant woods like cedar are more expensive. You can choose for yourself.

When you are building your containers you will also need to think about function as well as form. A raised box that is more than five feet wide will be difficult to weed and plant in the center. If you want to grow root crops the soil depth must be able to support it, so the boxes either need to be taller or you’ll need to prepare the soil below the bottom of the box for growth as well. Knowing what plants will be grown in the raised beds allows you to create a custom design for your garden.

Benefits of stepping up to a raised bed

Raised bed gardens come in all shapes and sizes; this is perhaps one of the features that makes them so popular. Another benefit to getting the garden off the ground is the wear and tear on the gardener's body. Working on the hands in knees in a traditional garden can be grueling. Raised bed gardens can be made to ease or even eliminate the need for constant stooping.

If designed and planted well, raised beds also cut back significantly on weeds. It is very difficult for clover and grass to encroach upon dirt housed behind a barrier and two feet up.

Lastly, raised garden beds provide a beautiful feature element to the landscaping. They act as frames displaying the art of the plants they house.