New gardeners, experienced gardeners and everyone in between can have success with raised bed gardening. Whether you have a backyard, patio, deck or small balcony, a raised bed works for all spaces and gardeners. With a dash of know-how, this simple and easy shortcut can produce a bountiful summer harvest.
First Things First
A raised garden bed is a plot above ground level where you add soil into a containment unit, usually made of wood, recycled plastic, stone or a planter. It’s an alternative to large in-ground gardens that require more work digging, tilling and maintaining.
Raised beds have a lot of advantages and upside – you can garden in more places and in more spaces, you can use higher-quality gardening soil and match the soil to the plants you’re growing, and you can start planting earlier in the year because the soil is in a shallower bed that warms up faster than ground soil.
Raised garden beds enable you to get started quickly and garden anywhere without digging or pulling up the grass in your lawn. Place a raised bed container right on top of the lawn, compacted soil or even concrete. You don’t even need a yard as raised bed containers or planters can also stand up like a table, making them great on patios and decks saving knees and backs from too much kneeling and bending. Everyone from grandparents to young children can participate!
If you’re putting a raised bed on top of concrete or hard, compacted soil you’ll need a deep bed, maybe 10 to 12 inches deep if possible. The ideal width of a raised bed is 3-4 feet, so your plants are within arm’s reach. The length can be determined by your space, materials and inclination. If you’re a beginner, consider starting with just one raised bed, especially if space and time are limited. More experienced gardeners allotting more time to the project may want three or four beds to produce lots of vegetables, fruit or herbs.
More Food Quicker
High quality garden soil helps you reach a productive vegetable garden quicker. Soil can be customized to what you’re growing with no worries about the soil that’s already in the ground or if the soil on your site is poor. Just create the ideal blend right from the start and fill your container. Research a good soil mix for your plants, but a general rule of thumb is a mix of compost and topsoil to give you a fertile medium to start.
Raised beds allow for earlier planting as the soil is warmer above ground and excess water drains better. Special covers for smaller beds help control temps too, so you can get an earlier start in the spring.
Choosing a Raised Bed
There are several types of raised garden beds to choose from. Corner Bracket Kits allow you to supply your own lumber and customize the size. Complete Raised Beds come in various options, such as cedar, composite wood, recycled plastic and galvanized steel and are available in different shapes and sizes to meet your needs. You can also get elevated raised beds for no-bend gardening for all ages. If you’re a DIYer, make your own container to fit your exact specifications and use materials you may already have on hand.
Ready, Set… Plant!
Whether you want a vegetable garden or a flower garden, fill it with what you and your family want to grow and eat! If you’re a salad lover, try growing lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Home cooks could try peppers, squash, potatoes or herbs. Research the type of soil to use for various plants, how much water and sunlight is needed, and the correct spacing of seedlings. These are all factors in a successful outcome. It’s all about experimenting, discovery and having some fun out in the sun.
Try Planters for Balconies and Apartments
Planters are also a form of raised-bed gardening, sometimes called container gardening. They are great for small spaces, apartments, balconies and for trying just one plant. Planters come in all shapes all sizes and make it easy for you to move them around for optimal sunshine, shade or protection from storms. You can also use them in addition to raised beds for more plants from year to year.
Experience The Joy Of Gardening
Raised garden beds and planters have so many advantages for gardeners and are just plain fun! Gardening is known to have therapeutic benefits and reduce stress. Raised beds are a great way for anyone to experience those benefits and the joys of gardening – from beginners and folks that may have downsized to those gardening with children, balcony planting, condo or retirement living, kitchen gardening and more. Just mix some enthusiasm with a raised bed, some sunshine and some water and you have the perfect recipe for a garden full of plentiful produce, blooms and more!