raised bed garden

 

Spring is almost here and so is gardening season! If you’re looking to try something new for your garden, why not try raised beds? Raised bed gardening is popular in urban environments or anywhere that space is limited, but this gardening technique is becoming increasingly popular in rural environments too. Here’s a few benefits to raised bed gardening.

What are “raised beds?”

According to the Ohio State University Extension, “raised” means the soil level in the bed is higher than the surrounding soil and “bed” implies it’s small enough to work without stepping into the bed. Raised beds shouldn’t exceed 4 feet in width, but the bed can be as long as the gardener wants. Raised beds are typically framed with either wood planks, bricks or concrete.

10 benefits of raised beds

Greater yields

Traditional, in-the-ground, gardens yield about .6 pounds of vegetables per square foot, according to the Ohio State University Extension. With raised bed gardening, yields increase to an average of 1.24 pounds per square foot. That’s over a 100% increase in potential yield! Because there’s no walking in the bed, vegetables can be planted at higher densities — that’s good news for home growers.

Improved soil conditions

When growing traditional garden you’re stuck with what you have. Your soil may not be ideal. Treating soil can become expensive and labor intensive. With raised bed gardening, however, you can use any soil you wish. Another benefit to square bed gardening is the lack of soil compression. Since the soil isn’t tread upon, there’s nothing to compact and tighten the soil. Vegetables love loose and aerated soil and they’ll thank you with more food to eat!

Accessibility

Raised bed gardens can be built to a height that doesn’t require bending over to maintain. This is good for gardeners who have mobility issues like arthritis. Square foot gardens, a variant of raised bed, are only 4′ x 4′, which allows accessibility from every angle.

Pest control

Burrowing pests like moles are easily controlled by lining a raised bed with chicken wire. If rabbits and groundhogs are a problem, consider framing the bed with a low fence or building the bed a bit higher off the ground.

Conservation

Because raised beds have fixed and often smaller dimensions than in-ground beds, water conservation is easier. Perforated plastic sprinkle hoses and drip-type irrigation is recommended.

Mobility

Moving? No problem! With raised bed gardens you can bag up any soil you want and break down your frame to transport to a new location.

Aesthetics

Raised bed gardens can be neat and tidy. Boards can be painted and decorations applied, if that’s your thing.

Weed control

Weed-controlling tarp can be used between the earth and your soil to further discourage weeds from growing. Plastic mulch can also be used.

Longer growing season

Your garden depends on the temperature of the soil. The soil in your raised bed will warm up quicker than the ground under your lawn. It’s also fairly simple to make a cold frame for your raised bed.

Frugality

Traditional gardening usually involves spreading multiple seed and then thinning the plants as they grow. Raised beds allow gardeners to plant only the amount of seeds they need.

 

So, what is the proper way to build a raised bed? That’ll be our topic for next week’s Tip Tuesday!

Will is Farm and Dairy's newest writer. He's recently moved to Lisbon, Ohio where he lives in a church turned community theater. He enjoys writing (of course), theater and hiking.
Will Flannigan
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