Raised bed gardens look great, are easier to maintain and encourage better soil and better growth.
In short they are fantastic!
Take a look at our raised bed gardening tips to create the perfect raised bed garden for your home.
So first thing first – what is it?!
Raised bed gardening is a gardening technique that involves growing crops on artificial beds raised above the ground.
Raised gardening beds typically consist of container units filled with soil and raised a few inches or feet from the ground. Most raised garden beds are constructed using concrete or treated lumber.
Other materials can also be used as long as they are non-toxic and durable enough to hold soil and water for entire seasons without breaking down.
Advantages Of Raised Bed Gardening
Planting your garden crops on raised beds has several advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should consider giving it a try:
Effective Pest and Weed Control
The walls of a raised garden bed act like a shield to protect your crops against any pests and weeds from the surrounding garden soil.
Any garden bed that is at least 12 inches high will effectively deter most crawling garden pests and invasive weeds from accessing your crops.
The video below gives you an overview of some other benefits of raised bed gardening.
The soil quality in most backyards is often too poor for gardening. A lot of work has to be done to improve the texture and boost fertility.
Even after improvements have been made, the soil quality can rapidly deteriorate due to compaction caused by foot traffic and surface runoff that washes away all the nutrients.
This is HUGE:
In a raised garden bed, you will have full control over the soil quality from the start. You also won’t have to worry about surface runoff washing away all the good soil and nutrients from your raised garden bed.
Furthermore, soil compaction is less likely to occur on a raised bed because you won’t be walking on it.
Routine gardening activities such as tilling the soil, pulling out weeds and harvesting require you to bend or kneel. This places a great deal of stress on your back and knees.
You get what I am saying here?
Many people end up discouraged as they struggle to cope with the physical demands of gardening. Gardening on a raised garden bed can make your work a lot easier.
All you need to do is construct a gardening bed up to a height that you can access while standing. You can even sit on the outer edge of the raised garden while you work.
There are almost no limitations with regard to the shape or construction materials you use to make your raised garden beds.
an use your imagination to come up with creative designs to keep your garden looking neat and tidy, especially if you have limited space.
Raised Bed Gardening Tips
Ok so you have decided you want to try some raised bed gardening?
Well here are our seven tips to guide you when designing your raised garden bed and maintaining it:
#1 Choosing a Location
Plants in your garden bed will need at least six hours of sunlight every day for healthy growth. You have to keep this in mind when choosing a location to construct your raised garden bed.
Do not construct your garden bed close to fences, walls and tall trees which will cast a shadow on your bed during the day.
#2 Getting the Right Dimensions
The recommended depth for a raised garden bed is 12 inches. This depth will provide enough room for most vegetable and flower roots. You can create a deeper bed if you wish to plant taller plants such as trees and shrubs which might have deeper roots.
The width of your raised garden bed requires more consideration because it will determine how accessible it will be.
What’s the bottom line?
A width of four feet will allow you to comfortably reach across the bed from all sides. You can make it narrower than four feet if you wish but not wider. When the bed is too wide, you might be forced to step inside it to access your plants.
There is really no limitation regarding how long a garden bed should be as long as you can comfortably access it from all sides. Being able to sit on the edge of your garden bed can make your gardening tasks less tedious.
A wall that is about eight inches wide and 16 inches high will provide you with plenty of room to sit on as you do your gardening.
#3 Consider Placing a Barrier at the Bottom
In most cases, a raised garden that is at least 12 inches high will provide enough security against most garden pests and invasive weeds.
It may not be completely safe from burrowing pests if there is no physical barrier such as concrete separating it from the ground below.
Since such pests live underground, it will only be a matter of time before they find a new way through from underneath the garden bed.
And you know what else?
Some weed species have special stems called rhizomes which develop below the ground just like roots. These growing rhizomes might also find their way into your raised garden bed through the ground below.
If you have had issues with burrowing pests or creeping weeds in your backyard before, you should consider lining up the bottom part of your bed with a barrier before filling it up.
If you had already constructed the bed and filled it with soil, you have no choice but to dig up the soil, install the barrier and place the soil back into the bed.
This is important:
The material you use for this job should be sufficiently porous to allow proper drainage and be durable enough to last in the damp environment.
You can purchase a weed barrier from a farming supplies store. Such barriers are sturdy enough to provide protection against creeping weeds and burrowing rodents for several years before needing replacement.
Alternatively, you can simply use a piece from an old carpet or chicken wire to line up the bottom of your raised bed.
#4 Use the Right Soil
The quality of soil you use to fill up your garden bed should be perfectly suitable for the crops you wish to grow.
Most crops do well in nutrient-rich, loose-structured soil that is free from any rocks or debris.
The soil in your backyard probably doesn’t meet these standards, but you shouldn’t worry. You can easily prepare a perfect soil mixture by mixing topsoil, peat moss, and compost.
Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-mixed soil formulation that is perfectly balanced and ready for use.
#5 Use Organic Material to Maintain Soil Fertility
The fertility levels of soil in your garden bed will gradually reduce over time.
Regularly adding organic matter such as compost, shredded dry leaves, manure or wood chippings into the soil is one way to maintain its fertility.
Want to know a secret?
Spreading a two-inch layer of organic material on the soil before each planting cycle will keep it fertile and prevent compaction.
#6 Avoid Stepping on the Garden Bed
Walking on your garden bed can have negative effects on your garden because soil easily gets compacted when weight is applied on it. Compacted soil hampers proper root development leading to retarded growth in plants.
A raised garden bed should be designed in such a way that you can easily access every corner while standing on the ground below to ensure that you never have to walk on it.
Don’t worry though:
If you can’t avoid walking on the garden bed for whatever reason, place wooden plank or board inside the bed mark the specific areas that you can step on.
#7 Irrigate Regularly
Soil in a raised bed will dry up more rapidly than soil on the ground because it warms up faster.
This means that you will have to irrigate your bed more frequently to maintain the moisture content of the soil.
Using a sprinkler or a watering can to water plants on a garden bed is not a good idea. Watering from above will result in wet foliage and this can lead to the spread of fungal diseases.
And you don’t want that!
You should instead use a soaking hose or a drip irrigation system that will irrigate the plants at their base and ensure that the foliage stays dry.
Adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil will help to retain the moisture content of the soil and reduce the need for daily irrigation.
So there we go 7 top raised bed gardening tips – I hope they have helps and soon you will have a raised bed garden you can be proud of.
Want to learn more about raised bed gardening? You can find further information here:
Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.