How To Build A Raised Bed Garden

Raised bed gardens are easy to maintain, look great and can be very efficient. Here's how to build your own.

In a lot of areas the soil is not great for gardens. Clay soil compacts and doesn't drain well, some soils are nothing but rock and a few inches of organic matter, and a lot of people don't have a tiller to plant a good sized garden. With a raised bed garden, there is no need to worry about these things. Raised beds enable you to have the soil you want or need. You build your soil in the beds, and add amendments that are needed. Raised beds are usually about 3 feet across, so there is no need to walk on the soil and pack it down. Once you have built the soil up and have added compost and mulch around your plants, there is no need to ever till the ground. It has been proven that this is much better. The soil will be alive with beneficial microbes and earthworms. The soil in the raised beds remains loose and healthy. Raised beds are the way to go.

A garden with raised beds looks very nice. You can outline the beds with rock or weather resistant wood. Make them about 3 feet wide and 12 feet long. The beds need to be 8-12 inches deep. Place a few inches of small gravel in the bottom of each bed for good drainage. Raised beds can be placed on the ground or built up any needed height for each individual. All the beds should have a east-west orientation. This way the plants will not shade each other. Place the raised beds in a sunny area that receives about 6 hours of sunshine a day. You can grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers in raised beds.

Fill the beds with topsoil or a good soil mix of your choice. Add good compost and mix it in. Some sand can be added if desired. After you plant your seeds, add about 3-4 inches of mulch. The mulch will break down over time and add nutrients to the soil and keep it loose. Mulch will help conserve water and cool the roots of plants. There will not be a weed problem if you mulch well. Using compost and mulch will save you time and money. Compost is a natural way to fertilize. Make your own compost and mulch and save even more money.



Broadcasting seeds in your raised beds is a good way to use the space efficiently. Also, square foot gardening can be used. You can extend your growing season by making portable covers for each raised bed. These covers will be like a mini greenhouse and protect your plants from harsh weather. They will hold the heat in and keep birds and animals from getting to your fruit and vegetables. When the soil is healthy there is less of an insect problem. Raised beds have many advantages.

Put down gravel, brick or rock around the beds making walkways to keep you out of the mud. You may want to have a weed barrier put down first. Put a fence around your raised bed garden if you wish. At the entrance of the garden build an arbor over the gate and plant a climbing vine. Build teepees or have vine poles etc. for plants to grow on and save space in your garden. Back up a raised bed to the fence and grow climbing plants on the fence. Make raised beds any shape you want. Put a bird bath in one. Decorate your garden with wonderful garden objects that you like.

Another way to use the space is to plant quick growing plants like radishes under squash plants. Plant lettuce under bean vines growing on a trellis. Plant marigolds or other good companion plants around your garden to keep insects away. Put in a watering system with a timer. This will save you lots of time and you won't need to worry about your garden if you have to go away for a while. The watering will be taken care of automatically.

When you build raised beds, they can be the correct height so the physically impaired can garden easier. Bring it up to a good height that is good for the individual. When people can't bend down or they are in a wheelchair, raised beds enable them to still enjoy gardening.

If you have used cedar boards, use them to outline your beds. Remember to reuse and recycle. Composting is a way to recycle. Mulch is recycling also. Without using fertilizers, you have an organic garden which is much more nutritious than non-organic foods.

If you don't have something to surround your beds with, it's okay. All you need to do is, till an area of soil or build your soil. Then rake it up where it is about 12 inches deep and 3 feet wide and flat on top. This is a raised bed. Do not walk on the bed and add compost and mulch. Leave walkways in between each bed. Lay something down to keep the walkways from getting muddy. You can have many, many good vegetables, herbs or flowers by using raised beds. Try it!

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