Why To Switch To Raised Bed Gardens

Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell

Raised bed gardens are a boon to all sorts of gardening enthusiasts. Some gardeners switch to raised beds to avoid the need to use poor local soil. Others need to squeeze maximum output from minimum space. Still others make the switch because health issues make traditional gardening too difficult. Bed shape and size is limited only by imagination and resources. Perhaps best of all, well designed raised beds can out-produce traditional gardens with less effort.

Easier on the Gardener

Raised beds can range from a mere six inches above ground to hip-height. Gardens may be placed on the ground or on top of sturdy tables. The height of the garden can be critical for people with disabilities, the elderly, or those who simply want less strain. Since beds tend to average 3 feet wide, most gardeners can reach across to tend plants, water, or harvest more easily. Most gardeners will never need to tread on soil in their raised beds, thereby avoiding compacted soil and damaged roots. Those who thought gardening was impossible for their situation might just find raised beds change everything.

Efficient Plant Growth

Traditional gardens lose space to empty access rows between plants. In raised beds plant spacing can be quite dense. By allowing just enough room, where mature plants just skim their neighbor, one creates a weed suppressing environment. Closer spacing also means moisture can be better conserved and shared among plants, creating a micro-climate for plants to thrive. The inclusion of a weed or pest barrier at the bottom of the garden bed may deter even the most pugnacious interloper from gaining entrance.

Improved Soil

In a few idyllic places, gardeners have perfect natural soil conditions. For the rest of the gardening world, raised beds can even the playing field. Poor native soil can be avoided completely. These beds allow one to tailor an ideal mixture of weed free soil components. Texture, drainage, and nutrient requirements can be perfectly controlled. These advantages create better harvests.

Extended Growing Season

Gardeners everywhere champ at the bit to plant earlier in spring. Since raised beds are less dependent on the surrounding soil, it’s possible to get a jump on nature. Their increased height allows sunshine to better warm the soil. Warmer soil means earlier seeding, earlier sprouting and transplanting, and earlier harvest. For those who want to stretch the season further yet, there are cold frames that can be built on top of the beds. Determined gardeners might even grow cold season vegetables right through the winter months.

Beauty

Raised beds have a clean and tidy elegance. Whether as a single bed, or a series of beds arranged in groups, these sorts of gardens can give an attractive and finished look to a property. Designs can be artistic and whimsical, or stately and conservative. Traditional gardens might not be fully accepted in all places. Yet raised bed type gardens are usually viewed as quite tasteful, as well as tasty, and may get nods of instant approval.

Raised bed gardens are popping up faster than weeds all across the country. It’s easy to understand why. They’re thrifty, making good use of fewer resources. They’re good looking. They’re easier to tend for the very young or the elderly. Best of all, since the soil quality is so easy to control, the harvests can be simply amazing.

Jack Russell is retired and likes pottering in his herb and vegetable garden. He is not an expert but is interested in raised bed and container gardens which seem beneficial. Jack has found helpful information at http://www.raisedbedgardens.net You can also sign up for a free newsletter and free copy of an interesting 100 year old book on growing herbs.

Advantages Of Raised Bed Gardens

Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell

Poor soil can make growing a productive garden difficult for even the most experienced gardeners. Efforts to improve bad soil include adding soil amendments, aerating and fertilizing the soil on a regular basis. These practices are time consuming activities that don’t often produce desired results. However, those who have poor soil on their property yet still wish to grow a garden can easily do so using raised bed gardens. A raised bed is simply a garden space created above the ground, ensuring that the homeowner has complete control over the quality of the soil. Although all types of plants can be grown in raised beds, this technique is most often used for vegetable and herb gardens.

A raised bed can be built with a structure around it to keep it intact, or else it can be allowed to be a free-form space. The process of making a raised bed is fairly simple. Wood is the most common material used, though stone, bricks, recycled plastic and concrete blocks are good choices as well. One of the most important things to keep in mind when making a raised bed is that it should be accessible from both sides in order to avoid stepping into it. This will help to keep the soil from becoming compacted. Compacted soils negatively affect garden drainage and aeration.

Placement of raised bed gardens will depend on what is to be grown in them. Herbs and vegetables generally require a sunny exposure in order for them to be at their best. Small raised beds can work well in shady areas where a bit of color is needed from flowering plants such as impatiens and lobellia. Because they’re easily accessed, raised beds are easier to keep weed-free than gardens planted at ground level.

Another advantage to raised beds is that the soil they contain warms up more quickly in the spring, allowing the gardener to get a head start on the growing season. Hoops and a transparent cover can be placed over a raised bed to further extend the growing season. Raised beds need less maintenance and have better drainage than traditional garden spots. They are ideal for people with back or knee problems because they are high enough off of the ground to allow access without a lot of painful bending and stooping. Most senior citizens appreciate the ease and convenience that a raised bed offers.

For the homeowner who is trying to save money by growing vegetables, herbs and fruits rather than purchasing them at the grocery store, raised beds are an especially good value because this method of planting increases the yield of any crop. Because the soil is top-quality, it’s easier for plant roots to access available nutritional minerals and organic chemicals, allowing plants to be spaced closer together than in traditional ground-level garden areas. There is also less chance of losing plants to pests or of plants being choked out by weeds. Roaming neighborhood animals won’t be able to cause much damage to plants that are growing in a raised bed.

Even though poor soils are the main reason why gardeners decide to construct and utilize raised beds, there are plenty of other advantages to them that make them well worth the initial effort and expense involved in their construction.

Jack Russell is retired and likes pottering in his herb and vegetable garden. He is not an expert but likes  raised garden beds which seem beneficial. Jack has found a lot of helpful information at http://www.raisedbedgardens.net  You can also sign up for a free newsletter and a free copy of an interesting 100 year old book on growing herbs.

More Raised Garden Beds Articles

How To Build Raised Bed Gardens

Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell

Raised bed gardens make gardening easy. There are a number of benefits to gardening with a raised bed, and these handy garden beds are fairly simple to build.

What is a Raised Bed Garden?

This type of gardening saves the gardener from dealing with bad soil conditions. The garden is built above ground, and filled with the soil of your preference. From then on, you have complete control over the texture of the soil, and its ingredients. It can be tailored to fit any plant.

The garden should be built above the native soil, and may even include it. The garden can be built free-form, or contained without hindering plant growth. Just about anything can be planted inside the garden.

Benefits

1. Less weeds.

Because these gardens are built above ground, with a barrier around the length of them, pathway weeds won’t make it in.

2. Prevents soil compaction.

The soil won’t get compacted because the garden is built with accessibility, soil, and the plants in mind.

3. Drains better.

The raised garden provides better drainage, and prevents garden soil from being washed away during storms.

4. Pest control.

The barriers help keep pests such as slugs and snails out of the mix, leaving your garden safe.

5. Easier access.

Having a raised garden will help you to avoid back pain, because you won’t have to bend down as far, or kneel to take care of you plants.

6. Open bottom.

The open bottom allows for the plants’ roots to reach as far into the ground as they need to gain access to any available nutrients.

7. Easily constructed.

They’re easy to build, and can be made with a variety of materials.

Construction

1. The right wood.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the right kind of wood for your garden. However, Cedar Wood tends to be particularly good, because it’s naturally resistant to rot. Redwood is another rot resistant wood that can work nicely. These woods should last for a long time before they begin to deteriorate, depending on the weather.

2. Height

There is no real height limit for these gardens. The most common height lies around 11 inches. Any garden taller than 18 inches will require extra support, to prevent the wood from bowing out from the pressure of the soil. The plants you’re planning to include should also play a part in height. The soil-depth requirements for plants differ, and certain plants will need a higher garden bed.

3. Materials

You’ll need: lumber (Cedar Wood), fastenings, cross supports (aluminum flat stock), hand saw, screwdriver, square, mallet, hacksaw, drill, and a carpenter’s level,

4. Assemble Frame

Clear out the area where you plan to build your garden, and begin to build the frame. Saw the boards to the desired length, and use screws at the corners to hold the boards together.

5. Corner Posts

Cut the posts longer than needed, and set the first post into the bottom corner of the frame. Drive it a few inches into the ground, and then screw the posts into the frame.

6. Finish Frame, Add Soil

Add the bottom boards to the frame, and screw them into the posts. Now, you can fill the garden with soil, and begin gardening!

Jack Russell is retired and likes pottering in his herb and vegetable garden. He is building a raised bed garden  and likes container gardens, too. Jack has found helpful information at http://www.raisedbedgardens.net  You can also sign up for a free newsletter and free copy of an interesting 100 year old book on growing herbs.

All About Raised Bed Gardens

Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell

Raised bed gardens are the answer for people around the world who are struggling with trying to grow plants in poor soil conditions. A raised garden bed allows gardeners to completely control the soil in which they plant their vegetables, allowing them to avoid trying to improve the native soil by just completely bypassing it.

How a Raised Bed Garden Works

A raised bed garden is built right on top of the native soil in a garden. This is done in a couple of different ways.

The first method is to simply pile new soil on top of the native solid without any kind of barrier in between or any container to hold it in. This is the easy method. The more difficult, advanced method is to construct a container that holds the new soil in and keeps it from mixing with the native soil underneath. This method allows for much more control of the new garden bed.

Advantages of Raised Bed Gardens

In addition to allowing gardeners to grow their plants in soil that is a vast improvement over its native counterpart, a raised bed garden offers many other advantages for those who take the time to construct them.

One of the most important advantages is the ability to plant early with a raised garden bed. The increased height allows the soil to warm up much more quickly in the spring, which allows it to be worked and planted much sooner in the year. This means more time for the plants to grow and a better yield in most cases.

Another advantage is that the soil in a raised bed does not get compacted like soil in the ground does. This gives plants growing in a raised bed a major advantage. Since the soil is not compacted, the roots of the plants do not have to struggle to push through the soil. The energy the plants save because of this is transferred to growing the plant above ground, which will lead to bigger harvests.

One more advantage to these raised beds is the ability to specifically modify the soil to the exact requirements of the plant that is being grown in each particular bed. Many separate raised beds can be placed next to each other in one garden, and each one of them can hold a different kind of soil that is suited to the particular plant that is being grown in it. This is simply not possible with a traditional garden where all the soil is basically the same.

Building a Raised Bed Garden

The first step is to make sure to build the bed on a site that gets at least eight hours of sunlight a day. This area should be flat and have a water source nearby. Those wishing to build a raised bed without a container simply need to dump six inches of the new, rich soil on top of the existing soil.

Most people will build their raised beds with the container method. Wood is the most inexpensive material to use for construction of the containers. 2×6 boards are perfect for this, but be sure to use a wood that is resistant to rotting. Level off the boards to avoid future drainage problems, nail them together and then fill the containers to the top with the new soil.

Jack Russell is retired and likes pottering in his herb and vegetable garden. He is not an expert but likes  raised garden beds which seem beneficial. Jack has found a lot of helpful information at http://www.raisedbedgardens.net  You can also sign up for a free newsletter and a free copy of an interesting 100 year old book on growing herbs.