Tips for Raised Bed Gardening
Raised bed gardening has so many great benefits in comparison to traditional gardening. You will have easier access to your vegetables or plants and with your soil deeper and richer, your plants will grow stronger and healthier. Here are some great tips for raised bed gardening that will help your garden be spectacular!
Location and Raised Bed Arrangement
- Before you build, decide what type of raised bed it will be (for example, a vegetable or perennial garden) and what kinds of plants that you will use. This is critical to the success of your garden mainly because you need to decide whether you need to place the bed in the sun or shade. A vegetable garden will need many hours of sun as opposed to shade perennial bed.
- Consider accessibility when you are planning out the location of your raised beds. Ensure that there are pathways between the beds so that you don't have to walk through your garden which will compact the soil. A width of approximately 2-3 feet between beds is recommended.
- Also think about the plan of your yard or garden so that the raised beds do not impede foot traffic and cause a tripping hazard. If you have young children, avoid placing them in play areas that could lead to injury from sharp corners.
Structure and Building Materials for Your Raised Beds
- Raised beds should be at least 6-12" in depth. Make sure that the length and width of your bed will allow all the plants to be within reach (so you don't have to walk in your bed).
- Wood is an economical choice for the structure of raised beds and is widely used. You may also consider other studier materials such as stone, brick, cinder blocks, stucco or patterned concrete. There is a greater up-front expense for using stronger materials however, they will last much longer than wood. Pressure treated wood may be used, but may leach chemicals into the soil that could affect plant growth.
- During construction, line the inside bottom of the bed with materials for weed control and to prevent roots from trees or neighboring plants to make their way into your garden. You can use layers of newspaper or cloth from the hardware store. If you have moles or other burrowing animals in your area, you can place chicken wire on the bottom of your raised bed as well.
Adding Soil and Planning Plant Arrangement
- You can use bagged garden soil or topsoil from your local garden center to fill the raised bed. Compost can be added if needed depending on the quality of soil that you are using.
- Soil in your raised garden can be aerated every so often using a pitchfork.
- Consider the height of your plants when planning your garden arrangement so that larger growing plants will not shade smaller ones. Plant either with the larger plants on one side of the garden to get gradually smaller as it goes across or plant larger plants in the middle and smaller plants near the edges.
- Plant annuals or perennials along the edges of your raised beds so that you can easily swap these out. Trailing plants are also best planted near the outside so that they can hang over the edges of your bed.
Care of Your Raised Bed Garden
- Water regularly using a soaker hose or drip irrigation. Because the bed is raised, it will have better drainage than a regular garden. Using these methods will help the plants soak up the water and avoid having wet foliage which may encourage the growth of diseases.
- Cover the soil with at least 2" of mulch around your plants to help prevent weed growth. Keep the mulch below the edge of the raised bed, so that it will not be washed out during watering or rain. You can use leaves, pine straw,
- Winterize your garden by weeding, pulling up dead plants, cutting back perennials, planting spring bulbs, and mulching.
- Add compost and other soil amendments each spring to improve the condition of the soil before another growing season.
- Consider planting cover crops to improve the condition of your soil. Some benefits of planting cover crops: lessen erosion, reduce mineral leaching and the top growth can be incorporated into the soil to add nutrients.
Successful Raised Bed Gardening
By using some of the above tips, you can grow a beautiful raised bed garden for your family to enjoy for years to come! Raised bed gardening can improve any property flaws that you may have (poor soil, hilly terrain, uninteresting yard) and gardening will be easier on your back as well! Have any other great tips for growing a raised bed garden, please share with us!
About the Author
Kristy Rose has her own raised bed vegetable garden and loves to be outside tending her garden! She is also passionate about writing, especially on Hubpages. If you want to join the Hubpages community, START HERE and you can publish your first article today!