Raised beds are freestanding garden beds constructed several or more inches above the natural terrain. Raised bed gardens are easy to install. You don’t need a tiller or other expensive equipment. Using a raised garden bed design is a good way to get a lot more space out of a limited amount of garden space. By raising each plant up instead of out, more crops or flowers can grow at the same time. Some plants prefer to grow in the raised garden bed design. Plants like squash and cucumbers grow great in a raised garden bed design. Strawberries, also, prefer the raised beds. If kept in their own space, they will produce large amounts of vegetables and fruit, keeping the weeds down where the plants are.
Raised Garden Bed Design
The design of your raised bed garden design should blend with its surroundings. Beds may be formal or informal, depending on their shape and the kind of edging chosen. A rectangular bed edged with a low brick wall, and filled with yaupon or boxwood pruned into straight hedges or topiaries, has a formal look that might be appropriate in the front of a house. An irregularly shaped perennial border tucked behind a dry stone wall is less formal, but could be attractive almost anywhere in the landscape. A vegetable garden has an informal look that works best in private areas of the yard. The size of the bed should be kept in proportion to the space around it.
You Can Choose Your Own Soil The nice thing about a raised bed garden is with a raised bed garden, you get to fill your beds with the nutrient-rich soil of your choice. You can customize the mixture of soil, compost and other amendments to meet the specific requirements of the plants you want to grow.
Why Raised Bed Gardening Is Environmentally Sound
Recycling! You don't have to bulldoze to have raised garden beds and all you really have to do is clear grass and topsoil. Your garden will say how much you care for the environment. Make good use of natural organic compost to help raise healthy plants. This would include manure, grass clippings, sphagnum peat moss, mushroom compost, leaves, rotted hay or straw and even leaves.
A Lot Less Weeding
Because the raised beds allow for each plant, there is much less space for unwanted weeds to thrive.
Weeds will however, find a place to grow in any garden and they need to be tended to in the same amount of time spent on the garden itself. If left to grow in between the raised beds, they will soon seed and take over the garden. When they are left to grow, they also become tough and sometimes thorny, making it extra hard to remove them.
The best way to get them out is to pick them when they pass the surface of the soil. This is why a raised garden bed design is so useful. When seeing plants that are small but outside of the raised beds, a person doesn’t have to wait to see if it is a weed or a plant. Pick anything outside of the raised beds. Wait a little longer to pull weeds in the raised beds just to make sure it doesn’t belong there.
Protected Raised Garden Bed Design
If the gardener’s home is in the northern parts of the country, a raised garden bed design can actually insulate root systems during the winter. Some plants will return every year and reproduce more fruit or vegetables. An example of this is strawberries. The raised garden bed design leaves soil to insulate the roots. They will come back year after year as long as the people put down a little mulch at the end of the season. The same holds true for rhubarb plants. Take care of them and the person will be rewarded with a new crop every year.
Example Tools And Materials You Will Need To Complete A Raised Garden Bed
Pencil, saw, string, measuring tape, a square, 12-inch galvanized steel spikes or rebar, drill and drill bits, stakes, sledgehammer, a level, soil, 8-foot-long 4x4 treated timbers, railroad ties or landscape timbers, a slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Laying Down the Soil
A raised bed does not have to be excessively deep to be effective. Eight to 12 inches is usually adequate. If drainage is a problem, or if the plants you are growing prefer drier soil, the bed could be taller and filled with a porous growing medium. Vegetable beds should be 12 to 18 inches deep. The material used to edge a raised bed should be stable, durable and attractive. It is the edging that gives the bed its “look” within the landscape. It also establishes the outline of the bed and holds the soil in place. Edging may be as simple as metal strips, railroad ties or landscape timbers, or as intricate as a mortared brick or stone wall. A crested bed is one in which the soil is simply mounded from the edges of the bed to the center; it may or may not have an edging. After building your frame clear the area to be planted of grass and weeds. You can actually do this before building the frame. Fill the bottom of the bed with a 6- to 8-inch layer of crushed rock (medium sized, not pebble sized) to allow for good drainage.
Plant soil is one of those essential items you will need to build a raised bed garden. You don’t want to use regular dirt you need to use garden soil in building your raised garden beds design. But once you've got the soil, how do you lay it all out? Leave the ends of the garden bed open so you can easily deposit soil with a wheelbarrow. Pile it up all at the opposite end. Don't seal everything up tightly until the majority of the soil is in. Make sure the soil covers the area enclosed by the frame. You can skimp on soil around the corners, but measure the soil depths an try to keep it fairly even.
Raised Bed Garden Design Maintenance
In your raised bed planting, make sure you supply plenty of mulch at the base of the bed and around the plants. This will take care of any weeds that somehow got past the raised bed foundation. All the experts on how to garden agree that mulch, like manure and compost, will lessen the task of raised garden beds. Raised beds drain much quicker and have better soil, but you'll want the right soil preparation when you're succession planting. After you harvest your spinach, you want to plant kale which can be turned under and help build the soil.
A raised garden bed design is an excellent way to keep a garden healthy without using any sprays or pesticides. If someone has never gardened with raised beds, this coming year is a great time to begin. Talk to neighbors who might use this design or go to a nursery where the workers are experienced with this type of garden. They will be happy to help a person plan out the space available. Just make sure that the person has a drawing with the dimensions on it and this year’s garden will be the best one yet. A properly designed, constructed and maintained raised bed will be a lasting source of beauty in your landscape.