The Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening
If you’re considering a raised bed garden, you’re thinking right. In Italian we’d say your choice will be molto bene. Whether you’re a seasoned backyard veggie gardener – or if you have no green thumb at all – raised beds offer lots of benefits that will make gardening more fun and productive. Raised beds are any growing or soil surface that is contained by a frame above ground. Whether elevated by 6 inches or 36 inches, adding height adds a long list of pros compared to in-ground planting. To contain the soil, beds frames can be made of many material types – wood, metal, composite and stone are the most common. With so many material choices, beds can be constructed of any length or shape to best fit your growing area and conditions. Commonly, beds are no wider than 4 or 5 feet to allow easy access to plants and soil from all sides without having to step into them. So why are they such a good choice? Here are the best things about raised beds:
Improved Soil Quality
Because your bed will be filled with choice soil, you control the composition and health of what your plants grow in. If your ground soil is of poor quality – too sandy, clay, contaminated etc. – none of those concerns will affect the contained soil of your raised bed. From pH to mineral content and organic matter levels, it’s easier and more economical to maintain and amend raised bed soil.
After your bed is constructed and filled, you can almost sit back and watch the plants grow. Elevated and contained soil offers more of a barrier to weeds getting in. Not only will you spend less time pulling weeds, you also won’t need to work the soil like you would ground-level beds. Because you don’t walk in the raised bed, the soil will not be compacted meaning no need for annual turning.
Better Moisture Control
By creating and controlling ideal soil conditions, moisture levels can be kept just right. The balance between water retention and drainage will be easier to monitor and adjust. A garden that is too moist will promote disease and fungus issues on plants. One that is too dry will cause plant stress and reduce output. With raised beds it’s nearly impossible to run into either extreme. Whether you water by hand, or decide to install a drip irrigation system in your bed, you’ll spend less time watering and won’t waste by over-watering.
With less compacted and ideal soil conditions, your plants have a better environment to grow in. This will lead to improved output with higher yields per square foot. Additionally, because the design of raised beds gives you access on all sides, more of the soil space can be used for growing rather than walking paths. Combine these factors and plants can be spaced closer together, giving you a higher density that further increases production.
A contained space for your plants will always look nicer and tidier than a patch of open soil in your yard. Beds can be constructed in so many ways, of so many materials, in any shape or position, giving you endless choices for a both functional and visually beautiful veggie garden. Raised beds can be worked into existing landscapes, or designed into new ones whether as focal points or to be extremely discrete.
Longer Growing Seasons
By raising your garden off the ground, you can extend its life. Soil contained in raised beds will warm faster in the Spring, allowing you to seed or transplant earlier. In the Fall, the raised soil will stay warmer and be protected from ground frost, giving plants a longer life. Depending on your location, types of plants, and severity of weather, raised beds could extend your garden by 3-6 weeks each year.
Easier On Your Body
Gardening should never be back breaking. It should be fun and rewarding! Manually turning garden soil by hand, bending to pull weeds or reaching up and down to harvest fruits and veggies can be tiring and even put strain on some people. Elevating your garden in a raised bed brings these tasks closer to you. At leg, waist, and eye-level the things you need to do to maintain and enjoy your garden’s output won’t become tedious.
Convinced that you need a raised bed for your urban garden? The Young Nonno can help. Shop standard size cedar beds or book a consultation today for a quote on custom sizes, shapes, heights and designs for whatever you’d like to grow.