|Gardening is good for the body and the mind. It’s also hard work! Weeding and coaxing struggling plants to thrive must be accepted as part of the grower’s passion. You may dream all you want of prize winning roses and bumper crops, but if your backyard soil has too much clay, too much sand, too much alkaline, poor drainage or is too rocky, you’ll need to look for an alternative gardening environment. Raised bed gardening is the answer.
What is Raised Bed Gardening?
Raised bed gardens are planted above ground in containers or cordoned-off spaces, such as grids. Different types of materials from concrete blocks and reclaimed wood to prefabricated gardening boxes may be used. Gardening soil or amended native soil is used in beds designed to be accessible from at least three sides. Raised bed gardening is the ideal choice for people who want to garden, but feel they do not have the space to plant or the time to maintain a sprawling plot.
The Benefits of Raised Beds
Raised bed gardeners enjoy all the benefits of traditional gardening, without the traditional downsides. Weeds in raised beds are unheard of. The raised bed gardener controls drainage by adding holes and using breathable material at the bottom of the container. Snails and insects won’t pose a problem in raised beds. There is no need to worry about invasive plants, either. Go crazy and plant chives next to potatoes and English ivy next to roses!
Location is also at the discretion of the gardener when you use raised beds. If you would like a kitchen garden near the back door, but you do not want to rip up the patio in exchange for an herb patch, raised beds are the answer. Watering the compact space is done by hand, which eliminates the need for an expensive irrigation system, and allows for the use of collected rain water.
Choosing Plants for a Raised Bed Garden
Any plant that will grow in a traditional garden will thrive in raised beds. Plants will need 6” to 12” of soil. Some tubers and fruit trees will need more. One popular raised bed style is designed by arranging 12” x 12” boxes in 3’ x 3’ square. Plant vegetables alone or with butterfly attracting perennials for pest control. Devote one bed to fruit trees and berries, or to herbs. Create a “salad garden” and plant tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, scallions and celery. Plant a healing garden with squares filled with chamomile, aloe vera, and lavender.
With raised bed gardening, the possibilities are endless. Seasoned gardeners will wish they’d discovered the method sooner, while the novice will wonder why they never noticed how green their thumbs are.