What are the Advantages of Having a Raised Garden Bed?
Raised beds are very easy to build. It is sort of like cultivating the soil only instead of killing it down, you build it up. This gives you more control over what is actually in your soil, and offers you several other advantages:
One of the first advantages of using raised garden beds, is that they make it easier to do intensive planting. If you are going to use a raised garden bed, make sure to carefully made sure the spacing of your plants. This will allow you to plant more plants per square inch. Even with a limited space, you can grow a lot of vegetables in a raised garden.
Drainage – if you live in an area that has a lot of clay in the soil, or that have a high water table you may be struggling with always having the soil damp or soggy. By taking the time to build a raised garden bed, you can improve the drainage of your soil. This is because you control the soil that is in the box. And once there is too much water in the soil, it will simply drain through the sides of the box.
Raised bed gardens can also give you topography and added privacy. This is mostly the case when you are planting flowers and landscaping bushes. It provides a three-dimensional feel for your garden, making you feel secluded and it away from busy city life. Raised beds also take less water and fertilizer to keep them working well.
Another advantage of raised garden bed is that it increases your planting season. When you use raised garden beds, they typically heat up a bit faster and stay bit warmer than the ground surrounding them. This means that you can start planting a week or two earlier with a raised garden bed, and you can also keep your plants in the ground for a week or two longer. This increases your yield for lots of vegetable plants, simply by lengthening the season.
Having a raised garden bed also make sure that you can make sure that you have quality soil, at least for this at first 6 to 8 inches. Sometimes soils are rocky, or hard. By building a garden bed, you work your way around it. Did you know that you can use 4 inches of soil inside of a garden box, and grow sunflowers that are 6 to 8 feet tall. Even if the garden box is on top of cement! This is a great way to take advantage of limited space, and create a garden where you would have thought it wasn’t possible to have one. This allows you to have more confidence to plant plants with minimum spacing, and still get good results.
Having raised garden beds makes it easier to install row covers or mini greenhouses. This is because of the structure of the raised garden bed, and they are typically rectangular, and have a predetermined size.
If you can elevate your garden, it means you don’t have to stoop down so far to work in it. The other benefit of an elevated garden is that it makes it slightly harder for weeds to start growing. In addition, once your raised bed garden starts to come in, it makes it a lot harder for weeds to develop because your plants are closer together.
Another advantage of raised garden beds is that they can typically be accessed from all four sides. If you are installing the raised beds in your garden, make sure that you can get access to them by giving yourself a walkway between your raised bed garden boxes.
The last damage of having a raised bed is that it allows you to have order in your garden. You can easily separate vegetables that would otherwise intermingle. In addition, you can organize your garden and help it to be as few as possible by taking the time to carefully lay out how you’re going to plot everything in your raised bed gardens.
How Big Should You Build Your Raised Bed Gardens?
If you are using wood to build boxes around your gardens, you should keep in mind that the maximum width of your garden that should be do more than about 4 to 5 feet. This is because it is hard to reach your garden if it is more than 5 feet wide. In addition, when you try to decide the length, you should keep in mind that if the wood is about 8 feet long, it begins to bow. For this reason, most garden beds or boxes tend to be around 4 x 8′. It is also convenient because if you buy 38 foot pieces of lumber, you have enough to build one garden bed. Keep in mind that if you’re going to be building your bed against a wall, you’re probably not going to want to be more than 2 or 3 feet wide, you will have a hard time accessing it from the edges. In addition, you want to make sure to give a pathway between your garden boxes so that you can easily access them to weed , prune , and fertilize them.
How to Put Your Raised Bed Garden Boxes to Gather
It is usually a better idea to use screws than to use nails when you are assembling your garden boxes. Another good idea is to use L brackets to help reinforce the corners. You can put these L brackets on the inside corners and then they won’t even be visible once you have installed your soil. A lot of people also like to secure the corners with hinges. If you use hinges to assemble your garden, then you can easily change the shape of your garden slightly so that it fits your needs better. Another advantage of using hinges is that you can pull up your boxes and store them during the months you are not using them if you want to.
Should I Use Pressure Treated Wood?
A lot of avid gardeners say that you shouldn’t use wood that has been pressure-treated or treated with creosote. It is possible for these chemicals leach out into the soil. It is best to go with both landscaping timbers or use wood that has not been pressure-treated. My opinion is that once the pressure-treated wood has already aged for four or five years, it shouldn’t give you any difficulties when using in your garden. The downside of using untreated wood of course is that it’s going to rot a lot easier. Once it rots, you’ll have to replace the wood. Using thicker wood is a good way to keep it lasting longer. Do not use plywood for constructing your garden beds cut because it will not last more than a few years. Instead, try to use boards that are at least 2 inches thick and 6′ to 8′ inches high.
A lot of expert landscapers recommend that you use untreated klin-dried wood. They recommend that some of the best types of wood to use are Cedar, Redwood, or Cyprus, which should last at least three or four years. Some sources also recommend that you get a blowtorch and char the inside of your boxes. I don’t think this is going to help out a ton, but it could be fun. ( Urban Farming, copyright 2011 By Bowtie Press, printed in China)
If you’re going to be planting on top of a long, make sure to put down some newspaper. Or a landscaping cloth to help prevent grass and weeds from growing up from the ground. Newspapers usually work great because they divide a light layer section, but they’re also biodegradable and the roots from your plants should be able to grow right through them.
How Much Soil Can a Raised Garden Bed Hold?
Garden beds tend to hold a bit of soil. Most people do not realize how much so they’re going to need further bed once it is finished. Even if you just build one 4′ x 8′ bed that is 12 inches deep, you’re going to need 32 ft.³ of soil to fill it. This means that if you buy the one cubic foot bags, that contain about 30 to 40 pounds of soil, you’re going to need 32 of them just to fill up one box. If your boxes are only 6 inches deep, you’ll be able to fill two 4′ x 8′ beds with 32 ft.³ of soil.
The way that you calculate how much soil is necessary, simply multiply length X width X Depth. This will give you the cubic volume of soil that you will need.
How to Use Your Garden Boxes All Year around?
If you want to do gardening all year round, you can easily convert your garden box into a hoop house. The way to do this is to use PVC pipe and plastic sheeting. Using half-inch PVC pipe is going to give you plenty of strength. What you are going to want to do is you’re going to want to pick from one end of your garden box to the other. Usually, they work best when they are at least 4 inches apart. You can either have the hoops going straight into the ground, or you can have them anchored with two half-inch EMT straps. Typically, you’ll need about 10 feet of PVC pipe to go 4 feet across your garden box. You want to install your PVC pipes between 18 inches and 20 inches apart. This should give you plenty of support for your plastic sheeting. Then you just get a piece of plastic sheeting that is about 10 x 12′, and this should give you plenty to cover your garden.
Over the winter time, you want to plant crops that like cold weather better. These types of crops will include beets, cabbages, and most root vegetables. For a better idea of what to plant, sees some of our gardening pages that have to deal with winter gardening.