Why Use Raised Garden Beds?
My family and I love using raised garden beds for our garden. If you have limited space in your suburban garden, a raised garden is our best option. Using raised garden beds is the best thing to use if you have limited space, or if you want to cut the amount of work it takes you to grow a garden.
Advantages of Using Raised Gardening Beds
The number one advantage to a raised garden is that it reduces the amount of space needed to grow vegetables. If you use some square foot gardening techniques, you can grow a lot of your squash, cucumbers, and even tomatoes on trellises. As long as you take good care of your raised garden, and add a fair amount of compost to it every year, you can get a very high yield from less space. 32 ft.² of raised garden bed can give you the same amount as a 100 square-foot garden if you know how to take care of it properly.
Better Drainage – If you live in an area that has a lot of claim 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.
Using raised garden beds makes it easier to do intensive planting. A jury going to use a raised 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.
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 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 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.
Less Weeds – this is my favorite advantage of using a raised bed gardening system. You will get a few weeds in it during the beginning of the season when you plan your flowers or vegetables, but as the plants get bigger, you get fewer and fewer weeds. Because it is in a raised bed, there is less chance of having weeds blown into it. On top of that, when you have a raised garden, you don’t normally walk across it, so there is less chance that you will track weeds into it from your feet. Also, when you use a raised bed, the plants in your garden tend to grow a lot closer together. This keeps weeds from growing, simply because they won’t get enough sunlight. When I had a traditional garden, I had to go out and weed my garden almost every week. Three years ago I switched over to raised bed gardening, and I usually don’t have to pull any weeds after the Fourth of July. This makes it a lot easier to manage a large garden.
More Control over the Quality of Your Soil – if you’re taking the time to build a raised bed garden, you also have more control over what is in the soil. It is pretty easy to add compost to your raised bed or box garden every year. The trick with a raised bed is to increase soil quality. Having great soil will go a long way to give you quality organic produce year after year.
Easier to water and fertilize – when you’re using a raised garden, it is easier for you to fertilize it. Each fall or early spring, you can add in more compost to your garden. In addition, when the plants are about 6 to 8 weeks old, it is pretty simple to fertilize them, simply because they are close together.
When you plant a raised garden beds, you need to make sure you have at least 6 to 8 inches of good soil. Sometimes soils are rocky, or part. By building a garden bed, you work your way around that. 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 with more confidence plant plants with minimum spacing, and still get good results.
Having raised garden beds makes it easier to install row covers or mini greenhouse is. This is because of the structure of the raised bed, they are typically rectangular, and 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’s 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 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 advantage 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 flaws possible by taking the time to carefully lay out how you’re going to plan everything in your raised bed vegetable garden.
Making your Raised Bed Garden Plans
If you are using wood to build boxes around her gardens, you should keep in mind that the maximum width of your garden that should be do more than about 4 to 5 feet. raised garden bed plans that have a width of more than 4 feet, are hard to weed and should not be used, especially if you are planting a raised vegetable garden. This is because it is hard to reach your garden if it is more than 5 feet wide. In addition, you should keep in mind that when 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 two or 3 feet wide, gives 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 them, and prune them and fertilize them.
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
It is usually a better idea to use screws that is 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 changeless shape of your garden slightly so that it fits your needs better. Another advantage of using hinges when you are building a raised garden bed, 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 is going to drop 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 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 our 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 is Needed to Build a Raised Garden Bed?
Garden beds tend to be old 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 Box Is 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, cabbage is, 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.
Disadvantages to Using Raised Bed Gardens
One disadvantage to using a raised bed garden is that you are often working with a limited space. Plants that need a lot of space, are going to need to be tethered to trellises or vines, so that they grow straight up and not along the ground. If you do not know a lot about gardening, this can be tricky to do.
Another disadvantage of using raised garden beds is that there are some vegetables that won’t grow as well in raised beds. For instance, corn and potatoes tend to not do as well in raised beds. Corn does the best when there are rows and rows of it, and potatoes tend to compact the soil in the beds.
In addition, before you can use raised garden beds, you have to take the time to build them. If you want to start three or four garden boxes, it could easily be a $200 investment for lumber and soil that you wouldn’t have to make if you just planted a traditional garden. However, most garden boxes will last for 10 to 15 years. So you need to decide for yourself whether it is worth it, so that you can have an easier time gardening later on.