Raised bed gardens are becoming more and more popular as a way to grow flowers and vegetables. There are many reasons for this, but as their popularity grows, so do the questions surrounding how a gardener can begin utilizing them in their yard.
Benefits of Raised Gardening
There are many benefits to raised bed gardening. Different types of raised beds create different benefits, but all have the following in common:
- Allow the gardener to control the soil and drainage
- Allow the gardener to control garden spaces
- Give greater access to the soil for better maintenance and nutrition
In addition, most raised beds give the gardener easier access (less stooping) to garden plants and allow for aesthetically pleasing arrangements and layouts.
Types of Raised Gardens
There are many types of raised bed gardens. The most common are below, along with a few words on their benefits and advantages as well as any disadvantages they may have over other options.
These are where the term comes from and are the most basic of raised gardens. These are boxes or raised clutches of soil meant for planting. Some are created using boards or other materials to create the sides and others are created with brick or masonry. Some are even just raised plateaus of dirt with hard footpaths around the parameter.
Raised beds allow for excellent soil drainage and gardener access. They also create bordered growing areas for the plants, making them easier to control. Finally, for the square foot gardener, these create obvious boxes of garden growth for maximizing yields.
A disadvantage of raised beds of nearly every type is the relatively shallow soil, making tubers and root vegetables harder to grow.
Elevated Raised Planters
Elevated Raised Planters are similar to raised beds, but are elevated higher to allow access with little or no stooping. Similar to tabletop raised beds (below), elevated raised planters are usually not quite as high and often have the entire planter filled with sand and/or soil. They are like giant pots for growing garden plants.
Tabletop Raised Beds
Tabletop Raised Beds the most common of waist-level raised bed options, these are literally garden beds on top of sturdy tables. They are often tiered to allow for varied plant growth and access as well as thinner and deeper soils for different types of plants. Many porch gardens are built as tabletop raised beds. The greatest benefit is gardener comfort, the downside being the relatively restricted space and size for the tabletop bed to be tenable.
Container Gardening is a form of raised bed gardening and probably the most common type, though most container gardeners do not consider their endeavors to be in a “raised bed.” Container gardens can literally be grown anywhere there is sunlight such as porches, patios, decks, back yards, driveways, or even rooftops. Their popularity comes from their versatility.
Vertical Gardening is another method of maximizing available space for gardening. As its name implies, it is the vertical growing of plants on an up-down rather than side-side plane. Vertical gardens often incorporate hanging plants or pouch containers hung on walls, doors, rails, or other supports. They are common for urban gardening as well as small space gardening such as on porches or patios.
Want to learn more about creating a raised garden?
Don’t miss these resources:
Raised Bed Gardens from the University of Minnesota Extension
Raised Garden Beds from the American Indian Health and Diet Project
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