For those of you used to planting a garden using rows, the concept of raised bed gardening may be a new one, but it definitely is one that is worth taking a look at.
Raised beds can be any length, but it is best to keep them between three and five feet wide so that you can reach to the center of the bed when working from either side. The idea is to avoid walking on the soil in the raised beds so that you do not compact it.
Raised beds are ideal for gardeners who have very limited space. They are especially convenient for older or disabled people and anyone who suffers from health issues such as arthritis and joint problems.
The raised bed concept is anything but new. It was used centuries ago, but became less popular as the country was industrialized and things like tillers became readily available.
What is the advantage of raised beds?
They can improve production and save time, space and money, as well as add a touch of beauty to the yard. You save time because you only work the soil within the beds. You do not have to till all the space between the rows and you don’t have to weed the paths, which can be mowed or mulched. Because the vegetables are planted closer together, less weeding of the garden bed is needed.
Money is saved because raised bed gardeners use less fertilizer because they don’t have to add costly nutrients to any area other than the raised bed.
Crops tend to grow better in the deep, loose soil of a raised bed because it is not continually run over by you or machinery. Gardeners using the raised bed method can expect to harvest at least twice as much produce from the same number of plants.
Control Over Soil
One of the big advantages to raised bed gardening is that you have control over the soil. Even if you start with dirt that is less than desirable, you can add lots of compost that will vastly help to improve soil conditions. Loose, fertile soil tends to drain well too.
Here are a few raised bed gardening tips:
1. The same rule for sunlight applies to raised garden beds. Make sure you locate the garden in an area that gets as much direct sunlight as possible.
2. It helps if there is a water source close to the garden.
3. Raised beds offer gardeners the opportunity to apply square foot gardening techniques. Instead of planting in rows, ones lays the garden beds out in one-foot square plots. As the plants mature, they spread and shade the ground, making it harder for weeds to grow. Square foot gardening also allows you to get a higher yield from less growing space.
Looking for more information? Here are some helpful resources when it comes to raised bed gardening:
Check out this website if you want to know more about square foot gardening?
Here’s a handout on raised bed vegetable gardening offering a lot of helpful information.
Compost is a must have for raised beds. Check out this link for more information oncompost.