Raised garden beds are an attractive and useful addition to a garden and give many practical advantages for all gardeners. However, as with any permanent garden feature, it’s worth considering a few key points when deciding whether or not raised beds are for you. Many gardeners raised beds for their ease and effectiveness. In raised beds, which are essentially large planter boxes, you are able to concentrate your energy in a small area, meaning you can work, water, weed, and fertilize as economically as possible. Although after installing it may be difficult to remove them. So before installing raised bed make sure that they are what you need, that they fit into your garden location, and that the beds are in the right position for the plants you want to grow. Additionally, raised beds . . .
• Prevent soil compaction (you are not stepping in the beds)
• Produce a higher yield for the area due to better drainage and deep rooting
• Keep a barrier between your crops and pests, such as slugs and snails, as well as weeds
• Avoid garden soil from washing away with heavy rains
• Allow for a longer growing season, since you can work the soil more quickly in the spring in frost-hardened regions where the ground takes longer to thaw
Raised garden beds are fairly easy to construct. Here are instructions on how to build a raised garden bed for your garden:
Common pressure-treated lumber that’s sold today has been treated with chemicals to prevent moisture from rotting it. If you have reservations about using it, there are different eco-friendly options, such as cedar, which contains natural oils that prevent rotting. (It’s more expensive but will last for years.) Also, choosing thicker boards can help to make the wood hold up longer. As an example, a 2-inch-thick locally sourced larch tree should last 10 years, even without treatment. You can also use concrete blocks or bricks, but bear in mind they will increase the soil pH over time.
How to Build a Raised Bed
• 3 boards, 2×12 inches, 8 feet long
• 1 board, 2 x4 inches, 8 feet long
• 28 galvanized deck screws, 2 ½ inches
- Cut one of the 2×12-inch boards in half to make two 4-foot lengths; These will be the two end pieces.
- Cut the 2×4 inch board into one 4-foot length (for the center brace which will prevent the sides from bowing outward when the bed is filled with soil) and four 1-foot lengths (for the corner supports). The two uncut boards will suit the sides of the raised bed.
- Combine one of the sideboards to an end board with three evenly spaced screws.
- Place corner support in the right angle formed by the boards and attach it to the sideboard with three screws. Repeat until all four sides are attached.
- Position the center brace at a right angle to the sideboards at their midpoints and attach them.
Soil for Raised Beds
Fill the beds with a mix of 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 other organic material, such as manure, to give your plants a nutrient-rich environment. Be alert that the soil in a raised bed will dry out more quickly. During the spring and fall, that’s okay, but during the summer water more often and add a straw mulch, or hay on top of the soil to keep moisture from evaporating.
Plants for Raised Beds
Almost any kind of vegetable can be grown in a raised bed. Vegetables are most common, but fruit and flowers are other alternatives. Think about the growing habits of your crops and plant them where they will have room to grow and optimal sunlight. Some plants, such as cucumbers and summer squash, will hang over the edge where they might get trampled, so consider planting them toward the middle of the bed.
The following articles will help you with more details about Gardening.