Raised bed gardening is just what its name implies, plants growing in beds of contained soil, raised above ground level. Besides having an attractive garden with straight, weed-free boxed rows, raised bed gardens save time and money, provide ease of access to garden plants, and promote healthier plant growth.
How to Build Raised Beds for Your Garden
Although raised beds can be of any length, width, and height, your garden area will determine the sizes needed for construction of your raised beds. Untreated cedar is the best type of wood to use for raised beds, as it is strong and more rot-resistant than most other types of wood. Average depth of raised beds is 12 inches and an average size is four feet by eight or ten feet.
To begin, measure an area four feet by eight feet where you want your raised bed to be located. Leave about a two-foot walkway between each raised bed. In each corner place one 15 inch long four by four corner wood brace in the ground four inches deep (NOTE: If not wanting to place the wood braces in the ground, than use four by fours that are 11 inches long.). You can also place one in the middle of each eight-foot side to act as a middle brace. You can use nails to nail the eight-foot long, two-inch by six-inch cedar boards to the outside of the wood braces or for lasting dependability use wood screws (NOTE: You can mark and pre-drill the holes if using screws.). The two eight-foot cedar boards are positioned on top of each other to create a depth of 12 inches.
Your raised beds are now ready to be filled with rich organic soil.
Know what to plant in your raised bed garden? This post will walk you through some top vegetables for gardening.
How to Save Time and Money Using Raised Beds
Although you will have an initial cost of making your raised beds, the long-term cost is minimal. The ground will not need to be plowed or tilled, eliminating the need to either buy or rent a tractor and/or tiller, thus there is a cost and time savings. If you are unfortunate enough to have poor soil, instead of having to have the soil tested and having to add the proper soil amendments to build up your garden soil, you can add rich organic soil to your raised beds.
How Raised Beds Provide Easy Access and Less Work
Plants in raised beds are higher than ground level, which will help to reduce knee problems and back strain from not having to bend over as far. Most work is done using hand tools, allowing the gardener sit alongside the beds on an overturned bucket or garden caddy. Raised beds can be made strong enough to incorporate a small sitting board all along the top, providing even more ease of comfort.
How Raised Beds Produce Healthier Plants
Raised beds help keep weeds and tunneling insects down allowing for healthier plants. Weed growth is at a minimum, which allows the plants more room to grow and less chance for diseases to occur. Raised beds can easily be made into mini green houses, providing the gardener an early start on their planting as well as extending the growing season.
Raised beds can be built using a number of different materials, such as decorative paving stones, and more recently, plastic timbers. They can be used to display beautiful flowers, scrubs, or trees. Elevated beds (raised beds that are built at different heights to accommodate the individual), are an excellent choice for those who are bound to a wheelchair or for the elderly.