Why use raised garden beds? Are raised beds an essential part of the garden? What are the benefits of using raised garden beds anyway? If you are new to gardening, then you probably came across such a product and is beset with questions about its purpose and practicality. After all, raised garden beds aren’t cheap! If you want to know the important facts about raised garden beds, this guide is for you.
Also known as garden boxes, raised garden beds are used for growing small plots of vegetable or flowering plants. Since the plants are set in a confined space, weeds do not spread as quickly. This makes weeding a less taxing chore. The raised beds create a physical barrier against pests. They also work to prevent soil compaction and improve the soil's structure.
The 6 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
Why use raised garden beds, you ask? Garden beds serve many purposes. These products make life infinitely easier for avid gardeners, particularly those who grow their own food in their backyard.
Healthier, More Resilient Plants
Contrary to popular notion, raised beds are not the same as standard planters. Planters have bottoms that prevent the soil from draining away. The bottoms act as barriers that keep plant roots from spreading further into the ground. Planters need some type of permeable cloth or are often layered with gravel to ensure proper drainage.
Raised garden beds, on the other hand, do not have bottoms. These products are set openly to the ground, allowing plants to spread their roots further into the soil. Since the plant roots can go further into the ground without competing with pathway weeds, the soil nutrients are absorbed much more efficiently. This is the reason why plants set in raised garden beds are healthier and more resilient to the elements.
Retain or Improve Soil Quality
The soil’s structure affects the health of the plants. Soil erosion, especially during heavy downpours, could expose plant roots and wash away nutrients that plants need to grow. In addition, poor soil conditions could lead to nutrient deficiencies, stunted growth, fewer yields, and reduced blooms. Using raised garden beds protect the soil from erosion.
If you want to plant your vegetables early in the season because the soil temperature is perfect, raised garden beds will boost the survival of your crops. Since the soil is resistant to erosion, you have better control over the quality of the soil. You can enrich your plot with organic fertilizer and make amendments as you see fit without worrying about heavy rains. You can turn the soil and prevent compaction during the cooler months. The soil is always well drained because it sits higher than ground level. Raised beds help aerate the soil, extend the growing season, and provide relief from root run from trees.
More Space for Growing Plants
Not all gardeners are blessed with a massive outdoor space for a garden. If space is an issue, you can maximize what little room you have in the garden with raised garden beds. Using raised garden beds, you can set your plants in neat sections. This allows you to make room for more plants and enjoy an impressive yield despite the limited space. If you love variety, you can combine different crops in a single raised garden bed. You can also use the sides of the garden boxes to grow more plants!
Although gardening is a relaxing hobby, some activities are quite taxing because they are hard on the back. Bending down to maintain your garden plot, removing unwanted garden debris, daily weeding, these are just a few of the many chores that come with gardening. Thankfully, using raised garden beds could ease some of the strains of gardening. Since the plants are planted in a confined space, removing garden debris and weeding becomes much easier.
Raising the plants above the ground is also better for gardeners with limited mobility. Depending on the quality of the raised beds, you can also sit on the edge of the garden boxes to clear the plots, which reduces back strain.
Raised beds give you better control over the soil quality. The beds help divide a large yard into manageable areas for you to work on. You can enrich the soil with ease and support more plants. Because the plants are grown closer to the ground without the leaves touching the soil, the plants are able to absorb all the nutrients from the soil effectively while also preventing rot from setting in.
Effective Pest and Infestation Deterrent
Raised garden beds provide an elevated plot for plants, something that will be useful when repelling pests. Because the plants are raised several inches from the ground, burrowing pests will have a hard time penetrating the barrier.
Garden pests tend to spread easily if the plants are much closer to the ground. Planting your vegetables in raised garden beds and attaching solid frames to surround the beds is an effective strategy to deter pests. You can also use raised garden beds in conjunction with plastic liners to protect your plants from burrowing parasites. Wire netting could also keep small rodents from feasting on your vegetable garden. The added height keeps pets and kids from trampling the plants.
Spotting infestation and removing pests are also much easier when the plants are set in raised garden beds. All you have to do is to walk in between the beds and inspect the plants regularly to prevent an infestation. With raised garden beds, you can spot infestation much easier, allowing you to contain the problem before it worsens.
Who Needs Raised Garden Beds?
Most gardeners do not regard raised beds as an essential part of gardening but there are some who needs these products. Since raised garden beds aren’t exactly cheap, you have to make good use of the raised beds to justify the cost. You should get raised garden beds if:
The Soil is not Suitable for Planting
Raised garden beds are a godsend for gardens with poor soil structure. If your soil structure is stony, compacted, contaminated, or prone to erosion, you will benefit from using raised garden beds. Raised garden beds can be set directly on compacted surfaces, allowing you to use better soil for the plants. If your soil drains poorly, you can use raised garden beds to promote proper drainage. You can also improve the quality of the soil by filling your raised garden beds with a mix of potting soil and organic compost.
Give Seedlings an Early Start
The soil temperature is a critical part of growing healthy seedlings. If you are planning on planting early in the season, raised beds will come in handy. Raised beds give seedlings an early start. The beds provide enough protection from the changing weather, keeping the seedlings’ fragile root systems nice and warm early in the season.
You need to raise the Height of your Garden
Gardening is hard on the back and if you are dealing with back issues then you need to raise the height of your garden. With raised garden beds, you don’t have to bend down all the time to complete your gardening tasks, which puts less strain on your back. Raised beds will benefit any gardener with limited mobility. In some cases, the garden has to be raised to protect the plants from pets. Raising the garden is also beneficial for delicate plants that are set in high traffic areas like pathways and walkways.
Amending the Existing Soil
Different types of plants thrive in different soil pH. Vegetables prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5. A pH of 6.5 is best for most home gardens. Some crops, like blueberries and tomatoes, love acidic soil while broccoli and asparagus prefer slightly sweeter soil.
Whatever your plants’ pH needs are, amending the soil is much easier when the soil is contained in a raised garden. Amending the ground to bring the pH level up or down has to be done several times but your hard work might go to waste once the rains come. By using raised beds, you can amend the soil without fear of your hard work being washed away by rainwater. In addition, you can fill raised beds with different types of soil to grow a variety of plants.
Factors to Consider When Setting the Raised Beds
Say you finally took the plunge and bought several raised beds for your garden, how do you set these up properly? What factors should you consider when preparing the raised beds for the garden? Consider these gardening tips:
Getting the Right Size
Raised beds come in different sizes, some are three to four feet wide, others measure six to eight feet long. The height of the raised beds will vary too. When shopping around for raised beds, always consider the size of your garden; make sure you get the right fit. The raised bed should be deep enough for plants to root and not too shallow that the roots are in contact with the compacted soil. We recommend raised beds that are about 10 to 12 inches deep for home gardens.
Picking the Perfect Spot
The best spot for the raised garden beds will depend on the plants that you want to grow. You can set the raised beds in a sunny spot, on the front yard, near the driveway, or in the backyard. Again, just make sure your garden has enough space to accommodate the length of the raised beds. For sloped areas or uneven ground, you might have to make slight modifications to set the raised beds properly.
If you are planning to set the raised beds on a grassy spot, you have to remove the weeds first. The easiest way to do this is to outline the space you need and then cover this spot with a layer of cardboard. Then, cover the cardboard layer with potting soil. Since the sunlight is blocked, the weeds die. The cardboard material will break down as well, allowing plants to grow deeper roots.
Should you install irrigation? This depends on you but if you want to, you can set up a drip irrigation system in raised beds. Just make sure to set up the system before the raised beds are filled with soil.
Using the Best Soil Type
What kind of soil should you use to fill the raised garden beds? Use the best soil quality that you can afford. We recommend top dressing triple mix soil with organic compost for best results. To know how much soil you’ll need to fill a single raised bed, you can use soil calculators like this one.
Raised beds could shift over time and to prevent this, you can install stakes to set the raised beds in place. Ideally, you want to install thick stakes that are more than a foot deep so the raised beds will not move. Here is a great step by step guide on how to install stakes on raised beds.
Should You Build a Raised Bed or Get a Store-Bought Raised Bed?
This is a matter of personal preference but if you are quite the handyman and you have a lot of unused wooden planks gathering dust in your shed, go ahead and make the raised beds yourself to save more money. On the other hand, if you want to make your life easier, you can simply buy a raised bed. The beauty of store-bought raised beds is that the assembly is a cinch. This is a great option if you have a million other things to take care of and you have zero time to make your own raised beds.
We offer a great range of high-quality raised beds in case you’re in the mood to shop! Our raised beds are made from premium yet eco-friendly materials. Stocks are limited so shop while these beautiful raised beds are still available.
Why use raised garden beds? For some gardeners, they can live without raised beds but for others, raised beds are an essential part of their garden. If your garden soil is not the best or if your plants have to be raised for whatever reason, raised garden beds will make your gardening activities infinitely better. Using a raised bed is also one way to ensure that your crops have the best chances of survival.