What are some reasons for gardening in raised beds?
Answer: Raised beds are simply a raised area of soil, higher than the soil of the ground below. Raised beds can be framed—usually with wood or stones, but hay bales and concrete blocks are also seen—or unframed (basically soil being piled higher above the ground, without a border or frame to contain it).
There are many advantages of a raised bed that make gardeners prefer them to planting directly in ground soil. Here are a few of the most common and important advantages of raised beds:
• Improved soil: There are many advantages to the soil within a raised bed compared to the soil in the ground. When using a raised bed you can control what soil is being used, enabling you to pick soils perfect for your plants; whereas when you plant directly in the ground, the natural soil may not help your plants thrive the way they could. Soil in raised beds also does not become as compressed or compacted as soil outside of the beds. You are able to have air, water and the roots of your plants move better within the soil, without being compressed by your feet or tools as you work. Raised soil also warms faster than ground-level soil and is usually better with drainage, allowing for quicker and better plant growth. Higher beds also help the gardener have better access to the plants.
• Higher yield: With raised beds, you do not have to space your seeds as far apart from each other like you would when planting directly in the ground. This is due to the fact that you do not have to create space to get around the plants for harvest or cultivation, thus allowing you to have a bigger harvest in less space. In addition to less space for higher yield, your harvests will also be improved due to the fact that the soil is better within a raised bed.
• Good weed/pest control: With a contained or framed raised bed you can add wire or hardware cloth to the bottom of your bed to keep out burrowing pests. For weed control, you can also lay down weed barriers and use soil that is free of weed seeds.
• Lower maintenance: With weed/pest control, easy accessibility and ease of working within the beds, raised beds also are low-maintenance garden options for gardeners. They are also great choices for areas lacking in a lot of space.
Working with a raised bed or within the ground will depend on the comfort and desires of the gardener. Whichever method you chose, you can create gorgeous gardens full of lush, breath-taking plants sure to leave your neighbors in awe.
Learn how to prepare your landscape and design a new bed by downloading the Smart Gardening Guide Step by Step: Preparing a New Bed.
Choose the right plants for the right spots in your garden with help from Garden How-To University: Proper Plant Selection & Maintenance.
Raised beds are just one trick for small-space gardening that Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan teach their readers in Small-Plot, High-Yield Gardening.
Discover how to grow a great, thriving garden in the Garden How-To University: Growing a Garden.
Keep your hands clean and comfortable when digging around in your garden with a pair of “Digger” gloves.