Raised beds are a wonderful choice in virtually any garden environment, especially if you don’t have much space. Raised beds are frequently more productive than ground beds because they have less compacted soil, better drainage, and soil that heats up earlier in the spring, allowing plants to start growing earlier in the season. Furthermore, raised beds are generally easier to handle, especially for persons with limited mobility, and have fewer perennial weeds. The two main disadvantages are their high initial construction costs and the necessity for more frequent irrigation. Despite these limitations, raised beds can be a fantastic alternative for almost anybody interested in vegetable gardening.
There are no fixed guidelines for building raised vegetable garden beds. While some gardeners choose to create their kits, the majority are willing to buy them from suppliers of gardening supplies. Numerous designs can be found in books and online, some of which are superior to others. Raised beds should ideally be no wider than four feet to allow for easy access to the centre of the bed without standing on the soil. After all, less soil compaction and improved soil structure are two of the key advantages of raised beds. The beds can be any form and length as long as the width is suitable.
Raised beds must also be tall enough to permit enough soil for plant roots. Make beds at least six inches tall. Many vegetable crops thrive when their root systems are supported by at least a foot of soil. When it comes to the building materials for your raised beds, you have a lot of choices. If you decide to build with wood, go with untreated, rot-resistant lumber like cedar, oak, or locust because treated wood has been linked to the release of heavy metals into the soil, which could be absorbed by plants. The beds can always be lined with thick plastic to create a barrier between the soil and wood if you happen to have treated lumber on hand. As additional materials for raised beds, you should think about using bricks, boulders, cinder blocks, and plastic decking. You can use any building material as long as it can hold soil and doesn’t contain any harmful materials.
Although most veggies grow well with soilless potting mix, the cost of filling a whole raised bed with it is frequently prohibitively expensive. Instead, most gardeners fill their raised beds with a mix of good garden soil and compost. Some mulch yards sell topsoil and compost blends, or you can use your soil and mix in compost. In either case, you should aim for no more than 50% organic stuff. Compost should make up about 10-20% of the total soil volume. And like with traditional gardening, it’s always a good idea to have the soil tested to ensure the right amendments are added.
Raised beds, like any other vegetable garden, should be placed in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. In terms of upkeep, it’s also a good idea to put the beds near the house, or at least near a water source, to make irrigation easier. If you wish to build more than one raised bed, make sure the path between them is wide enough for easy transit, harvesting, and upkeep.