Raised beds are fantastic for growing veggies rather than churning up a large area of your garden.
They not only offer benefits to your plants, but they also provide benefits for your enjoyment of gardening and your family.
What are Raised Beds?
A raised bed is basically a simple box frame with a depth of over 12 inches which is the recommended depth for a good root system of your vegetables.
Length and width sizes are generally 6 feet long and no more than 4 feet wide. These though can be built higher if any individual needs wheelchair access. This is one of the beauties of a raised bed; you can adapt it as you need.
Building Raised Beds
It is possible to purchase raised beds, but most of the fun, not to mention the cost savings, is building raised garden beds. They are super simple to make, and you will feel more satisfied when you start harvesting a bumper crop of vegetables.
Materials you will need for a basic raised bed garden design are as follows:
• 4 x 2 inch by 4 feet cedar boards
• 4 x 2 inch by 6 feet cedar boards
• 4 x 4-inch square posts should be around 10 inches longer than the height of your bed.
• Rebar for side supports is ideal.
• Wood screws for fastening at the corners.
Simple construction instructions are.
• Select a level area (even a concrete patio can be used)
• Fasten your boards together to form a 6 x 4 rectangle and knock in your corner posts, and using screws to fasten at the corners
• Place rebar or further 4 x 4 posts along the longest length for support
• Place mesh in the bottom of the bed if your garden suffers from burrowing pests (moles)
• Fill with good quality potting soil
As you will see, how to make a raised garden bed is super simple. As was mentioned before, the best soil for a vegetable garden in a raised bed is potting soil.
This is because there should be no problem with your pH levels. The addition of perlite can be included to aid irrigation and the introduction of oxygen to the roots.
Raised Bed Placement
The length of your raised bed should be south-facing if possible. This gives the most sun to your plants throughout the day. In the case of a patio, this might not be possible.
However, you can grow vegetables in partially shaded areas, and these can be found in any good garden planting guide or from your local garden center.
Advantages of Raised Beds
There are many advantages, and they can range all the way up to something as simple as older gardeners not being able to bend.
With a height of 12 inches, they can sit and reach from both sides of the raised bed to carry out any weeding (which will be less) or harvesting of veggies.
You can also extend the growing season with a raised bed because the gardening soil warms quicker in the morning than in a flat garden.
This means you can plant earlier when there is still a light frost, and your plants won’t suffer. (Read Backyard Privacy Ideas)
Watering is also better controlled, and your plants won’t stand in waterlogged areas if your garden has clay-rich earth. All you need to be wary of is never to stand on your raised bed, not compact the soil.
Raised garden ideas can be used all through your garden rather than just for your veggies. You can even have them constructed from natural stone or concrete (budget allowing) as long as you make sure there are irrigation holes.
Raised Bed Tips
Pathways need to be left, which are 2 feet as a minimum. A raised bed vegetable garden layout should leave access for a wheelbarrow and for you to reach into your bed.
Pathways can be mulched to stop weed growth; however, pushing a barrow or anyone who does use a wheelchair would struggle.
Compost or mulch is a worthy addition to the topsoil. This helps stop the upper soil from drying out and provides your plants with lots of nutrients that are never a bad thing. (Read Best Mulches For Gardens)
Irrigation can be done in many ways, depending on how technical you wish to go. But due to the size of the beds, it is simple enough to use hand watering or a soaker hose.
One of the best advantages you can see with raised beds compared to a regular garden is the size of your crops.
You can gain more using a raised bed than in the equivalent size of regular earth, even with you doing just the gardening basics.