Raised beds make gardening easier and more efficient. This is because some types of soil are not great for gardening. Either the soil has too much clay, or sand, or it has poor drainage. With a raised bed garden you can control what soil goes into your raised bed. And you can control how it gets drained easier than in a traditional garden.
To get the best soil for gardening, create your own compost if you have the land to make it. You do it by saving old coffee grinds, vegetables, newspapers, grass clippings, and unused mulch. Let it sit on a pile over the winter and ferment for the next Spring. Here are the top reasons raised beds are great for gardening:
- You can build them in your own desired location
- Raised beds are easier to weed and manage if you have a bad back, joints, or injuries
- Raised beds manage poor soil gardens by putting in your own home made soil
- You can put more plants into a raised bed than a garden row without affecting the yield
- You can design the proper drainage with a raised bed for your soil
- You can keep the vegetables above your pets urination with a raised bed
- You can keep your plant roots away from contaminated soil with a raised bed
- Raised beds look pretty in your yard
- The soil warms up earlier with a raised bed so you can plant earlier and extend the life of your garden
- Raised beds can be easier to deal with pest control
Raised Beds Kit Advice
Raised beds kits are available to purchase in different sizes. Some of the most popular sizes are 4′ X 4′ and 4′ X 8′. The better kits offer western red cedar as the material of choice because it’s the most resistant to elements and rotting.
There are also kits made of metal or composite materials.
Pressure treated materials are absolutely NOT recommended. These products contain toxins that can be released into the soil which will not get you an organic garden. Another more permanent method is to build raised beds from stone, sometimes tying it into an established landscape design.
Prepared garden soil can be purchased by the bag or in bulk at most garden centers, but consider creating your own organic soil (see my post on creating garden soil by clicking on soil.) Clean straw placed on the top is ideal, discouraging unwanted weed growth, and helping to retain necessary moisture in the soil on the hottest days.
There are some cons to raised bed gardening
One disadvantage of gardening in a raised bed is raised beds are more expensive to build than just digging your garden in your yard. Another con for growing in a raised bed is that you will have more evaporation so you will need to water more frequently than in a traditional garden row.
But, one of the most important advantages of raised beds worth mentioning is pest control.
Raised beds and pest control
Raised beds can be easier to keep unwanted animals and pests out of your vegetable garden simply because they are elevated. As a farmer tired of fighting the deer, squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs, and other critters from eating my garden, I designed what I call The Garden Commander to prevent unwanted animals from eating my garden. You just place the garden cage over your row in your raised bed. it is designed to fix into most traditionally sized raised beds. Each cage section is 4’X24’X26′.
I spent years fighting the wildlife, and now I don’t have to. To learn how my cage system works in raised beds or expands out to traditional rows, please read my FAQ.