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The main idea about having a raised bed is to grow plants in higher soil than the ground. These are usually elevated boxes with a frame made up of wood, bricks, or bales of hay. Raised gardens can offer numerous benefits.
Besides giving your garden an aesthetic look, raised beds can also offer better control over soil quality, better soil drainage, extended growing season, protection against critters, and easy soil maintenance. So, raised beds can be necessary, especially for an edible garden.
However, if you are cynical about the whole idea and raised beds seem to an unnecessary investment, here are a few things that you should know about gardening with raised beds and the benefits it has to offer.
Why Do Some Gardeners Use Raised Vegetable Gardens?
There are quite a few reasons that encourage gardeners to use raised beds. While some gardeners would like the fact that raised beds offer a much more organized, neat, and aesthetic look to their garden, some might see it as an easier way to tend to their plants.
People dealing with back issues may find it difficult to bend over to tend to their plants. The raised beds can instantly solve the issue. Moreover, raised beds are much easily accessible for gardeners with physical limitations.
Other than this, many benefits raised beds to offer, like fewer weeds, better drainage, more growing space, and protection against inadvertent trampling, making it a much-preferred option for many.
Raised Vegetable Garden vs. Growing in The Ground
Both raised beds and in-ground gardening has their own pros and cons. While the latter works well for schools and community gardens, raised beds can make things a lot easier if you plan on an edible garden.
Here are a few perks of in-ground gardening that will help in better comparison.
It is more economical to grow plants on the ground rather than a raised vegetable garden
Build raised bed areas can be quite expensive. If you have rich, healthy, well-draining soil, there is no need to put in extra effort to build raised beds.
Other than this, you would not have to buy or import soil that would cost you even more. You can improve the soil quality with organic amendments.
Once the soil is properly tilled, mulched, and watered, you will be able to grow fresh and healthy plants. His will be a great option if you are on a budget or wish to save some extra money.
It may be time consuming to build a raised vegetable garden
Building raised beds are not only expensive but time-consuming as well. On the other hand, you can prepare your in-ground garden with a tractor or large roto-tiller and ensure that the area is well-drained.
The crops in an in-ground garden maybe not permanent as compared to those planted in a raised vegetable garden
You do not have to worry about being stuck with a particular crop or location with an in-ground garden. You can easily replace an in-ground garden with another crop or move it to another location based on your needs and preferences.
Fewer water requirements and easy irrigation can be done in an in-ground garden, unlike in a Raised vegetable garden.
As mentioned earlier, raised beds to dry up efficiently. However, this might turn out to be a disadvantage in the summer season when the soil dries up a lot faster than required.
However, in-ground beds do not dry out as quickly and thus require lesser water. Moreover, the irrigation system in-ground garden is quite simple as compared to raised beds.
Costs of Installing Raised Vegetable Garden Beds
The cost of raised beds would majorly depend on the kind of material and size you choose. Wooden garden beds are one of the most affordable options.
However, brick-raised beds are usually pricier. On average, a 4 x 4ft wooden garden bed would cost you around £150. But a brick raised bed may cost you around £200.
However, you can pick different sizes based on your requirements and garden area. You may also have to incur a minimal installation charge.
While you may install it yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional to give your garden a neat look and ensure that the job is done properly.
Which Wood is Best for Raised Vegetable Garden Beds?
Cedar is highly recommended for building a raised bed. This is because it is most resistant to rot. However, one should paint it every three to five years to ensure they remain in their best condition.
One can consider western red cedar, while Vermont white cedar, yellow cedar, and Juniper are also good options.
How Deep Should A Raised Vegetable Garden Bed Be?
Raised beds do have to be very deep. Anywhere between 12 to 18 inches of depth would be sufficient. However, the depth requirement for each plant may vary.
So, it is important to know the root depth of vegetable crops to build a raised bed with optimum depth and help the plants thrive.
Moreover, if you face drainage issues, the bed can be a little taller and filled with a porous growing medium to facilitate proper drainage.
Now we have answered how deep another question is should they have a bottom? I answer that in a totally different article as I was able to go into more depth. Check it out here.
What Benefits Do Raised Vegetable Garden Beds Provide?
There are Many benefits raised beds can offer you. This is why so many gardeners prefer this style of gardening. Here some of the perks of gardening with raised beds:
Raised Vegetable Garden Beds Prevents Plant Damage
One of the major benefits of raised beds is the protection it offers to plants against inadvertent trampling. This can be extremely useful if children frequently visit your garden area. This ensures that the soil does not get stomped and the plants do not get damaged.
Extended Growing Season is possible in a Raised Vegetable Garden
With raised beds, the soil warms up quickly and drains better in the spring. This ensures that the soil is prepared for planting. This offers a longer growing season along with better growing conditions.
Moreover, you do not have to amend the soil conditions for favorable conditions, as you can add healthy soil to the raised bed and get started.
There are Fewer Weeds in a Raised Vegetable Garden Bed
Raised beds are usually densely planted, which gives lesser space for weeds to grow. And even if they find some space, it is much easier for you to pull them out since the soil is loose and rich.
You can fill your Raised Vegetable Garden Bed with Good Soil Quality
You do not have to settle for what nature has to offer to you any longer. You can fill your bed with good quality soil with the right weight and texture required for growing beautiful and healthy plants of your choice.
Moreover, raised beds can be amended quite easily and thus offer you favorable conditions much without any hassle.
There is Easier Pest Control in a Raised Vegetable Garden Bed
It is much easier to manage insects and prevent animal pests in raised beds. This is because you can easily cover them with the help of row fabric and special covers.
A Raised Vegetable Garden bed makes Better Conservation of Resources possible
Since raised beds have concentrated gardening space, managing resources like water, fertilizer, mulch, and the soil becomes a lot easier and better. This also leads to limited waste material.
There is More Space to Grow plants in a Raised Vegetable Garden Bed
With the traditional form of gardening, you plant in rows that are well-spaced out. However, you can plant them a lot closer in a raised bed as you do not have any walking space in between.
You will be left with a lot more space that can be used for actual gardening by doing this method.
Raised Vegetable Garden Bed Prevents Soil Erosion
Since raised beds usually have a wooden or brick boundary, they can prevent runoff and erosion. This can help in conserving water and nutrients in the soil, which will ensure intensive crop production.
Which Vegetables Grow Best in Raised Vegetable Garden Beds?
While raised beds are great for almost all types of vegetables, but there are a few that would flourish even more in such a setting.
Tomatoes can be grown in a Raised Vegetable garden
Tomatoes need nutrient-dense soil to thrive, and with raised beds, you can easily achieve that by customizing your soil based on your needs. All you need is to add in extra compost, and you will be able to grow healthy and juicy tomatoes.
Raised Vegetable Garden beds allow Onions to thrive
Onions grow well in quick-draining soil; they also need sufficient organic matter and require an extended growing season. With raised beds, you can tick off all the right boxes and ensure bountiful harvests.
Potatoes grow well in a Raised Vegetable Garden
Potatoes are also a great choice for raised beds. They need loose and loamy soil that drains quickly to grow well. Moreover, potatoes also easier to harvest this way.
Root vegetables are typical plants in a Raised Vegetable Garden
Root vegetables are one of the common choices for raised beds. Veggies like beetroots, carrots, radishes, and parsnips grow really well in raised beds. This is because they require loose soil free of rocks and debris as it helps them spread out.
Raised Vegetable Garden fosters growth of Greens
Leafy greens also do really well in raised beds. If you are planning to grow lettuce, spinach, or kale, you will be able to see a lush garden soon. These types of veggies do not like soggy roots, and with raised beds, you can prevent that very easily.
Can You Grow Without Raised Vegetable Beds?
Yes, you can definitely grow vegetables without raised beds. There are just a few things that you need to ensure before you begin.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you have enough space that receives ample sunshine throughout the day. Usually, all vegetables and fruits, such as peppers, tomatoes, and melons, thrive in full sun to thrive and produce bountiful harvests.
However, if your garden area receives partial sunlight, you should consider growing lettuce or kale that do well even in less sunshine.
Next, you need to be sure that the soil is well-drained and rich in nutrients. You can carry out a soil test and add amendments based on the plants you plan to grow.
You can also some compost. This would improve the overall texture and add the right nutrients to ensure that your plants get a well-fed start.
When you are done planting, you should add a layer of mulch to help the soil retain moisture.
Once your in-ground vegetable garden is all set up, you need to take proper care of it. To ensure that the soil is nutrient-rich, you need to keep adding more compost.
Also, look out for pests, aphids, and hand-picking worms (tomato hornworms or cabbage worms). Just a stream of water will help remove them in a jiffy.
FAQ’s On Raised Vegetable Gardens
Conclusion on Raised Vegetable Gardens
So, the answer to whether raised beds are essential majorly depends on the conditions you are working with. It may depend on the time and money you can initially put into your garden and the crops you plan to grow in it.
Raised bed gardens can be convenient if there are mobility issues with the gardener. They lift the garden to waist height, making it better. If you want to know more about raised bed gardening, then this post will answer your question
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