Spring is here and it’s the perfect season for planting a garden! If you’re looking to get a head start on your garden, consider making raised beds. A raised bed garden is simply a planting bed that is raised above the ground. This can be done by using simple materials like lumber, bricks, or stones. It’s a great way to grow your own veggies, herbs, and flowers. Read on to know more about raised bed gardening.
Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening
Why raised beds, you ask? Well, raised garden beds offer a number of advantages over traditional in-ground gardening.
1. For one, raised garden beds are much easier on your back and knees! If you have trouble bending down or kneeling for long periods of time, raised garden beds make it possible to enjoy gardening without pain.
2. Raised garden beds are also great for people with limited mobility. You can easily access every corner of your raised bed, no matter how large it is. This makes raised beds a great choice for older people and anyone who wants to garden but has trouble getting around.
3. Another big benefit of raised beds is efficiency. You don’t waste too much of your time, energy, and money on keeping the pests away. When your plants are raised up off the ground, they’re less likely to be affected by weeds, critters, and diseases. And since the plants are not on the ground, they’re protected from foot traffic. That negates the chances of the plants getting trampled and damaged, which would be such a waste of all your efforts.
4. Perhaps one of the most common reasons why many are into raised garden beds is because they have limited space on their property. Raised garden beds are perfect for backyard gardening since you can make the most of your space. You can make a raised garden bed with legs and retain an open space underneath, which you can utilize for other things. You can place potted plants or store your garden tools and supplies below.
5. Raised garden beds also allow you to grow a wider variety of plants. You can fit more plants in a raised bed than you could in an in-ground garden, and you can also create raised beds in any shape or size you want.
6. You can start preparing your spring garden earlier than usual if you have raised beds. The soil in raised beds warms up faster in the spring, so you can plant your seeds and transplants earlier than you could if they were in the ground.
7. Raised beds are great for the environment! By growing your vegetables in raised beds, you’ll help conserve water and reduce the amount of soil erosion.
8. For people who love to create things with their hands, raised beds offer a great opportunity to get creative. You can build raised beds out of almost any material, from wood to stone to metal. And you can make them as simple or as elaborate as you like.
9. Last but not least, raised garden beds look great! They are simply more attractive than traditional gardens. Raised beds add a touch of elegance to any garden, yard, or patio. And they really enhance your curb appeal.
How to Build Your Raised Beds from Scratch
Now that you know all the benefits of raised beds, it’s time to learn how to build one! The best part is that raised beds can be made from any materials you have on hand.
What You Need to Build Raised Beds
Start off by gathering everything you’ll need for your DIY project. You’ll need:
– Cedarwood or other rot-resistant materials
– Saw (if you’re using wood)
– Hammer and nails or drill and screws
– Tape measure
– Landscape fabric or cloth fabric
– Plastic sheet (optional)
– Shovel, hoe, and rake
– Hand trowel
– Garden gloves
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
1. Start by planning the layout or design for your raised garden. Take into account the area that gets the most sun during the day. You want your edible garden to get at least six hours of sun each day. If you have trees on your property, you may need to do some pruning to give your plants a better chance of growing.
You also want a level spot in your yard for your raised bed. You may have to dig and clean up the area to make it as flat as possible so be ready with your shovel, hoe, and rake.
Don’t forget to consider the pathways when you’re planning your raised bed garden layout. You’ll need properly designed pathways to easily go around your raised beds. Also, decide on the size of the raised beds. If it’s too large, you may have a hard time reaching some of the plants.
2. Make sure there is a water source nearby. You don’t want to have to carry water all the way over to your garden. You can use a garden hose but make sure it can reach all parts of your raised bed. It can also be a hassle to coil and uncoil your garden hose every day. The best option is to have a water spigot installed near your garden.
3. Once you have your layout planned, it’s time to start building your raised bed! If you’re using wood, cedarwood is a great choice because it’s naturally resistant to rot and insects. Make sure that the wood you’re using is not treated with any chemicals that could harm your plants.
Cut the boards to the desired length and width then assemble and secure the frame using nails or screws. Make sure the corners are level so your raised bed doesn’t wobble.
4. Once you’re done with the frames, arrange them on the ground according to your layout. You can cut and assemble each one right on the spot where they’ll be placed so you don’t have to worry about carrying or dragging them.
Don’t worry about the sawdust, too. They can actually help your garden by keeping the soil moist while preventing weeds. Don’t forget to add some nitrogen components to your garden, though. Sawdust tends to rob the soil of nitrogen. If you don’t want to take this risk, just don’t do the sawing on the spot where you’ll set up your garden.
5. For wooden raised beds, add a plastic lining to the interior walls. This is necessary to protect the wood from rotting easily. You can also place a porous lining on the floor of your raised bed. This one will keep toxins away from the soil.
6. Now it’s time to add the soil. You can use any type of soil, but gardeners recommend using topsoil or a mix of compost and topsoil. Be sure to leave about 2-3 inches from the top for mulch.
7. Once you’ve added the soil, it’s time to add your plants! Start with the larger plants then fill in the gaps with smaller ones.
8. That’s it! Now you know how to build a raised garden bed and you’re ready to start planting your spring garden!
Raised Bed Gardening Tips
There are a few things to keep in mind when building your raised bed:
1. The raised bed should be at least 12 inches high, but no more than 18 inches high. Anything higher and you’ll have a harder time planting and maintaining your garden. Some plants can still thrive in a raised bed around 6 inches high since most feeder roots are in that vicinity but if you can go higher than 6 inches, that’d be a lot better.
2. The raised bed should be at least 4 feet wide so that you can reach the middle of the bed from both sides. This is especially important if you have a larger garden.
3. Aside from wood, you can use bricks, concrete blocks, galvanized steel, old tires, and recycled plastic like empty soda bottles as materials for building raised beds. The most important thing is to make sure that the materials you use aren’t toxic and won’t leach chemicals into your soil.
4. You can make cheap raised garden beds using recycled or reused materials. If you’re not too handy, though, you can purchase pre-made raised bed garden kits and make things easier for you.
5. If you use rot-resistant wood, you can line the inside of the raised bed’s wall with a heavy-duty plastic sheet to prevent the soil from coming into contact with the wood. This will prolong the life of your raised bed.
6. It’s way better if you don’t use any kind of chemical in your garden. But just in case, you can line your raised garden beds with a cloth or landscape fabric to keep toxins from leaching into the soil.
7. If you’re planning on a raised vegetable garden, make sure to use a soil mix that’s designed for vegetables. These mixes usually have a higher proportion of organic matter and nutrients than regular garden soil.
8. The raised bed should have a bottom so that excess water can drain out. This will prevent your plants from sitting in water and eventually dying.
9. It’s a good idea to add a layer of mulch to your raised bed. This will help to keep the soil moist and will also prevent weeds from taking over.
10. When you’re planting your raised bed, be sure to space your plants out according to their needs. Some plants need more room than others, so it’s important to consult a planting guide before you get started.
11. Don’t forget to water your raised bed regularly, especially during hot weather. Raised beds tend to dry out quickly, so you may need to water them every day during the summer.
If you’re raring to get busy this spring with some DIY projects, why not include raised garden beds in your list. There’s no time like the present to start getting your raised beds ready for your spring garden! Discover more useful gardening tips over at Gentleman Pirate Club.