Raised beds are very versatile and easy to use. A raised bed allows you to easily control your soil mixture so that you can always have the proper soil for your plants. As you customize the soil mixtures in your raised beds, you can improve soil drainage and soil compaction, this being the most important advantage. This is very important, especially with the high alkaline, clay soil that we deal with here in our area.
Plant roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can’t avoid stepping in the garden bed occasionally when doing your gardening. A properly designed raised bed garden will allow you to do your gardening from the side of the raised bed or from the garden path. Raised beds tend to drain away moisture better than ordinary garden beds. This is another advantage that helps the plant roots to breathe.
A raised bed allows you to plant earlier because the soil temperature warms up quickly as the soil is above ground level. Water, fertilizer, compost, and mulch can be applied more carefully because they only need to be applied to the garden bed. Many studies have shown that raised garden beds produce 1 to 2 times more vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds. You can have a smaller and more manageable garden that produces more yields for your table.
Garden maintenance is also easy with raised beds. You can quickly and easily remove weeds and control pests in your raised beds. If burrowing rodents are a problem you can line the bottom of the bed with poultry wire or hardware cloth, both available at Zamzows.
If you choose to frame your garden with wood make sure not to use pressure treated wood. This has been known to leech chemicals into the soil. Although untreated wood will not last as long, it is a safer alternative. Another alternative is to use recycled plastic/wood composite lumber.
Easy to Start
There are several ready-made kits available that let you quickly and easily set up a raised bed garden. We offer a recycled plastic kit that is 6” H x 4W x 6L and is easily stackable at Zamzows that will allow you have a raised bed in very little time. You can make your bed any length that you want, but it should not be more than 4’ wide so you can reach it comfortably from either side. It can be as high as you want it but keep in mind that the higher you make it, the more support you will need to build. Even a 6” raised bed will give you significant benefits.
Many gardeners prefer to use 2 x 12’s or 2 x 6’s stacked, and 4×4’s for corner posts. You should go into the ground about 6 inches for stability and it helps keep the beds level.