Are you considring growing vegetables in raised garden beds? We look at the benefits of growing food in raised garden beds so you can get stared producing healthy tasty food.
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Benefits of Raised Garden Beds for Growing Vegetables
Growing vegetables in raised garden beds will in most situations produce better results compared to planting in the soil.
Your garden soil is a complex mix of nutrients, organic materials and minerals. If the pH level is not right, then your plants won’t receive the fertility they require.
For this reason, your natural soil may need to be amended until it is at the right fertility and texture for growing in.
For gardens with poor soil, a raised bed is a faster and more convenient option to get started growing food.
There are many benefits to growing vegetables in raised beds. From reduced weeding to better soil control, a raised garden bed helps you avoid some of the problems of growing in the ground.
What Can Be Grown In Raised Garden Beds?
Almost any type of plant can be grown in raised beds. Plats that require a specific PH balance or drainage requirements can thrive where the local soil conditions are not met.
Soft fruits are great foods for growing in raised beds. You can enjoy tasty fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, currants and blackberries grown in your raised garden bed.
Vegetables thrive in raised garden beds. You can easily grow almost any vegetable in a raised bed.
You can use a raised bed for growing Herbaceous Perennials as a garden to cultivate cut flowers.
Alpines make good use of raised beds, as they commonly require adequate drainage.
Small Trees And Shrubs
Small Trees And Shrubs can be grown in a raised bed if the bed is big enough to accommodate the root requirements.
Ericaceous Or Lime-hating Plants
Heathers, rhododendrons and other lime-hating plants can be grown in beds filled with acidic soil where the local soil is too alkaline.
Why Grow Vegetables In Raised Garden Beds
Growing vegetables in raised garden beds is a solution to a number of gardening challenges.
A raised garden bed can be created by simply heaping up a pile of soil or by using solid materials to create a box shape around the soil.
Better For The Soil
Raised garden beds offer a no-till option for gardening. This means that the soil will not require an annual tilling to add fertilizer and amendments.
The no-till option is the process of adding materials such as compost, mulches, manures and other organic layers on top of the soil.
Directly placing nutritious materials on top is less work than disturbing it with tilling.
No-till is regarded as a healthier way to manage the soil by building up the organic components and not depleting the soil structure.
Your crops will require breathing space above wet conditions to flourish. The additional height of a raised bed allows water to drain better, especially after heavy rains.
A raised garden bed is a way to extend our growing season over wetter months. Raising your crops higher is a great way to avoid the problems of marshy or flooded ground.
Reduce Slug and Animal Attacks
Birds can be kept away from your growing vegetables by attaching a hoop to your raised bed to create a bird barrier.
Although a slug can climb the side of your raised bed, it acts as an additional barrier to slow them down. Installing a border of copper flashing to your bed is known to prevent slugs from crossing.
The height of the garden bed will stop dogs from urinating on the plants, and the addition of deer fencing to the bed will stop deer from getting at your crops.
Protect Your Back
Working from a raised bed can help prevent back and knee strain caused by weeding the soil. Over time, working in a low bed garden can take a toll on your body.
If you are considering growing organic vegetables over the long term, you will want to reduce the damage caused to your back from hand weeding.
For that reason, a raised garden bed is a good idea to invest in from the start to avoid future health problems.
Raised Beds Look Pleasing
Installing raised garden beds make it easier to distinguish between the beds and paths of the garden.
Keeping all the growing materials neatly contained within your raised bed makes your garden look more orderly and aesthetically pleasing.
Working in raised garden beds allows you to easily access your plants without walking on the soil. Walking on the soil caused compaction, which makes it harder for anything to grow other than weeds.
Growing food in a raised bed involves adding cardboard or mulch to the top of the soil to kill weeds, so the soil is ready for the growing season.
Tilling the soil is often the way weed seeds get planted and will increase weed growth. You can avoid this by using no-till raised bed gardens.
Weed barriers can also be installed at the foot of a raised bed to prevent infiltration.
Earlier Planting in Raised Beds
Because of the improved drainage, the soil in a raised garden bed is warmer in the spring than soil at ground level. This makes earlier planting possible in raised beds.
The untilled soil of a garden bed, fortified with compost, will hold its temperatures better than tilled soil which has been disturbed and has reduced nutrients.
Raised Garden Beds Can Be Temporary
If you don’t want to create a permanent vegetable bed in your garden, you can install a temporary raised garden bed.
For people living in rental properties, this may be an option where the landlord won’t allow the garden to be dug up.
When you are finished with the raised bed, the sides can be removed and the soil spread over the garden. You can then return the garden to a lawn by sprinkling grass seed.
Avoid Contaminated Soil
Many urban areas suffer from contaminated soil. The native soil in polluted areas may include heavy metals, including lead.
Installing new soil, which is produced away from the site, into your raised bed avoids the problems of local soil toxicity.
Great For Beginners
Growing vegetables in a raised bed offers increased success rates in the first year compared to growing at ground level.
With less work, less weeding and improved soil, beginners will find it easier to produce a great crop when using raised beds.
Commonly Used Materials For Raised Garden Beds
Stone walls can be constructed for your raised bed using natural stone or wall construction stone. The walls will require a footing to ensure the structure remain intact.
Both engineering bricks and domestic bricks can be used to build a raised bed. Engineering bricks will last longer due to their weather resistant properties, while domestic bricks are less durable because they are more porous. Footings will be required for a brick built raised bed.
You can purchase pre-cast raised beds. These are a cheaper option than brick or stone built beds, but not adaptable to our requirements.
Untreated wood will have a shorter life span as a raised bed than treated wood. If you are using treated wood or paint your timber with a wood varnish, you will need to create a barrier of plastic between the timber and the soil to avoid pollution.
Sleepers require heavy lifting for construction of a raised garden bed.
Railway sleepers are often impregnated with creosote, which carries a risk from contact with the skin on a regular basis. For this reason, it is not permitted to use sleepers with creosote in the garden.
Use sleepers that are untreated or treated with other preservatives.
Paving slabs can be inserted into the ground on their side to create a wall for our raised garden. Concrete haunching can be laid for additional stability to prevent movement over time.
What is the Best Soil For Raised Garden Beds?
One of the benefits of gardening with raised beds is that you control the soil you use.
If your local soil is polluted, clay, acidic, contaminated with tree roots or is too hard packed then your raised garden bed can be filled with the best soil for your vegetables to thrive in.
When buying soil try to find out more about its origins. If the topsoil is taken from land under development, it may have been sat over time and lost its nutrients. These will need to be replenished with organic fertilisers.
When you acquire your soil, it should be mixed with a compost. Your compost will be formed by rich organic matter that holds moisture and can feed your plants essential nutrients.
A good triple mix is composed of soil, compost, peat mos or black loam.
As you continue to use your raised bed, the soil will become lacking in nutrients. You will need to continue to amend the soil with compost before planting again.
For this reason, it is a good idea to begin a compost heap to begin collecting garden materials throughout the year.
How To Fill Raised Garden Beds
If you have a dep raised bed, you can save money by filling the bottom with organic materials and saving our high quality soil for the top layer that your vegetables will be growing in.
Old dry wood is a good material to use to begin to fill the bed as a base layer. The wood will hold moisture in the soil and eventually decompose into the soil, adding additional nutrients.
Branches and logs may take several years to decompose, but this creates a longer term nutritional release for your bed.
Other waste garden products can be buried as a base layer, including dry leaves, grass clippings, leaf mould or trimmings from other plants.
As these materials decompose, the soil will reduce in height, so the bed will require topping up with additional soil, compost, leaves or other organic materials over time.
Where To Buy Raised Garden Beds
Galvanized Steel Raised Garden Beds
Vegetables often grow better in raised garden beds. You will have complte control over the soil and it will be lss likely to suffer from weed problems.
Soil in raised garden beds will stay warmer for longer in the season, be pH neutral, suffer less soil erosion and not be compacted by human feet.
Self Watering Raised Beds
Ready to start your vegetabole garden? Want the quickest way to create a raised bed? Want to save on plant maintenance by installing a bed that self waters?
Check out this easy-to-assenble raised bed which includes a self watering system that can be built in minutes.
Buying Vegetable Seeds
Find a wide range of vegetable seeds available to plant now. Discover what seeds are currently popular and get them delivered to your door.
Interested in growing your own food as a hobby or interest? We have other pages of information about growing food here.
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