Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening
Topic: Raised Bed Gardening
More and more gardeners are turning to creating raised beds in their gardens, and the reasons are numerous. If you'd like healthier plants, higher quality soil and easier garden maintenance, raised bed gardens are for you! Here's the skinny on how building your beds "up" can benefit both you and your garden.
When plants are placed in traditional ground-level beds, you are forced to walk through the bed to maintain it. This can cause soil compaction, which affects the roots of the plants. Gardeners who start out with less-than-desirable soil (rocky, sandy or clay) will also find that raised beds provide the deep, nutritious soil that is hard to find in their area.
As soil health increases, so does the plant health. The deeper, looser and more nutritious your soil is, the better your plants will grow. I tried growing carrots once in shallow, rocky soil (ah, the ignorance of the inexperienced!), only to find that the produce turned out to be small round orange balls with a bitter taste. Creating raised beds would have totally eliminated that problem!
If it's not necessary to plan for stepping, walking and standing areas within your bed, you don't have to waste space that could otherwise be dedicated to more plants. More plants equals more produce--whether it's fruits, vegetables or flowers you're after. Raised beds give you the flexibility to garden from the path, reaching in to plant and harvest. Be careful to avoid over-crowding your plants, however—you'll still want to have great air circulation to side-step problems like powdery mildew.
When building your beds 4 feet wide, you can easily reach in from either side to perform normal garden maintenance like weeding and harvesting. People with mobility issues appreciate not having to kneel down or bend over too much, and children find that raised beds are just about the perfect height for their first gardens. If you make the edges of the beds wide enough for seating, then you've created an even more efficient garden to enjoy!
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