Planting a vegetable garden can be done easily in raised beds, and can greatly reduce the risk of injuring your back while you’re tending the garden. It is also a great way to utilize a small space and maximize the area available to you. It’s wise to first determine if you want a permanent gardening bed or a temporary one, and then you can move on to selecting the materials to make the raised beds. Rot resistant wood, stone, and brick are all suitable materials for building a gardening bed. Growing a vegetable garden in raised beds is a beautiful and convenient way to reap all the benefits of home grown produce.
A permanent bed is a good choice for those of us who might want the garden design to remain the same forevermore. It’s the best way to go for individuals who want to build it and then forget about it, with the single exception, of course, for planting. Cedar is a rot resistant wood that would be suitable for a project like this. If you’re leaning away from wood you might want to consider rocks, bricks, or cement blocks. The goal is to create a bed from materials that would provide long lasting support for the garden year after year.
If aesthetics are important, decorative rocks or bricks might be more attractive to look at than plain cinderblocks, but remember that once the garden starts growing your eyes will probably be more focused on the plants than on the materials you used for the garden housing.
The benefit to building a temporary bed is that you can adjust the design and layout of your garden each year. Having more than one way to set up a garden might add fun and exciting element to your horticulture endeavors. It would be suitable for individuals who have families with ever changing needs. Space in the backyard might be limited for gardening if you have small children or pets that use the area. As the children grow and their play areas are used less and less, you could move the raised beds to different locations in the backyard.
The materials for a temporary bed may also include rot resistant wood, bricks, rocks, and cinderblocks. The heavier the materials, however, the more cumbersome take down and setup will be. Oftentimes you will have to joist wood like cedar together, so it might be challenging to move framed pieces to another location.
Dimensions of Raised Beds
When you’re thinking about making raised beds to grow a vegetable garden, it’s important to get the proper dimensions so the garden is successful, and so you can maximize the ease of gardening on an elevated surface. Dimensions to keep in mind are adequate depth, width that is reachable, and length that is to your liking. It might be a good idea to make your beds based on the following dimensions:
- Create beds at are at least 12 inches deep. To ensure roots penetrate deeply enough into the soil, it’s important to make the beds at least one foot deep.
- Beds need to be reachable in width. In order to make the garden accessible for you to work in, you may not want to build the beds more than 3 to 4 feet wide, unless you have long arms and an even longer reach. Keep in mind that you can work on one side, and walk around to the opposite side and work along that side as well. It’s not necessary to reach the entire width from one side of the bed.
- The length can be determined by your desires. Depth and width are the two dimensions that really need to be planned carefully. Length can be based on what your area allows and your own personal taste.
What to Plant in Raised Beds
You can enjoy all the variety of produce in a raised garden that a traditional garden might offer. You might want to put gourds in one bed, root vegetables in another, and tomatoes off on their own. Herbs can also be planted in raised beds along with flowering plants, and berries. Each variety of plant needs to be placed in the soil in the appropriate season.
Feed and Water Plants in Raised Beds Regularly
Raised beds have a tendency to dry out faster than regular garden beds, so be vigilant in watering. The soil will not be able to feed the plants in your garden as easily as it could in a traditional garden, so regular fertilization is also a key ingredient in a successful raised garden.
Lawrence Reaves writes for The Growers Exchange, a gardening company offering flowering plants, potted herbs and vegtable plants delivered directly to your home. Check out the products they offer here.