A raised vegetable garden in a raised bed (box) is a structure made to sit on top of the soil, patio or even table, depending on its size of
course. You fill it with soil that you can customize to your plants needs. This makes it much easier to create an ideal soil profile than it would be if you had to by adding soil amendments to your existing landscape. Raised beds are easy to customize for things like:
- 1.Adding a shelf to sit on while you tend to the garden
- 2.bolting on shading screens to the bed walls
- 3.and anything else your imagination lets you
The raised beds can be bought pre-made or you can make your own. Avoid using lumber that is pressure treated due to the toxins that might leach into your garden soil. Wood that is durable outside such as cedar or redwood would be a good choice to construct the frames with. You could even use railroad ties as in the picture below. Remember to make your bed no wider than you can comfortably reach halfway over. Leave all four sides accessible whenever possible.
A raised gardening bed can be easier to tend to for weeding, feeding, and harvesting because of the ability to access all plant areas with ease. You’ll find that there are unlimited ways to customize your raised bed design to suit your needs. You can create a shelf to sit on using a 2X6 plank that is attached to 4X4 posts every 3 feet or so as in this image.
You could also build it high enough so that you didn't have to bend over at all like this 3 footer I took a picture of at a friend’s house.
Benefits for Gardening in a Raised Bed
The first benefit of this type of gardening is that it gives you total control over the soil conditions in which you grow your plants. You do not always have this type of control, if you are planting straight into the ground. Clay soil is quite difficult at times to get to the desired texture.
It will be easier for you to work the soil, since you add it yourself to the beds. You just shovel it in easily, because you've already prepared the right texture. This can be commercial garden soil or topsoil with compost mixed into it. It all depends on what you are growing as to what condition your soil needs to be. Also, if you want to garden organically you will need to set up your raised vegetable garden beds accordingly.
Planting, weeding and other garden chores are less of a strain on the back. This is because you do not have to bend over as far to do any of the chores. You typically have the bed at the height of at least 12 inches, if not more, or have it placed on a table. This is an ideal garden for someone with a physical handicap, since the height of it and the overall size of it can be adjusted to fit the person's needs.
You won't need to walk in the raised bed which helps keep the soil from becoming compacted. This will help the roots grow freely and stay healthy. It also makes it easier to pull weeds or work fresh compost into it.
Be sure to consider growing herbs along side your vegetables. Vegetables and herbs often have similar nutritional needs and growing conditions . Also, there is no reason that you can't have flowers sprinkled throughout your raised beds for added color.
These are just some of the advantages of a raised vegetable garden. You will find many more, as you try this option for your growing needs.