Building a raised bed vegetable garden is similar to growing plants in containers but on a much larger scale. In a raised bed the plants are contained (useful when growing creeping varieties like mint and strawberries) while still allowing the roots to penetrate into the ground. Planting a raised bed garden not only gives your lawn much neater look, but it also allows anyone to have a garden regardless of the quality of your native soil.
Getting started gardening with raised bed vegetable gardening is easier than starting a traditional garden. Rather than removing well-established grass and spending days tilling the soil and working in enough organic compounds to grow healthy plants, you can simply build a small retaining wall and fill your new garden with a mixture of nutrient-rich compost, manure, and black dirt. You don’t even need to remove the sod first.
Raised bed vegetable gardens can be easier to care for as well. For gardeners with mobility issues, getting down to ground level can be a challenge, but with raised beds, it’s easy to use a small garden stool for planting and pruning, saving wear and tear on your knees and back. If you build your raised beds Square Foot Gardening style, you’ll also be able to put more plants in less space, while having plenty of room to maneuver through your garden.
Another major benefit of raised bed gardening is that it improves the drainage system of the garden. Where many yards have compacted soil caused by years of foot traffic, raised beds are filled with new, well-aerated soil that offers better drainage – and doesn’t require you to buy an expensive tiller to get it. Not only that, but your garden will grow faster and produce ripe vegetables sooner because raised beds keep the soil warmer in the spring.
Raised bed vegetable gardens can also be an attractive addition to your yard. You’ll find a variety of retaining wall options at nearly every home improvement store, so you can build your garden to match the surrounding landscape. Permanent bed structures can be made from durable materials such as cedar, cypress, or redwood, or from brick, stone, or cinder blocks.
Raised beds aren’t just for vegetables, and you don’t have to limit them to one tier. You can design gorgeous flower gardens with multiple raised beds on many levels to showcase a variety of plants. With raised beds, you’re not limited by the natural landscape in your yard, so it’s easy to incorporate water features or other interesting effects that might not otherwise work in a more traditional garden.
Designing and building a new garden doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. A simple raised bed garden can be built in an afternoon using supplies you probably have on hand. It can be as simple or as complex as you like, and can be used to grow nearly any plant from asparagus to zucchini. Best of all, by choosing a raised bed vegetable garden, you can start small, then easily add to your garden in later years.