I always had a few raised beds in my vegetable garden but last year we decided to transition to all raised beds.
What is a raised bed? It is a mound of lose, well-prepared soil, six to eight inches high that will make for easier gardening and healthier crops. The beds can be permanent, with edgings of stone, blocks, timbers or railway ties or they can be temporary structures you re-form each time your garden is planted. Raised beds can be particularly helpful if you are trying to grow vegetables in heavy soils that drain poorly.
In the long run, easy maintenance and the ability to use hand tools instead of machinery like rototillers, make raised beds a best bet for the home garden. Here are a few perks of raised beds:
Because the beds aren’t subjected to regular foot traffic, the soil always stays porous and loose and never compacts. This loose soil provided good drainage, enabling water, air, and fertilizer to penetrate easily to the roots of your plants.
If you make permanent raised beds, the path next to each bed is never used for growing vegetables. Because it is constantly being walked on and packed down, it stays dry, clean and relatively weed free.
Because the beds are segregated by the paths between them, you can take advantage of the layout to rotate the variety of vegetables you plant in each bed each year. Crop rotation maintains the soil’s nutrients and discourages pests and pathogens.
The raised bed garden can be very pleasing to the eye.
My favorite reason is that I can sit on the edge of one raised bed while working in the next bed. Much easier on my back!
One drawback I learned last year is that raised beds tend to dry out quicker especially is your soil tends to be a little sandy. Either my summer was just too busy last year or I wasn’t spending enough time in the garden, I had some beds that would dry out quickly. This year I’ll either have to figure out an irrigation system or be more diligent about watering.
Do you have raised beds in your garden? What are your thoughts on them?