Raised garden beds are pretty easy to build and maintain. It requires no special expertise to construct and the materials are readily available. But wait, let’s first understand what is a raised garden bed.
What is a Raised Garden Bed?
A raised bed refers to a large containment unit with no bottom or top, that sits aboveground and filled with good quality soil for growing vegetables and fruits. Containments are generally made using either rot-resistant wood, concrete blocks or recycled plastic lumber.
What are Your Reasons for Building a Raised Bed
Raised garden beds offer a myriad of benefits to in-ground gardening and here are some of the reasons to have one.
- With a raised vegetable bed, garden chores become much easier since you spend less time bending and kneeling. No more back pain during and after gardening
- Raised beds have improved drainage and deeper roots hence boosting plants productivitiy
- On a limited garden space raised beds help keep things less wild and unwieldy.
- One of the common challenges of gardening is controlling soil quality and content, particularly in areas with rocky and nutrient-poor soil. However, a raised bed allows you to control all of these factors for better yield.
- Unlike conventional gardens which highly attracts weeds and diseases, raised garden beds are elevated hindering weed proliferation.
- Lastly, raised garden beds are ideal for companion planting and square-foot gardening
Now that you understand how importantly raised beds are for your garden, here are key considerations when preparing a raised bed garden.
- The size of your raised bed
- Choosing the perfect spot
- How to remove the grass
- Will you use any form of irrigation
- Soil quality and quntity
- Having supporting stakes for your raised beds
Choosing the Right Material for Raised Beds
Wood is commonly used in the construction of raised beds but it rots easily, hence a major concern when choosing the type of material for building raised beds. CCA pressure-treated wood is ideal for making raised beds frames, but it was prohibited from use after been discovered it leaches arsenic.
Try one of these options to reduce wood deterioration if you have considered using wood for framing.
- Use premium woods like cedar which contains natural oils prevent rotting and improve its durability. Though they cost twice as much, they’ll offer your years of service.
- Pressure-treated wood is yet another option of preventing wood deterioration. A good example is a recycled plastic wood made from a mixture of chemicals which prevents moist from rotting the wood. It’s also considered an environmentally friendly option for fencing, as it is from recycled materials. In addition to making raised beds, plastic lumber is also used in fencing and landscaping industry.
- Rotting is fast in thin woods, therefore go for thicker boards that last longer. Ideally, a 2-inch thick larch will offer you more than 5 years, even without treatment.
Alternatively, you can choose to use concrete blocks or bricks. But remember that concrete will eventually increase the soil pH over time compromising your garden’s productivity. Another drawback for using concrete is that you’ll be regularly tasked to amend the soil for better produce.