Thursday, April 18, 2013

Raised Beds for the Home Gardener

Michele K. Koskinen

As I was working on refurbishing my raised beds that got destroyed recently by Sandy I though of the reasons I will build again. In todays world of home gardening, raised beds, instead of in ground gardens, are the preferred way to grow your vegetables and herbs and even some flower gardens. No longer your grandma's garden of digging, tilling and weeding expansive gardens in the ground, the 4 foot by 8 plus plots with at least a 2' path are easier to maintain and have many advantages.

Advantages of Raised Garden Beds
  • Raised beds warm quicker in the spring allowing earlier planting and stay warmer in the fall
  • The soil in the beds does not get compacted becuse of easy accessibility on paths. Soil compaction is a major factor in reduced yields. 
  • The soil can be easily made specific PH for different types of plants.
  • roots are more easily established 
  • Water conservation using a soakeer hose or drip system is more economical and helps deter disease
  • they produce 60 to 80% higher yield
  • successive planting in different beds is made easier
  • they have better drainage 
  • are great for intensive gardening
  • don't require back breaking preparation every year 
  • if you are older you can make them high enough you don't have to bend so far or can sit
  • are great for the handicapped or elderly gardener

Once established raised beds do have to be watered a more. Setting up a drip or soaker hose system with a timer allows the busy home gardener to have more time to actually enjoy the garden "work" during the growing season and is a way to conserve water.

Materials for raised beds can be as economical or as expensive as the gardener wants. No longer for the person that knows how to build. Raised bed kits are sold for those that do not have the carpentry skills or the time. They can be wood, brick, stone, concrete block, metal, man made wood and a variety of heights. Instructions are easy and can be found on a variety of website as well as kits to be purchased and put together. Below a few sites for information and to inspire.

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