Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Garden Beds: Raised garden beds are appealing to so many people, and for a variety of reasons. Convenience, poor ground soil, beauty; (the list goes on) Raised beds are a great option. You can buy premade, aesthetically pleasing garden beds that you put together and grow in; You can also build your own raised beds out of a variety of materials. When choosing or designing your beds, think about what you want them to look like. Get some paper and a pencil, and draw it out. Figuring out what you want will help you with your Garden Planning.

Think about the Length, Width, and Depth you’re wanting for the beds. The length of your beds doesn’t exactly matter. Make them as long or as short as you desire. The width should be wide enough for you to get in there to harvest, fertilize, and weed, but not so wide that you can’t reach to the middle, or other side. A width of 2-4 feet is recommended. The depth of your beds should be at least 8 inches deep. Make your beds as deep as you’re wanting, but keep in mind; The deeper or taller your beds are, the more the cost adds up.

My raised beds are 2ft, 3ft, and 4 ft wide. In varying lengths. And the depth of my beds are 12-32 inches deep. I’ve found that any wider than 4 feet, I am unable to properly care for that bed and its plants.  

Cost of Raised Garden Beds: If you’re thinking of raised beds, consider the costs. First, there is the cost of materials. How many beds are you thinking of building or buying? (This is part of your garden planning) Once you figure out your rough number of beds, and how long and wide, you’ll be able to determine a “roundabout” estimate. It can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. Next, those beds need good, rich soil. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get by with potting or bagged soil. For raised beds, investing in a compost rich soil to fill your beds with will be the most cost effective option. If you’re considering building “tall” beds, 24 inches or taller, to save money on soil, fill the bottom half of the bed with logs, sticks, leaves, and straw. Over time, these will break down, creating a healthy ecosystem in the soil which will attract all the beneficial insects and bacteria that your soil needs to grow all the things you want to grow.

My top 3 favorite things about raised garden beds: Firstly, they allowed me to have a garden on a slope where I am unable to grow directly in the ground. Secondly, the beds add structure and designated zones, which I find aesthetically pleasing. Finally, I can control the environment of the soil. I choose the soil and compost that go into the beds. Yes, it is a lot of work to fill a bunch of raised beds, but it’s totally worth it!

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