Gardening With a Raised Bed

Growing vegetables is easy with raised garden beds, and Bonnie Plants offers free raised garden bed plans.

| Summer 2016

  • peppers in raised bed
    Pepper plants perform well in a raised bed garden.
    Photo courtesy Bonnie Plants
  • raised bed benches
    For added comfort in the garden, raised beds can include benches.
    Photo courtesy Bonnie Plants

  • peppers in raised bed
  • raised bed benches

Raised beds allow gardeners to overcome poor soil by creating the ideal growing mix. In addition, they also make gardening more comfortable, because raised beds mean less bending and kneeling.

Whether you decide to purchase a kit or build your own, there are a few things to consider when creating a raised bed garden.

Location & Design

Construct the garden in a sunny area if possible. Most plants require at least six hours of sun, and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and melons produce best with a full day of sunlight.

Choose a long-lasting material, such as interlocking block, fieldstone, plastic lumber or naturally long-lasting cedar. The material selected will influence the shape and size of your garden. Some materials allow for curved beds, while others are limited to squares, rectangles and other angular shapes.

Design your raised bed to fit your space and your individual needs. A width of three or four feet makes it easy to reach all parts of the garden for planting, weeding and harvesting.  Raising your planting bed at least eight to 12 inches improves drainage and provides an adequate space for most plants to root and grow. If you want to minimize bending, go even higher. You can also add benches to increase your gardening comfort and ease.

Prepare Your Beds

Roughen or loosen the existing soil surface if your bed is built on compact, slow-draining soil, which will allow water to readily move from the raised bed into the soil below. Cover the bottom of the bed with newspaper or cardboard, if needed, to suffocate existing weeds and grass.

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