Spring is right around the corner! This means that many of you are probably already starting to prep and plan your gardens already, or soon will be. For a lot of people, setting out a plot of your land and putting in the work to prep the ground is ideal. It gives them plenty of room to work with, and planting directly into the ground is great for pretty much anything and everything you might be trying to grow. It’s the way it’s been done for millenia, and if you are growing your own food, or prefer to plant flowers and other landscape improving plants, you can’t go wrong with getting your hands dirty digging into Mother Earth. For others, either due to physical limitations or other reasons, they may be looking into their options for creating raised garden beds. This can be more than just building one from lumber to the size you need and there are options out there that look great and are functional.
If you’re going to consider going with raised beds for your planting needs, there are several things to keep in mind. For starters, you need to make sure that you have enough depth for your plants to grow. Some plants can be fine in about 6 inches of soil, but many others will need about a foot, so to err on the side of caution it is recommended that you make sure you have at least 12 inches of soil depth for most plants. This is to ensure that the root systems don’t become crowded and there is plenty of room for them to absorb water and nutrients to give your garden or crops the best chance at flourishing. You’re also going to need to make sure that your garden bed has proper drainage, so if you’re building your own don’t forget to drill several holes (probably at least a dozen depending on the size of your garden) to allow excess water to drain. This, along with proper soil depth, will help you avoid having the roots start to rot and kill off your crops.
There isn’t really any limit on how high you can make your garden beds, and if you have mobility issues you’re going to want to create (or purchase) ones that allow you to work comfortably so you don’t end up neglecting them and ruining your harvest. Of course, there are other benefits to having a raised garden even if you aren’t using due to any physical limitations. They help provide a barrier against some pests, such as slugs, and they can help minimize or eliminate some weeds as well, which can make your gardening experience all the more pleasant without adding additional work to the process. On top of that, raised beds reduce the soil compaction which can really help improve the health of the vegetables or other plants you are growing. Once you get them started, they also tend to warm up faster when spring starts, which should allow you to get your planting season started earlier than if you were digging straight into the ground.
As we mentioned, you can build them yourself, and there is no shortage of design plans online if you do decide to go that route. There are also prefabricated garden beds, which you can assemble with less work since all the measuring, cutting, and other detail work is usually done for you. If you have the space in a truck or other large vehicle, you can even get some already assembled from various home improvement stores, or have them delivered if you don’t have that extra cargo room. Then of course, there are other creative ideas, such as using old tires, river rock, livestock feeding troughs, or other existing containers and converting them into raised gardens, either as they are, or by arranging them to create the walls around your new raised garden.
As you can see, not only are raised gardens a great way to grow your crops, flowers, and herbs, but they can also allow you to exercise your creative side when it comes to how you want to construct them. If you’re only looking for function, you can keep it simple, but if you’re the artistic type, then have some fun with it and if you do, let us know!