Research has me convinced that
raised beds are the smart way for me to plan The Author’s Garden. Of the
many articles I’ve read the pros outweigh the cons significantly.
Raised beds have many
advantages. First they greatly reduce soil compaction. Plant roots need
air and with a raised bed you do all your gardening from the path
between beds eliminating tromping down the soil as you weed, etc.
Plants can be spaced more closely together in a raised be because you don’t need places
to step. This increases the productivity per square foot. It also
reduces weeding. The risk you run is to crowd your plants. Raised beds tend to grow much larger
plants so overcome the urge to really pack them in.
Drainage is easier in a bed
built above the ground. The contrary to this is if you live in a very
dry climate you may have to water more frequently.
Soil conditions can be controlled with great efficiency in a raised bed and can vary
from bed to bed. If the soil in your area of the country is less than
desirable it’s an easy problem to overcome when you control the sort of
dirt that goes into the bed. This holds true with mulch, compost or
fertilizer. You can use these products without much waste as they are
only being applied where directly needed.
Raised beds are closer to you
so there is less bending and gardening can be done on a garden seat or
wagon seat. This has great advantage to the elderly or those with
The growing season can be significantly lengthened with beds
that are above ground level because they warm up sooner than the ground
beneath them. You can also cover them effectively to prevent frost or
damage from hail and high winds.
It’s also easier to keep pests and weeds out of a raised
bed, so if you live in an area with lots of rabbits or voles or gophers
you may want to consider this option very carefully.
I’ve seen lots of raised
beds. Some are constructed of pressure treated lumber, rocks, landscape
blocks, logs, watering troughs, even kiddie plastic swimming pools. So I
guess I’d better decide which medium will achieve the look I’d like for
Finally, studies have shown
that raised beds produce up to 1.5 to 2 times more vegetables and
flowers per square foot over ordinary beds. You can have a smaller and
more manageable garden that produces more for your table. Since
my space is relatively small I find this appealing.
The disadvantages are few. As
mentioned above you may have to water with more frequency in a dry
climate. And raised beds take more money initially to establish as they
must be built as opposed to plowing up a piece of your yard and sticking
seeds in the ground.
So, after all is said and done,
not much has yet been done. But the decision has been made that raised
beds are the way to proceed. Now to plan the layout and design of the
landscape. Looks like I’d better start observing how many hours of sun
different areas of the property receive.