Are you tired of buying non-organic veggies from the market or spending a lot of money on vegetables every week?
You can start growing your own vegetables instead!
Believe it or not, you can grow vegetables in a small pot or container if you have a small space or if you have a lot of space, you can opt for a raised garden bed.
What Is Raised Bed Gardening?
Raised bed gardening is the easiest way to start your own vegetable garden, especially if you’re a beginner.
It’s ideal for growing veggies in areas with poor water drainage, with heavy soil that is filled with contaminants, or where there’s no adequate sunlight.
Having a gardener’s raised bed gives you full control over the soil quality and can offer better drainage.
Want to give raised garden bed a try? Make sure you know about the best soil amendments for raised beds!
Advantages Of Raised Bed Gardening
So why is raised-bed gardening a great idea?
- Easier to work with
- Less weeding
- Better control over soil fertility
- Uses less water
- Requires less mulch
- Provides better harvests
- Less compaction for more airspace in soil resulting in healthier plants
Raised Bed Garden Ideas To Try
Raised garden beds don’t have to be laid on the ground. Unlike traditional gardening, you can grow vegetables and even fruits and herbs in an elevated raised garden bed.
Still figuring out how you can build a raised garden bed? Here are some raised bed ideas that you can try.
Select The Materials To Use
There is no right or wrong material to use for your raised bed.
The job of the raised bed frame is to hold the soil in place. There are different types of materials to use. The structure can still be created from any materials that you have on hand such as:
Wood is the most popular choice for building a raised bed frame. It can be new, recycled, scrap wood or you can also use leftovers to build your wooden frame.
You can also use any type of wood or thickness, except for treated wood, when building a simple raised bed frame. Avoid using railroad crossties, landscape timber, or other treated lumber as they contain toxins that can leach out into the soil and harm your plants.
Make sure to use untreated wood when building the wood frame. If you opt to paint the outside of the raised planter, use non-toxic and eco-friendly paint. Painting the outside of the raised bed frame can make the simple wood look better, plus, it can also stand up better to the elements like rain and intense sunlight.
To make joining the boards easier you can use a planter wall block:
With these the boards slide right in and you don’t have to buy any hinges or screws. You can even stack them to make the beds taller, and they’re under $5 at my store.
Using metal or steel can last longer.
You can use:
- metal roofing
- sheet metal
- Corten steel
- heavy metals
- galvanized steel
- building frame
as they can develop an attractive patina over the years and can enhance the appearance of your garden.
Since vinyl is lightweight and inexpensive, you can also use vinyl boards, siding or other types of vinyl remodeling and building material to create the garden bed frame.
There are a lot of vinyl raised garden bed kits available or you can opt to build your own.
However, make sure to use more protection and build more structure to avoid the garden bed falling out.
Concrete or Stone
Concrete blocks, landscape stone, stone pavers, cinder blocks, and recycled bricks can make sturdy materials for fabricating the exterior frame of the garden bed.
They are virtually indestructible and opting for composite materials can be inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to work with that will still look good for many years.
I have 3 beds I built by stacking cinderblocks. I stacked them up waist high so i can stand and work in them. I filled the bottom 3/4 with things that will break down over time like logs, old plant clippings, old soil, and so on, then filled the rest with soil. These are my favorite beds to work in since I don’t have to bend down or over and break my back or strain my knees.
Using fabric pots has been popular in recent years.
This material, when used in raised garden beds, is easier to assemble and moveable. Using landscape fabric allows the soil to breathe more as it can move through the roots and encourage air-pruning of roots to develop more fibrous roots.
I have 3 of these:
and I do love them. I’ve used them for 3 years now and they are still holding up just fine. They range in price from about $8 – $30. The one above, at the time of this post, is $8.50 (prices change all the time).
How Big Should The Raised Bed Be?
You can make the raised bed frame as small or as big as you want.
The most common size is 4 feet wide. This size can make it easier for you to reach across the garden bed and easy access the veggies that need to be harvested without stepping onto the soil.
If you make the planter box too wide, it may be more difficult for you to reach the middle part of the frame.
How Deep Should It Be?
Raised garden beds should measure at least 12 to 18 inches in depth, but that still varies based on what is at the bottom of the raised bed.
If you place the raised bed over grass, using a depth of 6 to 12 inches is already sufficient. This will give the initial roots more space to spread out.
If the bed is placed over concrete, the minimum depth of 12 inches is needed, but more is a lot better. To give the plants a more extensive root system, you can opt to change it to 18 inches instead.
Picking The Perfect Spot
The perfect place to put the raised garden bed is in the area where the plants can get a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.
Make sure that there are no large trees or shrubs nearby as they can cast a shadow over the bed once they’re in full bloom . The large tree roots in the soil can also disrupt the vegetables and can compete with them for water, food, nutrients, and minerals.
Choose a well-draining location too. Avoid low and wet areas where the soil stays soggy as it will increase the likelihood of root rot and other diseases.
Preparing The Soil
Before filling the raised garden bed with soil, make sure to use a garden shovel or fork to break up and loosen the dirt underneath the garden bed. Try to loosen the soil at least six to eight inches deep down to improve drainage and moisture retention.
Also, remove any large clumps of compacted soil, rocks, and large leaves as they might cause obstructions for the root growth.
The Best Raised Bed Soil
The most important ingredient for a garden bed is the soil.
By not using healthy, nutrient-dense soil with inadequate soil conditions can produce unruly plants. Having poor soil quality can result in stunted plant growth, not fruiting, not fruiting to its potential, diseases, and death.
To ensure that you’ll have a high-yield gardening season, use healthy, good soil. In general, the best ratio to ensure rich soil is:
- 40% soil
- 40% compost
- 20% aeration
What To Place At The Bottom Of The Raised Bed
Raised beds don’t need any organic layer underneath, but you can place newspaper or cardboard at the bottom. Layers of grass clippings, wood chips, leaves, and other organic material are great addition too.
When To Water
Compared with in-ground garden beds, raised garden beds need to be watered more.
Check the soil every day. If it’s dry two inches down, then you need to start watering. You don’t need to have drainage holes in the bed as the soil will easily absorb the water.
Installing a drip irrigation system is also a practical way to water your garden. But if you opt for this watering system, it will be easiest if you set it up while you’re building the garden bed.
Don’t have time to build your raised garden beds? There are ready made raised bed kits that you can use instead.
If you’re yet to give raised bed gardening a try, now is the best time. Now is always the best time to start anything, lol
This gardening method, compared with a traditional garden, is straightforward and is best for those who don’t have good quality soil. Make sure to give your veggie garden a makeover with any of these garden bed plans.