13 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD USE RAISED BEDS
As baby boomers are getting older and cannot bend as easily, or as land space is becoming less and less available, raised beds are slowly becoming a preferred method for planting vegetables. The use of raised beds is certainly not new, merely an older method recognized as an excellent gardening method for many reasons:
1. In raised beds, you can more efficiently amend the soil
. . . in such a way that a certain plant’s requirements are fully satisfied. For example, if the plant you wish to grow requires acidic soil, you can make sure your soil is acidic by first testing your soil for pH and then if needed, lowering your pH by adding sulfur. (Always check the directions first).
2. As opposed to the soil in an ordinary garden, soil in raised beds warm up faster
. . . in the spring and thus become available for either adding soil amendments or planting. The result is that when using raised beds you can plant weeks earlier in the spring.
3. Even if you get a lot of rain or excessive downpours, the excess water can easily drain away from the raised beds
. . . because the soil is built up above ground level. Unless you have a significant amount of flooding around the base of your structure, your raised bed will never be drenched in water.
4. Because your raised beds are higher than ground level, you will be more easily annoyed by any weeds growing among your plants.
Since your raised beds look pretty neat, you will want to keep them this way, so you will immediately any weeds or foreign items (especially if you don’t need to bend very far.)
5. You can organize your raised beds in whatever order you wish
Since your flowers and vegetables will vary in growth and color from month to month, the overall picture of the plants in the different raised beds will create interest and variety in spring, summer, fall, and even winter.
6. If you love growing herbs and succulents, you will appreciate being able to contain your plants in one bed
. . . rather than seeing your plants overtake any spaces available to the detriment of other plants you want to grow. Moreover, the raised beds containing your herbs or succulents can be placed more conveniently close to your house.
7. It does not matter if the raised beds get bumped by children’s toys or garden furniture
Your plants will not be affected because your plants are set up in wooden or other strong structures which are not easily destroyed.
8. Planting in raised beds is a winner especially if you have problems with small animals!
To stop gophers from tunneling up to your precious plants, you can encase the bottom of your container with close-meshed galvanized screenings before you add your soil. If squirrels are a problem, you can protect your bulbs by laying a layer of chicken wire across the top of your container as soon as you plant your bulbs.
The wire can remain there forever. The growing plant will find its way through the wire. You can protect your berries from birds by using nylon or wire netting. In other words, the wooden structure allows you to use whatever is necessary to enclose your plants to save them from “unwanted varmints”.
9. When plants are in raised beds, it is easier to have proper airflow in your soil.
I remember my grandmother always making sure that the soil around her plants was loosened up “to allow airflow”. When you use raised beds for your veggies or flowers, there is no need to walk on the soil or use the equipment. The result is that your soil will not get compacted; thus both air and water will be more helpful to the plants because they can easily get to the roots.
10. IT IS EASIER TO USE DRIP IRRIGATION IN RAISED GARDEN BEDS
. . . than in an ordinary garden. If in addition, you spread mulch on the top of your bed, you can more easily keep the proper moisture in place.
11. One can more easily configure the amount of fertilizer needed when dealing with raised beds
For example, if your bed is 4 ft by 4 feet, you multiply 4 x 4 to find the square footage. Then read your directions to find out how much space a bag of manure or whatever can cover. Then you will know how many bags you need to buy, and there is no waste.
Another factor is that perhaps buying compost or top-grade topsoil for a whole garden might be too expensive. However, the cost might be more manageable when you are using the topsoil or compost in smaller raised beds. To minimize the cost, even more, you can mix these amendments with garden soil before using them in your raised bed.
12. It is quite easy to build the beds so that they are at the same height as wheelchairs
. . . so that people in wheelchairs can also do any amount of gardening they want without having to rely on anyone else.
13. If you top your raised beds with a flat board, you can sit on this board
. . . and use a trowel instead of a hoe to do your gardening. This flat board makes it possible for you to avoid having to get down on your knees to do the close-to-the-ground work which needs to be done.
Regardless of how big or how small, when raised beds are filled with nutrient-filled soil, the results are the same – lush plants and/or delicious, nutrition-filled vegetables.