Exploring the Many Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

Every year more and more people are becoming interested in growing vegetables from their very own home gardens. There are a number of reasons for this, among which is the assurance of a totally organic crop, but for whatever reason, many have never explored the benefits of raised garden beds. There are actually quite a few reasons why raised beds are advantageous. Here is just an elementary introduction to raised bed gardening and a few of those benefits. 

Don’t Confuse Garden Planters with Raised Beds 
There seems to be some amount of confusion as to just what raised bed gardening is. The difference is really very simple. A garden planter has a bottom, usually with drainage holes so that excess water can filter out to avoid root rot. A raised bed can look like a garden planter except that there is no bottom. Because of this, the roots can reach down into the soil for better growth of the plants. Usually, a raised bed has a wire mesh along the bottom that keeps moles and other creatures from digging up to eat the roots. 

Building a Raised Garden Box Made Simple 
There are various ways of constructing a raised garden box, but size and height are usually two of the most important factors. You can use boards obtained from stores like Savoy Timber and if you have a saw, you can cut them to any length you desire. Some raised garden boxes are square, some are rectangular. It depends on what you want to plant and the spacing you’ll need for optimum growth. If you cannot cut your timber to the length you need, you may be able to have the lengths pre-cut for you. However, if you are going to be doing any amount of vegetable gardening, it might be advisable to purchase a saw at the same time. It’s so much easier to tailor your garden bed if you can cut your boards as needed. Some start with a single layer of timber around the perimeter and build up as the plants begin to grow. Others simply build their raised beds at a height most comfortable for them and maintain them at that size and height. 

Raised Beds Give You Greater Control 
Another very important benefit of raised beds is the fact that you have better control of everything from nutrients to water and pest control. Usually organic gardeners prefer raised beds because they are filled with the soil of your choice. There is little to no chance of chemical fertilisers or pesticides filtering into the soil and you can also have better control of moisture. When the roots are enclosed, they can of course grow down, but they can’t spread out. With a gardening water meter, you can keep the soil as moist or dry as needed and you can also control the pH of the soil. The soil needs to be at certain levels of acidity or alkalinity specific to each type of plant and that is more easily controlled when the soil is contained in a raised bed. Speaking of soil, there are also specific ways to prepare the soil for raised bed gardening, so don’t forget to research that as well. 

Greater Protection Against Back Strain 
One of the most common complaints you will hear home gardeners voice would be the back strain they endure after long hours of working with their plants. Weeding gardens seems to be the worst because it entails diligent care, and being bent over for long periods of time while pulling weeds. Actually, that is another benefit of a raised garden bed. Fewer weeds work their way up and into the soil because it is so much higher than ground level. When carrying soil and/or nutrients, you can almost always keep that weight at waist level which puts less of a strain on your back. From watering your garden to picking vegetables as they ripen, you can reduce the amount of strain when you aren’t bending or reaching for long periods of time. It is also easier to see how your plants are faring when they are higher up and closer to eye level. 

A Final Word About Maintenance 
There is one other benefit to raised bed gardening and that is the fact that you can leave them from season to season, usually on a three year plan. Many gardeners simply cover the bed with heavy plastic for the winter months and only uncover them just before it’s time for spring planting. They don’t need to be tilled at the same depth as in-ground gardens, so only the very top layer can be turned and prepared which is also easier to do because of the height at which you will be working. 

Whether you choose to leave the timber natural, stain it or paint it, raised garden boxes can really be quite lovely as well as functional. With better control and less strain on the body, you will enjoy working with the soil so much more.

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