Raised beds in (food) gardening

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Raised Beds Raised bed gardens have several advantages over in ground gardens in that they are ideal for those with limited space because vegetables and flowers can be planted closer together than normal, yields are higher (whether it's vegetables or flowers) because of better root growth, and raised beds offer a solution for gardeners whose soil is poorly drained or where bedrock is close to the surface and there is very little organic matter. Raised bed gardens are also easier for elderly and physically disabled gardeners to manage and maintain. Roof gardens are also raised bed gardens, although not in the traditional sense.

Most raised bed gardens are small, typically 3 to 4 feet wide and as long as the gardener wants it to be, but often no longer than 10 or 20 feet. For many people, smaller means more manageable and more manageable usually means a more enjoyable gardening experience. The beds can be built to any height that is comfortable and can be permanent or temporary.

As with any other garden, the location of a raised bed garden depends on what is being grown and how much light is required. Something to keep in mind however, is that raised bed gardens tend to use more water because they are off the ground. Mulching of course can help offset some of the water loss.

I found a better way of growing food crops still in much deeper raised beds than what you would normally make yourself and that is by using the so-called builder's bags or one-ton bags.

They are made from woven polypropylene, are virtually indestructible and thus will last for many years and make for very deep roots, allowing plants to be put together much closer.

The bags and the fact that they are, generally, closed at the bottom, also make for little or not problem with moles and other critters that come from below and want to harm your plants.

They may not look great, those bags for planters, but they do a great job and in your backyard those would be ideal. In using them – collecting them together from building sites where they will just be thrown away – you also keep those bags, who are not being recycled, out of the waste stream. Thus you kill the two proverbial birds with the one stone.

Such bags for planters can also be employed where the yard is so-called hard-standing, that is to say made of brick and concrete, as the planters are above ground entirely and at not time will the roots come into contact with the concrete. A total win-win situation.

© 2012