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So you’re wanting to start your garden, but where to start?
Well, you’ll want to think about the size of the garden you want or especially how much room you have for a garden.
These are the first important questions you need to ask yourself and asses your property to figure out.
If you have a very large area and need to grow fields of corn, a traditional garden is most likely right for you.
Smaller spaces may lean more towards raised beds, or even if you just don’t have the tools to put in a garden in the ground like a tiller.
This year my garden ended up much much bigger than I intended.
With that it made it to where it is a lot harder to keep up with the weeds especially when rain has come and gone.
Common gardening mistakes is something that happens.
Needless to say I will be switching to raised garden beds next year.
They are easier to maintain and there are other benefits to them as well.
Why Raised Garden Beds?
1. Raised Beds Look Nicer
Have you seen pictures of rows of garden beds or do your neighbors have them?
They look so nice!
It’s an eye catching appeal and you can sort and organize how you put them to your liking.
Want to put them in rows? Or spread them out evenly through the yard?
It’s all your choice and you can easily plan it out before you build them.
2. Better Soil Drainage
In raising your garden beds it makes it to where your soil drains better.
Does your yard tend to flood a lot or do you live in a marshy area?
If so then raised gardens may be your best bet to have a better gardening season.
Raised bed soil levels are typically at least 11 inches.
That’s plenty of room for water to drain and your plants to have adequate room to grow their roots.
3. No tilling needed!
For those that do not have a tiller or the time and money for one, raised beds are a great benefit.
You do not need to till the soil every year. If needed you can just add more soil to the bed, and of course your fertilizer.
Tilling can be hard work, especially here on the mountain there are rocks upon rocks so the blades always hit something and then you have to go around and pick them all up.
Hence, another reason why me personally, I’m building raised beds next year.
4. You Can Plant Earlier
With raised beds you do not have to wait for soil temperatures to warm up.
Especially if you are using compost it will help your soil warm up faster.
Of course you want to watch out for normal frost times, or build some kind of covers for your beds.
Since the soil drains better it makes it to where the soil can dry and warm up faster in the spring than if you were planting in the ground.
5. Amazingly Easy for Beginners
Beginner gardeners have to look forward to a lot of things when planting in the ground.
Tilling multiple times, fertilizing the ground, tilling again, then finally getting to plant, etc..
With raised beds it’s as easy as building, filling them with soil and compost, adding their seeds, watering and that’s it.
Plus it’s much easier to weed.
6. Better On Your Back
So, if you’re like me and have a bad back weeding and planting in a big garden is horrid on your back.
All of the bending down to pick weeds, being half slumped over to use your gardening tools to plant, it just equals complete back pain during and after.
Typically after I’m in the garden for a couple hours I have to come in and sit on the heating pad for a bit.
Raised beds make it a whole lot easier.
Since they are higher you do not have to bend over to tend to them.
Depending on how high they are means you can easily sit on the ground and plant or weed away or if they’re higher you can even sit in a chair while you garden.
Gardening itself is good for you health. What a great benefit for those with bad backs!
7. Fewer Weeds
Weeds are my nemesis in a big garden.
As I’ve stated before, when you have a large garden that means more weeds.
You have to keep a huge eye out on your garden and keep up with the weeds or else they will take over.
Raised beds help with this issue since they are smaller areas that are filled with top soil so you get less weeds.
With the smaller area it’s easier to keep up with weed pulling.
8. Less Creature Issues
We all know creatures like bunnies and slugs love your garden.
Raised beds are much higher so it’s harder for bunnies to get into them.
Slugs of course move extremely slow so typically you can see them trying to make their way up and catch them before they get into the garden.
9. No Contaminated Soil Issues
Certain areas have things in their ground that are not the best for gardening.
Especially if you are an Urban farmer, the soil quality may not be the best.
Using a raised bed you are controlling everything that goes into it.
You pick the top soil you use, the compost, the fertilizer, all of it.
10. Raised Beds Can Be Temporary
If you only want to garden say one season.
You can build the beds and take them down the next year.
It’s as easy as taking them apart and moving the soil somewhere else or spreading it around your yard.
It won’t require waiting on a huge area of your yard to grow grass again.
Raised garden beds are a fantastic idea and there are many different reasons to use them.
How To Make a Raised Garden
There are a couple different ways to go about it.
You can either buy a raised garden kit or metal garden bed, or you can build it yourself.
Metal raised garden beds are actually starting to be a good trend.
They also look very stylish and have great eye appeal.
You can get a large one from places like Northern Tool that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Some metal raised beds can be on the expensive side.
There are even color options if you prefer something that isn’t the norm.
Raised Garden Bed Kits
Many different stores sell the kits.
Both Home Depot and Lowes sell them and even Walmart.
It all depends on where you like to shop.
If you’re a Veteran like me than you may want to stop at a place to use your discount
Starting raised gardens is expensive to start but it’s extremely helpful in the long run.
One great looking larger raised bed kit is here at Lowe’s it looks great and it’s at a great price too.
Or there are even tiered raised garden beds you can buy as well that are VERY eye appealing and help you separate plants.
Build Your Own
If you are a person who just likes to build things yourself then you may want to go this route.
You can make them look exactly how you want and what size or shape you want.
With this route you can get as creative as you want!
Things you will need:
- 2×4 lumber (for smaller beds) or 2×8 lumber (for taller beds)
- Drill/Driver and Bits
- Circular saw
- Tape Measure
- Deck or Exterior Screws
- Gardening Cloth or Mesh and Staples
- Top Soil
- If you are not using rot resistant wood you will need thick plastic to line the inside of the gardening beds
Depending on the size of the beds you want to make of course will depend on how much wood you will need to buy.
You will want to sketch out what you want and size them.
The height of course will also determine how much wood you need.
Do make sure they are at least 6 inches high, 12 inches can be better for better drainage
Side Note: Woods such as Redwood or Cedar can be better in the long run since Redwood can last you 20 years and Cedar can last 10-15 years, so always be mindful in choosing the type of wood to use.
- Cut and measure out your wood for each garden bed. Corner posts should be as tall as the garden bed
- Clamp or Hold together the boards for each wall. Place corner posts on top of the wall boards flush with the ends, drill pilots holes and attach ends together.
- Drill more pilot holes and attach all sides
- Remove grass from the areas where the beds will be
- Attach gardening cloth or mesh to the bottoms of the gardening beds
- If the wood isn’t rot resistant like Cedar or Redwood you will want to line the beds with thick plastic
- Add soil and compost
There you have it!
Great benefits come with raised garden beds and they’re too easy to make or buy.