Gardens are absolutely beautiful. They’re fun to grow and even more fun to harvest. Who doesn’t love creating a salad straight from their backyard? But sometimes we don’t have the space or soil we want and need for a bountiful harvest. If digging your own garden isn’t in the cards, look into raised bed gardens. In fact, sometimes they’re preferable to traditional gardens. Not only do they have superior soil quality, the drainage is better and they prevent compaction because they average 4 feet across—a distance most people can reach halfway across.
Raised bed gardens are also better for your back. You can make them as high as you’d like, but they’re usually at least 12 inches tall. Raise the wall and you can garden sitting on the edge. Also, if your lawn tends to invade your garden, raised bed gardens will keep the turf from intruding. Raised bed gardens can be built on your concrete patio or directly onto the ground (just not a wooden patio because it will cause damage!), and their smaller square footage means it gets warmer faster, meaning longer planting time. You won’t have to step on the soil and compact it, and you can grow nearly anything in it. Running out to grab some fresh herbs for dinner has never been easier.
If you’re interested in building a raised bed garden, here are a couple of tips to help get you started:
1. DIY or Purchase
First decide if you’re going to build your own frame or purchase one. You can build it from wood, stone, brick, cinderblock or just about any material. We’ve even seen copper ones.
2. Clear a Spot
Clear and level a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day and clear it of any vegetation.
3. Anchor and Level
Place the structural supports of the bed in holes at least 5–6 inches deep to anchor it down. Use a level to make sure it’s even and will then drain properly.
4. Line the Bottom
If you have critters or gophers that may burrow from underneath your garden, protect your plants by lining the bottom of the bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire.
5. Fill With Soil
Now you can fill your garden with a good soil, preferably a 50/50 mix for the best plant nutrition.
If you have an irrigation system in place, connect it to your raised bed garden. If not, don’t worry. Either way, give it a gentle watering in preparation of the next step.
7. Time to Plant
Now you can begin to enjoy the benefits of your new garden! You can plant just about any vegetable close together thanks to the high concentration of fertilizer. They even work with broadcast planting. The only two things we recommend is to not plant corn or potatoes because they require more room, and to plant cucumbers on the side. They’ll grow over the edge instead of in the middle and take up less space.
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