Benefit Of Raised Vegetable Garden Beds
Growing your vegetables in raised beds has many benefits, and makes gardening more accessible for more people.
What is a Raised Vegetable Garden Bed?
It is a form of gardening where the soil is placed into beds which are any length or shape, but are raised up from the ground anywhere from a few inches to waist height. Generally a raised vegetable garden bed is enclosed with a frame to keep the soil from washing away, and the frame can be made of wood, concrete, metal or plastic. The soil for gardening is then placed inside this framework and your choice of flowers or vegetables are added.
They make gardening more accessible for many people, especially those who may have a disability or the elderly. Anyone with a bad back will also appreciate a raised garden bed. They make gardening a pleasure for anyone who struggles to bend over.
When planted out correctly, raised garden beds can also help reduce weeds. When planting in raised beds, gardeners can plant their vegetables closer together. When the leaves of the plants grow out and are touching each other (not crowding) they help to reduce sunlight to the soil and reduce weed growth. For all those hopeful no dig gardeners, it does not eliminate weed growth, but rather contributes to effective weed control!
Soil composition in raised garden beds is designed by the gardener – what you add is what you will have to grow your crop. In this way, gardeners have much more control over wetting agents, compost and soil composition. Having better quality soil will also give you higher yields and better vegetables when compared to traditional row planting. Because no one walks on the soil in a raised garden bed, it is not compacted. This allows your vegetables to grow more easily.
Raised garden beds assist the elderly and the disabled to garden. They reduce the need for people to bend over, and the loose soil and smaller growing area allows people to garden using only hand tools rather than the heavier and more unwieldy spades and pitchforks.
When choosing the material for the raised vegetable garden construction, you should give considerable thought to what you intend to use. There are many prefabricated options available now, but there are a few things that you should be wary of if you are constructing them yourself.
Treated pine has generated concerns when being used for raised vegetable gardens as it was traditionally treated with CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) which preserved the timber but leeched chemicals into the soil. This in turn can be drawn up into the plants which are then eaten by gardeners and their families. If you like the look of timber for raised garden beds, stick with untreated hardwood. Timber sleepers held together with steel rods are another popular option for a wooden look.
For those who are not fussed on esthetics, concrete blocks tend to be economical and easy to source. There are pre fabricated garden beds on the market which have been treated so that they do not leech chemicals into the soil and into your vegetables. They will also be strong and wont deteriorate when left to the great outdoors and the elements. Pre-fab garden beds coming in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from a few inches to waist high. They are hexagonal, traditional rectangles and even circular; I have seen some of them come with a plastic covering which lets in sunshine but protects the plants from the elements and helps control moisture content as well as keep out the bugs and the birds.
There are so many options for raised garden beds that you are limited only by your creativity and imagination. You don't have to be old or infirm to gain benefit from gardening in a raised vegetable garden bed, they are useful for any gardener who wants better control over soil composition, a helping hand with weed control and a garden you can tend with just hand tools.
Have you got any more thoughts on raised vegetable garden beds?