Raised-bed gardening

Shown is an example of a waist-high raised bed for gardening.

I’ve been noticing a “new” trend getting more and more popular, but I realize it’s not new at all.

I’m referring to raised-bed gardening.

Historical records show raised and hanging flower beds and gardens were utilized by civilizations dating back 2,000 years or more.

There are a couple of ways to interpret what a raised bed means.

Some folks pile up soil and may build side borders for a bed, but it sits directly on the ground soil.

The advantages to this type of raised bed include:

Nutrients and earthworms are still readily available as roots burrow into the soil.

There also may be better drainage as the plants are higher than ground level.

Less water will be used for the confined space.

The higher height also may keep out many ground-creeping weeds and smaller herbivorous mammals from easy access to vegetables and flowers.

Another type of raised bed has sides and a bottom as well.

This type needs to have soil added, and the type of soil is based on what flowers/vegetables will be grown in it.

Also, nutrient-rich compost and other augmentations should be added since the bed is not

directly linked to the ground soil.

The advantages to this type of raised bed include:

Higher soil quality/knowledge of what nutrients and minerals are present for particular plants.

The height keeps out most weeds and ground-crawling pests as well as larger mammals.

Less chance of soil compaction.

It usually is an efficient way to get the most plants in a confined space for greater yield.

It is great for city/neighborhood gardening in a limited space,

The height is beneficial to those with disabilities or for those who have difficulty bending or stooping.

If you are interested in having raised beds, consider what will be grown in them before purchasing a kit or supplies, because certain materials may not be recommended for edibles such as fruits and vegetables.

Darla Horner Menking is a Texas Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at darla.menking@gmail.com

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