Building raised garden beds is a great way for new gardeners to get their fingers green for the first time. Easier to manage than traditional beds, raised beds allow you to carry out all of your gardening from the safety of the lawn, or garden path – without having to worry about compressing the soil of your flowerbed underfoot. This can compact the earth around your plants’ roots, reducing their contact with the air they need in order to grow.
The earth used in a raised garden bed should be a mixture of soil and compost, removing the complication of ‘bad dirt’ from your gardening – a problem which faces many gardeners in urban areas. Water drainage is more effective with raised bed gardening, which again, allows plants to breathe easier.
In some areas of the world, such as South America, where the soil saturation is extremely high, raised bed gardening is often the only way you can grow many types of plants.
Plants can be placed closer together, thanks to the improved drainage and aeration raised garden beds can offer, which allows for a greater population of sprouts (and reduced weed growth) in a smaller area. Studies have shown that elevated garden beds can yield between 1.4 and 2 times as many flowers or vegetables as traditional beds.
Resist the urge to overcrowd your seeds, however. Although in a raised garden bed you don’t need to allow for places to step while gardening, concentrating too many seeds in a small area will harm your plants’ growth.
Apart from the obvious advantage of bringing your garden to you, and reducing the need to bend down when planting, weeding and harvesting, raised garden beds let you manage your sprouts’ water, fertiliser and compost more effectively. Nutrition can be directed where necessary, and varied from bed to bed.
Before I began gardening in raised beds, I would suffer terrible bad backs the following day, as a result of bending over a bush for hours on end. Since I built my elevated beds my back hasn’t given me any trouble at all.
A carefully designed and well-kept raised planter can perk up even the most drab garden. Raised beds can be made into a shape of your choosing, making them decorative as well as highly functional alternatives to traditional bed gardening. Whether you’re a master planter, or a green-fingered green-horn, raised garden beds make a wonderful addition to your garden or allotment.