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Raised Beds

Image from Joe Gardener (https://joegardener.com/podcast/raised-bed-gardening-pt-1/)

Benefits of raised garden beds

A raised garden bed is simply a garden bed with some barrier so that it is higher off the ground. This is more expensive than simply growing in the ground but it does have some advantages, such as:

  • 1. No tilling is better for the soil
  • 2. Your back will thank you
  • 3. Raised beds look nicer
  • 4. Raised beds help keep out critters
  • 5. Raising your soil means better drainage
  • 6. You will have fewer weeds and crab grass
  • 7. You can plant raised beds earlier in the season
  • 8. Raised beds can be temporary
  • 9. Raised beds avoid contaminated soil
  • 10. Raised beds are great for beginners

Here’s a detailed explanation of all these 10 reasons:

Building raised garden beds

Building raised garden beds is a practical and straightforward way to create organized, contained planting areas. There are various methods and materials you can use to construct raised garden beds. Here are some common approaches:

1. Basic Wooden Frame:

  • Materials: Untreated or naturally rot-resistant wood (cedar or redwood are good choices), galvanized screws or nails.
  • Method:
    • Measure and mark the desired size of the raised bed on the ground.
    • Cut the wood to the appropriate lengths to create the frame.
    • Assemble the wooden boards at the corners to form a rectangular or square frame.
    • Secure the corners using galvanized screws or nails.
    • Place the frame in the marked area and level it by adjusting the soil underneath.
    • Optionally, line the interior with weed barrier fabric to prevent weed growth.

2. Concrete Blocks or Bricks:

  • Materials: Concrete blocks or bricks, leveling sand, optional rebar or adhesive.
  • Method:
    • Arrange the concrete blocks or bricks to form the perimeter of the raised bed.
    • Ensure the blocks are level and stable. Use leveling sand if necessary.
    • Stack the blocks or bricks to the desired height.
    • For added stability, consider inserting rebar into the hollow cores or use adhesive to bond the blocks together.

3. Recycled Materials:

  • Materials: Old pallets, reclaimed lumber, or recycled materials.
  • Method:
    • Disassemble old pallets and use the wooden boards to construct the raised bed frame.
    • Alternatively, repurpose reclaimed lumber or other recycled materials to build the bed.

4. Metal or Composite Materials:

  • Materials: Galvanized metal sheets, corrugated iron, composite lumber (recycled plastic and wood fibers).
  • Method:
    • Cut and shape the metal sheets or composite lumber to the desired dimensions of the raised bed.
    • Assemble the metal sheets or composite boards to form the frame.
    • Secure the joints using appropriate fasteners.

5. Modular Kits:

  • Materials: Pre-made raised garden bed kits available in gardening centers or online.
  • Method:
    • Purchase a raised bed kit with interlocking components or modular pieces.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the kit.

6. Keyhole Garden Beds:

  • Materials: Stones, bricks, or cinder blocks, and a central composting basket.
  • Method:
    • Arrange stones, bricks, or cinder blocks in a circular or keyhole shape to form the raised bed.
    • Leave an opening on one side to insert a central composting basket.
    • Fill the composting basket with kitchen scraps and organic materials for continuous composting and nutrient supply.

Remember to choose materials that are safe for gardening and avoid pressure-treated wood or chemically-treated materials, as they can leach harmful substances into the soil. Building raised garden beds is a creative and versatile process, allowing you to tailor the beds to your garden’s specific needs and aesthetic preferences.

You can also adapt the Hugelkultur method for use in raised garden beds

Videos to watch

Here’s a video on a perfect raised garden bed mix. You can start with any soil you might have, but it is worth it to invest in good quality soil in your bed mix over time.

Follow the Self Sufficient Me Youtube channel for a deep learning experience all about raised garden beds.

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