There are numerous approaches you can use when growing fruits and vegetables. We use raised garden beds in our yard, and we’ve found this to be a wonderful approach.
There is not necessarily one best way to garden; what’s best will depend on your specific situation. However, if you are thinking about starting a garden in your yard, then here are seven benefits of raised beds that make them an option you should consider.
Why choose raised garden beds
- Excellent soil. When using raised beds, you don’t have to worry about the soil quality of your garden site because you can fill the beds with an ideal soil blend that will provide your plants with all of the nutrients they need. You can even fill different beds with different types of soil that are tailored to the particular plants you intend to place in them.
- Fewer weeds. There are a few reasons why weeds tend to be a minor issue in raised beds. First, you can fill the beds with soil that is relatively free of weeds. Second, when weeds do grow, they are easier to pull up because the soil is loose. Third, in raised beds that are densely planted, the plants grow and fill the beds, crowding out weeds.
- Protection from pests. Most bugs get into gardens by crawling on the ground. A few of these are deterred by the frames that surround raised beds. Gardeners can use other measures, such as row covers above and wire netting below, to protect their plants from other pests. Of course, some pests (especially bugs) will still get to the plants, but you can quickly address these because you can easily walk between the beds, inspect the plants, and remove any offenders.
- Good drainage. Raised beds generally drain well, preventing gardens from becoming waterlogged. This is especially true if you fill your beds with loose soil. The loose texture will allow water to seep into it, preventing speedy runoff that might carry away topsoil while still allowing excess water to drain.
- Good aeration and less soil compaction. The roots of plants need to breathe. They can do this easily when they are placed in beds that have been filled with loose soil. Loose soil in raised beds is not likely to become compacted because it is not tamped down by foot traffic and because water from rain quickly drains away from the beds.
- Better yield. If you use rich soil with a higher content of compost and organic matter from other sources, then your garden can support more plants. Additionally, by enlisting small-space gardening techniques (vertical supports, succession planting, square foot gardening, etc.) you can use every inch of space without overcrowding your garden and reap a surprisingly large harvest.
- Longer growing season. The soil in raised beds tends to warm earlier in the spring than the soil in the ground. This means you can plant earlier in the year. If you place tunnels or hoop covers over your beds, you can grow later into the fall and winter.
The reality is that all gardening takes work, so I’m not trying to paint an overly rosy picture of raised bed gardening. A few weeds do still grow in raised beds, some bugs will still eat at the plants in them, and poor drainage can still sometimes be an issue (especially if, like us, you live in an area where rainwater tends to pool and stand). However, raised beds do offer the benefits I’ve mentioned above, making them an advantageous approach.
Do you garden in raised beds? If so, why did you choose this approach? What additional benefits can you share?
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