The Top 5 Reasons for Gardening with Raised Garden Beds
1. A Controlled Environment
Raised garden beds, also called garden boxes, planters, or raised beds, allow you
to create a controlled environment to garden in. You fill the raised garden bed
with the exact soil/compost mix you need for the particular vegetables you are
growing in your region, and water/fertilize accordingly. By planting in the garden
bed and not the ground itself you are able to fine tune and control your garden much
easier. The walls of the garden bed also help to better insulate it, and the warmth
of the sun striking them enables gardeners to begin planting earlier in spring, and
extend the season later in the fall. It is fairly easy to build raised garden beds, in order to create this controlled environment, although there are many affordable garden beds for sale as well.
The sides of raised beds provide a fixed place from which you can attach hoops
made of plastic pipe, and cover with a protective lightweight row cover, such as
Reemay. This lends a ‘greenhouse’ effect which enhances growing conditions for
starters and some crops full season. This also protects crops from airborne insect
pests like the carrot rust fly and the cabbage moth. You can also buy raised garden beds with greenhouses included, which provides very effective combination.
2. Ease of Gardening
Raised garden beds make gardening easier by elevating the gardening area, and
reducing the distance the gardener has to bend over in order to weed, plant or
harvest, thus reducing the strain on the gardener’s back. Garden beds are typically
six to twelve inches high, and can go as high as 36 inches (three feet). This elevated
planting surface allows the gardener to either kneel next to the bed or sit on the side
of the bed to garden.
3. Weed Control
Weeds from your pathways are naturally drawn to ground-level beds. Controlling
these weeds is a constant chore, and pulling them can often disturb the roots of
your plantings. By raising your garden off the ground by six inches or more you are
stopping most weeds that spread laterally from growing into your planting area.
When your garden is contained within a raised garden bed you only need to worry
about smaller weeds that may be less invasive and easier to remove.
When watering your garden, raised beds provide better drainage than gardens
planted on the ground. During dry spells, when moisture retention is the challenge
in gardening, beds can be covered with mulch to maintain moist soil conditions.
Proper drainage is the first line of defense against root rot and molds, which hinder seedling growth.
5. Pest Prevention
Raised garden beds are great for pest prevention, as they inhibit slugs and smaller
pests from easily accessing your vegetables, while also providing you with an easy
to cover/net area. By placing posts in the corners of the bed you can erect a fence
around the bed, and spread a net across the top to keep out birds. For improved
growing conditions as well as pest prevention you can also install a garden cloche or
greenhouse on top of the raised bed.