If you’re a home gardener, you’ve probably seen or heard about raised garden beds. What’s the hype? What are the pros and cons of raised beds? What will work best for you? Let’s take a look.
First of all, what is a raised garden bed? Raised garden beds are containers that hold enough soil to grow several plants above the natural level of the ground. They are usually three to four feet wide, at least the same length, and six inches deep or more. If this is your first time gardening you can read about the basics of getting started with our victory garden article.
Pros of Raised Garden Beds
There are a lot of benefits to raised garden beds. First, many people use raised beds to maximize their space. If you want a good harvest but don’t have a lot of space, a raised bed might be right for you.
Second, you can easily amend the soil of a raised bed because you’re in control of the standard of soil that you start with, rather than working with the native soil that is already there. Some of the most common soil ammendments include Perlite, Vermiculite, Coconut Coir, elemental sulfur, Compost, Azomite, Essential Mineral Nutrients, and Retain water retention crystals.
Third, raised beds are easy to weed and maintain with less physical strain on the back because you don’t have to bend over as far to work with the soil, or to harvest the produce. They also have no foot traffic to be aware of and deal with.
Fourth, raised beds are excellent for types of produce such as peppers, carrots, radishes, herbs, and almost anything with a trellis.
Fifth, raised beds are typically very aesthetically pleasing as they can be made with several types of materials.
Cons of Raised Garden Beds
However, raised beds can have some downsides. First, they cost more up front, since you’re buying materials for the walls and then buying the good soil mix to fill it with. You also might want to invest in a more complicated automatic watering system for your raised bed.
Second, raised beds are also more permanent and difficult to move.
Third, raised beds are not good for extra large gardens, but are typically more suited for smaller garden spaces. If you have a corn patch in your backyard, for example, you would probably do better to forego the raised bed and stick to the traditional in-ground gardening methods.
Fourth, raised beds aren’t as well suited for plants that take up a lot of space, like pumpkins, watermelons, or squash.
After looking at the pros and cons, what is right for you? Factors to consider include space, budget, gardening methods, and what you plan to grow. Ultimately it just depends on personal preference.