By definition, a raised bed is a garden bed that is constructed up, rather than down, into a position that addresses a variety of gardening issues. Raised beds can be made by simply piling soil on top of each other or by enclosing and containing soil in boxes. Raised beds and garden boxes are frequently used interchangeably since, to preserve the integrity of the bed over time, some type of retaining wall or other material is nearly always required.
You can prepare your soil for the easiest type of gardening, the “no labour” variety, with raised garden beds. Instead,then tilling the soil every year to add fertilizer and chemicals, gardeners often maintain raised beds by simply laying materials on top. Compost, mulches, manures, and other soil conditioners can all be put directly to the top few inches of soil without the need for laborious work. In addition, the soil can till itself as worms and roots pass through. While inaction gradually raises your soil’s organic content, routine human-powered tilling tends to destroy the soil’s structure.
Although slugs may climb, the high sides of a raised garden box slow them down and give you a chance to catch them in mid-air. Slugs won’t crawl over the copper flashing, which might border your box, according to several gardeners. To prevent crawling animals like groundhogs from stealing root crops, you can also attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the box. Dogs are also less likely to urinate directly on your plants due to their height. If deer are an issue, you may either buy a box with a deer fence already constructed or put deer fencing directly to your bed. Raised garden beds make it much simpler to add plastic hoops for cold frames, row coverings, and bird barriers.
A raised garden bed can be the only option for yards with marshy soil or in places that frequently flood. The most popular raised bed depth is 11 inches or one inch below the sidewalls of a garden box with a 12-inch height. This level of drainage is enough for most crops and provides plants with nearly a foot of additional breathing space above damp conditions. Additionally, raised beds generally have greater drainage, even during severe downpours.
Tilling encourages the growth of weeds by burying their seeds and providing the ideal conditions for their reproduction. Successfully raised bed gardeners swear by covering their beds in the spring with mulch, cardboard, or black plastic to kill off all the winter-grown plants. Rake the dead weeds away when it’s time to start planting again to prevent them from setting seed. A raised bed is among the most efficient strategies to combat crabgrass. To prevent grass from encroaching, place a weed barrier at least 10 inches high on the bottom of the beds.
Urban gardeners are more likely to consume heavy elements like lead. Numerous vegetables can be dangerous because they can absorb heavy metals from contaminated soils, notably roots, tomatoes, and greens. Raised beds offer the singular opportunity to introduce new soil that hasn’t been exposed to whatever toxicity may be present on site. Positioning beds away from the road, researching the previous usage of your property, and planting dense hedges can all help.