If you’ve been wanting some great Raised Bed ideas, you’re in luck. Here are some of the benefits and tips on how to make Gardening with Raised beds the most effective they can be.
Raised bed gardening has become all the rage in the last few years. Either by the way of square foot gardening or just elevated garden beds. Raised garden beds help to cut down on weeds and work in the long run. With the garden soil in beds, it isn’t compacted by walking on it during the off season, which helps your plants grow and it also warms up faster in the spring so you can plant a little earlier. Since they’re off the ground, harvesting the vegetables is also easier, especially for those who have back issues.
The most used material to create raised gardening beds seems to be wood, since it’s relatively inexpensive. You can use just about any type, although anything treated with creosote (think railroad ties) should be avoided, as those chemicals will leach into your soil and pass onto your plants.
When creating your raised garden beds, make sure that you are able to reach access the entire bed from one side or the other. This will make it easier for you to maintain the plants and harvest when it comes time. I wouldn’t go any wider than 4 feet, with a length of anywhere from 4-8 feet. You will also need to secure the sides so the weight of the soil doesn’t send them to the ground. Rebar or stakes are a great option, as is metal plates on the corners like in the above photo.
Cinder blocks also make great raised garden beds, although they can sometimes be rather expensive. One additional benefit to using them is that you can add soil to the holes in the cinder blocks and plant additional plants in them. How fun would it be to have a raised garden full of tomatoes, with basil planted in the pockets? Almost instant spaghetti sauce!
Galvanized steel makes some beautiful gardening beds!
Basically, you can use just about anything you can think of as long as it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. You could even use logs or sticks gathered up (tie the ends with some rope to secure them), with no out of pocket expenses.
Planting in Raised Beds
To plant your plants, you’ll need to take into consideration how much space each plant needs to grow, how tall each plant will get and whether or not it will shade any neighboring plants. Most plants can grow in a foot space, with tomatoes being one of the plants that need more room.
After you’ve created your raised garden beds, mark off each square foot, either mentally or by using rope/twine to show you each planting block.
These planting blocks will be where you plant your vegetables. In the case of tomatoes, I would allow 3 blocks per tomato plant. This will give your tomatoes plenty of room to spread out. In the other 2 blocks, you can plant companion plants such as marigolds, basil or even spinach so you’re utilizing all of your space. These plants are low growers, so they won’t interfere with your tomatoes.
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