Raise 'em up!
I've been doing a lot of thinking and planning for my little backyard farm. You might recall I said that I am turning the rest of my backyard into gardens. When I thought about how I wanted to do this, I knew right away that I wanted to do raised beds. There are so many benefits to raised beds, so I wanted to tell you about a few of them. If you are starting a garden this year, a raised bed is a great way to go.
There are SO many options when it comes to raised beds. They can be as high or as low as you want them and made out of so many different materials. I have six in my backyard right now. One I made from untreated wood. Two are plastic ones that I bought for my kids. And the others are made from cinder blocks that I got from the landfill. They are rather low to the ground. The picture above is of my wooden bed and the two plastic ones. I could go on and on about what types of materials to use to build them, but that would make for a long blog post. So, if you have questions about raised beds, leave a comment below and I'll be sure to reply!
OK. So what are the benefits of raised beds? Well, let's highlight just a few of them.
Better Soil. I started my first garden directly in the soil in my backyard and it's very sandy. I learned very quickly that my plants didn't like sandy soil, so I had to add compost and organic matter over the years. If you begin your garden in a raised bed, you can make your own soil (or buy quality compost) so that your plants have what they need right from the start.
Weed Control. Weeds are every gardener's worst nightmare, but in a raised bed you can put down a weed barrier at the bottom of the bed (I just put down a thick layer of newspaper and then put my soil on top of that) and you keep those nasty weeds from growing up through the soil. You may still get a few weeds in the bed, but they will be far fewer...and easier to pick due to it being a raised bed.
Higher Yields. Raised beds tend to produce more fruit and veggies because you start off with better soil. There is also much less (or none at all) soil compaction because you aren't walking on the soil. Less compaction means your plant roots will be happier, thus another reason for higher yields.
Extend the Growing Season. Depending on where you are, you have to wait for the soil to warm up to be able to plant. With a raised bed, the soil heats up more quickly than ground soil does. That means you can plant earlier. Make some mini hoop houses to go over your beds and you can plant even earlier!
Save Your Back. A lot of people would like to garden, but their backs just won't allow them to. If you make a nice, high raised bed, you can reduce your back strain because you don't have to bend over as far to plant or harvest your crops.
Soil Stays Put. Heavy rains are just a part of gardening. When you have a raised bed, you don't have to worry about your soil washing away during a heavy storm...or during the winter months when your beds lay fallow.
Creativity. You can make your raised beds out of just about anything, and put them just about anywhere. You can really beautify your landscape if you place them just right.
So...these are just a few of the benefits of raised beds. Do you have raised beds? What are some of the benefits you have seen when you grow in them? Post your pictures below! I'd love to see how you garden!
This is all for now, garden gurus. Until next time....
Happy garden thoughts!!!