Home gardens are increasingly popular and building one can be as easy as planting and caring for seeds or seedlings in your home or yard. But upgrading your space, like adding raised beds, can make it even easier.
Grow vegetables in raised beds to create a neater space, gives you more control over the area, and deters pests, which will result in better crops.
However, there is a lot to consider before installing raised beds for your garden. Growing vegetables in raised beds have many perks, but it’s an investment of time and money.
This article will cover the basics to guide you through raised garden bed advantages and disadvantages, among other key topics, including:
- Purpose of raised garden beds
- Advantages of raised vegetable beds
- Raised beds vs. row gardening (in-ground)
- How to prepare a garden bed for planting vegetables
If you’re asking yourself if installing raised beds is worth the effort, read on to learn how they can improve your crops and overall gardening experience.
What’s the Purpose of Raised Garden Beds?
The purpose of raised garden beds is to add depth to deep-rooted plants and allow gardeners to use different soil types. Further, raised beds can help contain plants while making them easily accessible from multiple angles.
What is the Advantage of Raised Vegetable Beds?
There are several benefits of raised bed farming that make it popular among homeowners. It’s not just that they make a space look neater with defined garden plots and walkways between beds.
- Gardeners can craft a raised bed to fit nearly any space, including slopes and odd shapes.
- Create unique habitats for different plants to ensure they get the nutrients they need, meaning you can group plants with similar needs together.
- It’s easier to care for raised beds because you don’t have to bend over so far or kneel as much.
- You can reduce weed growth by using a bottom or applying a weed block under the soil.
- Raised beds drain more efficiently.
- It’s easier to deter pests that burrow up from the ground. For example, putting down wire mesh with the weed block can keep moles and gophers at bay.
- Since the soil is above ground, you can start planting sooner. Additionally, you can fit different covers over the top to serve as a greenhouse setup or use wire mesh to keep birds and squirrels out.
- Raised beds decrease foot traffic through your garden by allowing you to walk around your vegetables and reach them from multiple angles.
The primary advantage of gardening in raised beds is having control over your space. From the type of soil you use to pest control and maintenance, it’s easier and more efficient.
Disadvantages of Raised Garden Beds
Most things in life have drawbacks, including growing vegetables in raised beds. Some things to be aware of before committing to raised beds are the time and money investment.
Not only do you have to purchase appropriate supplies to build your raised beds, but you also have to invest time to build them. Whether you use recycled components or purchase a kit, you still need to buy soil for each bed, which adds up fast.
Additionally, depending on your weather and setup, you may need to purchase and install an irrigation system.
Another consideration is that not all crops fare well in raised beds. Some fruits and vegetables can overtake the space and spill over the edges.
Raised Beds vs. In-Ground Gardening
Raised beds offer a viable alternative to traditional in-ground gardening. Before you can make a decision, it might help to learn a little bit about the pros and cons of in-ground or row gardening.
In-Ground Beds Pros and Cons
In-ground beds are the traditional option and involve almost no initial investment or construction. Gardeners typically need to prepare an area by tilling and fertilizing it before seeding, but it’s less involved than raised beds.
Additionally, you can move in-ground gardens anytime and rotate crops to work with the soil. It’s easy to maintain moisture in the rows, and they often require less irrigation than raised beds.
Obviously, planting directly into the ground has drawbacks that you can solve with raised beds.
- They aren’t as easy to work or maintain, especially if you have a disability.
- In-ground beds are more prone to weeds and pests.
- It’s not easy to customize soil for different vegetables.
- The ground takes longer to warm up, so you can’t start your garden as early or may have to begin seeds inside.
- You might need to test your soil’s nutrient levels and supplement what’s lacking.
While it’s easier to create covers for raised beds, it is possible to craft protection for in-ground gardens. However, you might need to get creative with anchoring the cover.
Are Raised Beds Better for Growing Vegetables?
It depends. You should ask yourself a few critical questions to determine the best arrangement.
- How good is your soil for growing? People with a lot of clay or sand might benefit from using raised beds to grow those veggies that won’t thrive in their soil.
- Would you prefer a longer growing season? If your spring and fall are unpredictable at best, raised beds and covers could extend your growing season.
- Can you afford the investment? It’s not just the initial supplies and construction to consider. You might have additional investments down the line.
Additionally, raised beds are more permanent than planting directly in the ground. It takes more planning and forethought to switch to raised beds.
How to Prepare a Raised Garden Bed for Planting Vegetables
Are you ready to commit to raised bed gardening but don’t know where to start? That’s okay because this step-by-step guide can help.
1. Create A Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layout
Planning is vital if you want to use raised beds. Since they are more permanent fixtures, it’s essential to consider the space and how much light each area gets. Make sure you account for room to walk around the beds.
2. Build Your Beds
Whether you buy a kit or make a DIY raised garden bed, it’s a good idea to construct your base before preparing the ground. For DIY beds, consider wood, railroad ties, cinder blocks, or even old tires.
3. Prepare the Ground
It helps to level the ground as much as possible, even if it means adding topsoil. If you have grass, you can either cut it out or leave it. Cut and place some weed block and wire mesh that’s slightly larger than your raised beds.
4. Install the Raised Beds
Place your raised beds on the prepared ground. Fill it with compost and soil of your choice, and make sure to fill it all the way to account for settling.
5. Plant your Vegetables
It’s a good idea to let your soil settle a bit before planting, but it’s not necessary. Follow the planting instructions on your seed packets and enjoy.
Do You Need Raised Beds for Vegetables?
Not necessarily, but there are notable advantages to growing vegetables in raised beds. Aside from a neater space, it’s simpler to work with raised beds and keep pests out.
Raised beds also allow you to accommodate a range of vegetables with different needs by grouping similar types together.