Great Reasons To Use Raised Bed Gardening!
Raised bed gardening has now become the answer to many challenges faced by many small back yard gardeners. More and more gardeners are becoming aware of the benefits that can be derived from this type of gardening and no doubt are thrilled about it. Some gardeners or even many of those who use raised beds are not aware of a lot of these benefits.
The article below shares some of these benefits and other useful information for your home base organic gardening.
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The Benefits of Raised-Bed Gardening
With labor and a bit luck, you can transform your yard into a convenient vegetable garden
I have quite an extensive vegetable garden. It’s laid out in the traditional fashion, essentially a 70′ x 70′ square, fenced, with a wide brick path down the principal axis and another mulch path that intersects at the center. The soil is deep and rich, but there’s a problem. The area is low, and depending on the weather, often has standing water well into the late spring. One disastrous year, after eight inches of rain fell in two hours one June day, half the plot was under four inches of water for weeks.
Needless to say, after such a long submergence, the crops failed, and the garden was pretty much of a write-off. Lesson learned. So for next year, I’m contemplating a change in design, and the change I’m contemplating is creating a series of raised beds.
Growing vegetables in raised beds is a good idea for many reasons. Avoiding drainage problems like mine is one. Another is bypassing exceeding rocky or clay soil, or soil that has been contaminated in any way, such as by lead paint—a common problem in older urban areas. A third benefit is the depth of fertile soil the beds provide: if you want to grow long, thick, perfectly formed root crops like carrots, parsnips, or beets, you really need a foot or more of rich, rockless soil. A fourth: Raised beds warm faster in the spring, allowing for a longer growing season. Finally, for me, the principal advantage to raised beds is ease of use: Gardening is far more fun when you aren’t grubbing out weeds on your hands and knees.
Which leads us to the discussion of exactly how high raised beds should be. If I were going to pick an ideal height, it would be 24″ to 36″. In fact, the taller the better within that range. Why? No bending down! Harvesting, seeding, and even that bane of the gardener, weeding, become so much easier when you are sitting comfortably on a folding stool, slowly working your way down the row. (Another advantage is pest control.) In terms of width, 36″ to 48″ is the norm, again to allow you to comfortably reach the center of the bed from either side.
Bed construction techniques vary widely. Years ago—45 years ago now, when I first began vegetable gardening as a little boy—railroad ties were the choice of most gardeners. Then it was discovered that creosote, the wood preservative, was highly carcinogenic. I ate many a radish or tomato grown this way, and fortunately I’m still here to tell the tale, but needless to say, such timbers almost immediately disappeared from the market. Then, along came pressure-treated wood, which after a decade or so, suffered a similar fate: deemed unsuitable for food production. So lately, the trend has been to build the beds out of naturally rot-resistant woods like cedar (very expensive); or to use durable materials such as concrete block, stone, or brick (even more expensive); or to use other types of wood, and just acknowledge that the boards will rot in five to seven years and need to be replaced.
Personally, I’m considering using the latest generation of pressure-treated wood that is reported to be…
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