What is Raised Bed Gardening?

A raised bed garden is any above-ground, added garden space. It can range from custom, no-rot wood boxes or a simple bag of soil with holes poked in it to a pre-made, inexpensive kit made from recycled plastic. Raised beds meet their maximum potential when they are placed in a location that has over 6 hours a day of sunlight, are filled with good soil and have great drainage. Raised bed gardens are terrific for soil health since you are adding the soil yourself and will never walk on them or use heavy tools that will compact the soil, this will allow for healthy soil structure and excellent drainage. Because the beds are above the ground, they will warm up earlier in the spring and are easier to protect from falling temperatures in autumn by adding row covers or other coverings. Gardening this way also tends to hold off garden-eating insects like slugs.

For many, the real benefit of raised beds is the ease of use. For those with a limited range of motion or other accessibility issues, a raised bed might be a wise and useful investment.

Raised beds are a problem solver for those with less-than-ideal soil or soil that is contaminated, as well as those that only have overly wet soil or have weed-infested areas.

Here are some materials you can make raised beds from:

Straw Bales- Make a a square, rectangle or any other shape and fill it in with the soil of your choice

Baby Pools- poke holes in the bottom to ensure excellent drainage, fill with soil and there you go!

Milk Crates- A milk crate can be lined with landscape fabric and soil. Portable and perfect.

Brick or blocks- Create the desired shape and height, fill with amended soil

Logs and branches-Use stakes to weave and stabilize branches or use logs, you may want to line with landscape fabric if wash out is a concern

Livestock water troughs- Ensure proper drainage before filling with soil

Wood scraps- You can create any time of raised bed with upcycled wood. Keep in mind that only treated wood will not rot over time.

You can use iScape to plan your raised bed garden. Just snap a photo of the area, or use the powerful new Augmented Reality feature to see how it will look in your space. It’s easy! iScape it! Download the app here.