Raised Bed Gardening Takes Plants to New Heights

Raised Bed Gardening Takes Plants to New Heights

Raised Bed Gardening

Hurrah! It’s planting time in Arizona where the use of raised bed gardening will help ensure that our plants are healthy and grow to new heights. Let me explain what I mean by raised bed gardening.

What Is Raised Bed Gardening

According to Gardener’s Supply Company (www.gardeners.com) out of Vermont, “Raised garden boxes are easier to plant, weed, water and harvest than in-ground beds. Above ground beds also produce bigger & better yields in a smaller space than traditional garden rows.”

Oh, wow! That sounds like just what I need to prepare my garden. Where I live, our soil has an overabundance of clay which makes it very alkaline. To make it worse, below the surface level is what is known as caliche which is very hard. Plants don’t hardly have a chance of living very long because their roots won’t be able to break through that caliche. Not only that, our soil is very low in nutrients – let alone digging and turning the soil is a nightmare.

So, raised bed gardening sounds like the perfect solution. Besides being easier on my poor bad back, I can have just about any size and shape that my little ‘ole heart desires – anywhere from 2′ wide to usually 4’ wide and a wide assortment of heights. Just take a look at some of the types of materials you can use to make raised beds.

What are raised beds made from?

Raised beds are made from a wide variety of materials. Below is a list of materials that I have read about and familiar with. If there appears to be more interest, I will certainly attempt to delve into them more. So, here we go with the list of raised beds:

• Wood – usually cedar although I have also seen pine.
• Rock
• Concrete Blocks
• Wooden Pallets
• Aluminum
• Plastic
• Pre-fabricated bed
• Bricks
• Railway Sleepers

Just in case I missed some, you can check for more ideas of shapes and types for your raised bed gardening by checking out Brittany Bukey’s Raised Beds Pinterest.

Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening

I briefly mentioned the benefits of raised bed gardening when I provided Gardener’s Supply’s definition. Here is a short list of what I consider to be benefits for the 4-in-1 Modular Raised Bed that I chose as my favorite.

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(affiliate link)

• Different Shapes – I can use my creativity to incorporate the best shape for my garden. There are actually two different styles. Gardener’s also has the 10-in-1 Modular Raised Bed. (The 10-in 1 Modular can be set up in one of ten shapes.)
• The height is just right for me.
• The modular raised bed is easy to put together.
• I can buy as I go along and according to my budget.
• Using a child’s shovel, it is easy to mix the compost from the Elevated Garden Booster Kit with the All-Organic Self-Watering Container Mix (affiliate links) in a 50/50 ratio.

Cons of Raised Bed Gardening

• The initial investment can be more expensive than if you are planting in the ground.
• You need to allow room for those plants that like to spread out – like your squashes. You need to think about how you are arranging your plants so you don’t cramp those that don’t take a lot of room.
• Raised beds drain more efficiently than in-the-ground planting, so you may find you need to water more frequently.

So are you prepared in your gardening zone? Have you made a decision on whether or not you might give raised bed gardening a try? We encourage you to spread your wings and look for new ways to prepare food for the future. As a case in point, are you prepared should all the food be gone from store shelves in a catastrophe? Not only are the fruits and vegetables of your labor delicious, but there are other benefits of as well:

• Stress Relief
• Builds your self-confidence when you realize that you can prepare for your family
• Provides exercise
• Especially for seniors, it allows you to use your hands in a way that increases flexibility and dexterity
• I don’t have statistics to back this up, but I read that gardening can improve brain health and lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s.
• Get your vitamin D from the sun when tending to your garden.
• It seems that getting your hands dirty from the soil may actually be good for you? (http://eartheasy.com/blog/2014/09/6-unexpected-health-benefits-of-gardening/)
• You just feel better when you’re working out in the yard (or at least we do).
• Turn it into a family event and you’ll find yourself getting the unexpected benefits of quality time with your kids or grandkids.

What more reasons do you need to get into gardening? Raised bed gardening will not only take your plants to new heights – but also you! 

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