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Do you have problems with soil drainage? Does your back ache when you are tending the garden? Are you confined to a wheelchair yet still want to enjoy the benefits of gardening? Don’t despair, a raised bed garden can be the answer to all these problems.
To escape from the non productive or poor growing garden, you have several choices, with one of them being how to incorporate the benefit of having one or two raised gardens beds in your backyard.
A raised bed has advantages over the ordinary bed because you are totally in control of the soil that you use and you are able to garden in a more comfortable position. The different soil conditions required for individual plants can be controlled much more effectively and can be varied from bed to bed; a pH soil test kit is a very useful tool to enable you to achieve the correct conditions for individual plants.
Most plants thrive in loose, well draining soils and this is achieved in a raised bed because you don’t walk on the soil so it does not get compacted.
Raised garden beds drain excess water much better than normal garden beds, great news for areas with heavy soils and excess rainfall. This will help your plants intake of air round the root system, a major plus for abundant, healthy plants.
You can tend your raised garden bed in a more comfortable position which will help guard against backaches which can sometimes deter you in your endeavors to supply the family with fresh quality produce. It is also more convenient for those with disabilities or who have to garden from a seated position. We consider raised gardens to be a great asset to any gardener.
There is a wide choice of materials and sizes to choose from when deciding on raised garden beds for your own use. The availability of space will determine the size of the beds and how many you have. You can buy kits, or you can quite easily build your own out of anything that will hold dirt such as lumber, plastic, bricks or rocks. Lumber is the most commonly used and probably the easiest to work with.
There are a few things to think about when planning the raised bed.
First, decide on a comfortable height for you and make sure you can tend your plants from any angle without the need to walk on the raised gardens, thus preventing the soil becoming compacted.
The raised bed should be situated in a position where it receives adequate sunshine for the plants that you want to grow in it leaving adequate room for wheelbarrows and other tools.
Raised gardens should be a minimum of 6 inches in height to help correct any drainage problems; also it would be wise to enclose the area to eliminate runoff and erosion of the soil.
Usually, when building raised gardens you have to buy soil in, just take the overall dimensions to your garden centre and they will work out what you need.
If you know upfront what plants your raised gardens are going to be used for, they can advise and supply the appropriate soil mix. If you’re only raising the beds up to about 15 inches we advise you to fill them up with one half organic matter (from your composter) and one half soil.
You can greatly reduce your costs by making your own compost. To get started on composting, check out our post, Composting Tips – How to Setup Your Own Compost.
Now if your going to be looking at raised gardens that are waist high, say three foot, it makes sense that you take a different course of action to get good results and to try and lower costs. In order to reduce the amount of soil needed to fill this large space you can half fill it with rocks or sand then top it off with a 50-50 mix of manure or compost and soil. Adjust the pH levels for the plants you wish to grow and this will give your raised garden the ultimate growing conditions.
Raised garden beds are a great deterrent for various pests such as slugs and snails and also keep pathway weeds at bay.