Haldimand Press, March 2017

Raised bed gardening is a great way to grow vegetables especially if the garden soil is poor, compacted or has poor drainage.   They also are practical where space is very limited.  It’s amazing what can be grown in a 4′ x 8′ area.  And there’s no bending over to pull weeds or harvest vegetables!

The following advantages compensate for those who have had to downsize their living or who may not have adequate space and sufficient sunlight for traditional gardening.

1.  They take very little space and can even be built over a concrete patio but don’t build on your deck!

2.  Drainage is superior; 12″ deep usually provides ample depth for most vegetable roots.

3.  Various items can be used to fill the bed such as manure, wood chips, leaves, compost and bagged soil.

4.  The soil in raised beds warms up more quickly in spring.

5.  If the bed is narrow, there’s no need to step into the garden.

6. Sides may be made of wood, stones, brick, cinderblocks, sand bags or other natural materials. Consider using ash logs or defective or used concrete blocks.

7.  To prevent deterioration of wood, it can be charred or covered with plastic.   Wire netting on the bottom can also be installed to deter rodents.

8. Choose a location which will receive at least six hours of sun daily.

9. Due to its limited size, sow seeds close together .  This prevents weeds, maximizes sun, conserves water and fertilizer.   Consider growing beets, carrots or radishes in a row 10 – 12 inches wide and much shorter than usual.

10.  As shown in the photo, multiple crops can be grown.

11.  Depending on the materials and design, a raised bed can also be very aesthetic.


-written by Lester C. Fretz, Dunnville Horticulture Society

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