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Various wooden plant beds outside in a backyard. Behind those is a side view of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse. The Greenhouse has grey stain and 9 windows.

Beginning a Garden – Raised Beds

May 26, 2020

Beginning a Garden – Raised Beds

You are ready to start your garden, but which bed option do you go with? There are many options! This series will focus on raised beds, container gardening, and the traditional in-ground garden bed.

Close up of a green plant inside a wooden planter.

Your gardening area can be as large as your imagination and budget. But, a small scale raised bed garden can be every bit as swoon-worthy while doing what gardens do best, grow your food and florals in abundance. 

A few years back, the raised bed garden seemed like a compromise to conventional gardening. However, with its popularity on the rise, even the most traditional gardeners agree that this is definitely a garden to consider. So many are diving in wholeheartedly after they experience just a season with raised beds.  

There are so many reasons why raised beds have gained such popularity. Some of the main reasons are that you can place them anywhere, make them fit any space, use a multitude of materials, gain better control, and have a fruitful bounty. There aren't many negatives to this garden plan if done correctly.

Let's explore a countless list of reasons as to why this option should be considered. First, the most crucial aspect of your garden is often determined to be the soil.

“If you live in a place as I do, that soil in your backyard has a very high concentration of clay. That is clearly not the most nutrient-rich source in which to plant in.”

Angela Yoder

Close up of various pepper plants with different colors of peppers. They are inside a wooden planter in front of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse.
Close up of a green plant inside a wooden planter.

Every area of the country has a different soil base that often has to be worked at in a hard way to garden effectively and efficiently in it. With a raised bed, you are in complete control by choosing each aspect you add to your beds, and you can amend as needed.

You can achieve optional soil quality with somewhat minimal effort. With soil that is of high quality, the starting point of your garden will put you in a position to have a successful gardening experience and produce an abundant crop. Of course, other elemental issues come into play in a critical manner, such as sun, water, and drainage.  But, your soil is of utmost importance and is the area that most avid gardeners will invest the most in.

Then there is the simple but important aspect of the look of the garden or the aesthetics. You can spend your days looking at Pinterest and planning for that dreamy garden. But you can make it happen!  A huge positive is that you can create that beautiful small space that produces a prolific harvest; it is so much easier to maintain than acres of traditional garden space. They are often on the more compact size, but not always. It's entirely up to you, your imagination, your budget, and your available space. The area can be as large as your imagination and budget.  But, a small scale raised bed garden can be every bit as swoon-worthy while doing what gardens do best, grow your food and florals in abundance. 

Easier maintenance is a definite bonus to raised bed gardening. The elevated height makes access much easier for those who may have difficulty bending, stooping, and kneeling. Due to how they are built, you can often sit on the edges. As long as the raised bed is not over 4 feet across, most can even reach easily into the center from both directions. The recommended height is usually at least 10 inches, but it can be as little as 6 inches.  However, you can keep adding to the height until you are content with it. Just keep in mind, additional height will often mean more garden soil needed to fill.  

Close up of various blooming flowers.

You can typically begin planting earlier in a raised bed due to the fact the soil warms quicker than a traditional garden when springtime arrives. It allows you to garden earlier, but you can often garden later in the season as it is easier to cover crops when the cooler temperatures start arriving. 

Another pro in choosing raised beds is that you don't have to own any heavy equipment, such as a tiller to use all season. When raised beds are correctly installed, weeding is so much easier and is often done by hand or by a simple tool like a hula hoe. As mentioned above, the overall maintenance is a definite benefit.  But, only needing a few simple tools makes it easier, lends for better storage, and is much more cost-effective.

The list could go on and on as to why raised bed a regaining so much popularity. But, the primary reasons are outlined above. You can always start with one and add to them as you want and as space allows.  It's a great way to jump into the garden or switch your typical garden plan with one as the positives outweigh other options. It's something to consider no matter where you are on the experience spectrum as a gardener.