Are Raised Beds Right For You?

raised-bedsThe popularity of raised beds is increasing due, in large part, to the number of people renting apartments and condos who find themselves with little space on which to plant a garden. Many seed companies are also now offering compact or “bush” type plants which lend themselves well to this type of gardening.
There are positives and negatives about this form of gardening, so I will offer you a few suggestions to highlight both sides of this question.
Raised beds are especially effective if you have difficulty in stooping or leaning over.  The variety of raised bed heights and shapes is only limited by your imagination and the building materials used to construct the outer edge. Wheelchair bound gardeners can work very well with this kind of a set-up as long as the width of the construction is within arms reach from any side of the bed’s construction.
These beds also tend to have far less soil compaction since gardeners work from outside the structure instead of between rows.
Gardens which tend to be very soggy after a rain will be much less likely to remain in this condition as the heighth of the plants will allow the moisture that was not immediately absorbed into the ground to evaporate.
Plants which need several inches of soil to produce a crop will do well in this environment.  Leeks, carrots, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes and onions are just a few of the plants with this kind of soil requirement.
It is very easy to adjust the soil amendments in raised gardens to fit the needs of each set of plantings. Before the structure is set in the garden or garden location, the soil can be tilled, fertilized and amended to match the needs of each set of plantings. The raised bed is then built and placed over the soil and more can be added to the desired height.
The actual number of plants to be placed in these gardens is larger than a typical garden since no room needs to be left in order to provide rows between.
One negative to raised bed gardening may be that some gardeners prefer to remove the raised bed at the end of the season.  This can be difficult to do and storage of the raised bed could present a problem.
If you are blessed with a large yard you might consider combining the two for a nice variety.
There are also many fine books available which can help you decide. In the end it will be a personal choice which fits your available time and lifestyle.

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