Garden beds that are raised add a new concept to the experience of gardening. These beds are raised mainly to be useful for the gardener that has a limited space for gardening, and is easy to reach for the disabled, those with arthritis, and the elderly. These raised beds can be built at a level that reduces aches and pains caused by bending or kneeling on the ground for any length of time.
Plants generally grow better in elevated beds than they do in the ground because compacting of the soil will not occur plus the drainage is much better. Elevated garden beds usually get warm quicker in the spring and continue to stay warm during fall which means your growing season will be longer. Because the soil is above the ground in these raised gardens the sun and the air will warm it up quicker. This allows you to plant earlier to get better germination if you live in northern climates.
Some of the other benefits to having garden beds that are raised are of course they are reachable which makes improving and harvesting the garden more of a joy instead of a task. The drainage is much better eliminating waterlogged soil; the soil content is more organic because you will be bringing in manure, compost, and organic soil instead of ground soil. The appearance of your raised garden will be more attractive because you will find it more of a joy to maintain.
Gardening in raised beds means you are growing your plants in containers that are above the ground, you can also terrace your garden beds at the same time. You can build a wooden framed structure and fill with soil; You can also use concrete blocks, bricks or any type of material you can find to build your structure. You can also purchase raised garden bed kits at your local garden nursery or home improvement center.
If you decide to have raised vegetable garden beds it is a good idea to consider companion planting. Companion vegetables and herbs will help control the insects and improve the health of the garden. For instance, carrots, parsley, and onions are companion plants for growing tomatoes but cabbage and cauliflower should be far away. You also need to rotate the vegetables every year, for instance if you plant tomatoes in one bed this year plant them in a different one next year, this will discourage insect pests and some pathogens. These pests and pathogens will remain in the soil over winter and infect that same crop the following year.
Raised bed gardening makes pest control a lot easier to handle. If your garden has problems with the burrowing rodents all you have to do is line the bottom of the bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire. Controlling the weeds are easier because you have the ease of walking completely around the garden beds and you will not be bending over to pull them out. Your rows of vegetables will be closer together because now you will not be walking between them to harvest.
Once you start gardening with raised garden beds you may not want to go back to in ground gardening. Your vegetable garden, herb garden, and flower garden will be so much easier to maintain, harvest, and cultivate. This type of gardening is great for grandma and grandpa but children may find they might like to have a garden bed all to themselves to maintain.