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What is a Raised Bed Garden?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A raised bed garden, also called a raised garden bed, is an elevated area used for planting garden fruits and vegetables, herbs, and ornamental plants. A raised bed garden can offer a number of advantages over a ground level garden, and there are a variety of ways of constructing one.

There are several advantages to using a raised bed garden. One is the ability to better control your soil mixture. Because a raised bed garden plot is more or less separated from the ground, you can make alterations or additions to the soil to suit the particular plants you are growing in an individual raised bed. Other benefits include improved drainage and the ability to garden in sites that would otherwise be problematic due to rocky or poor soil.

Beyond this, the elevation can be altered to make them easy to reach for people with impaired mobility—they can even be made wheelchair accessible; they make crop rotation easier; the elevated soil warms more and allows earlier planting in chillier climates; with new soil, you can avoid problems or diseases that have struck your in-ground garden in the past and if disease strikes you can dump the soil, clean out the area and start again fresh; and you can build pest control—both beneath and above ground level as well as above garden level—into your design.

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Deciding how to construct a raised bed garden will tie closely with what you need it to accomplish. It can simply be a raised bed of earth built up above the ground level of a garden area. Alternatively, it could be a framed area created by making walls of straw, wood, brick, stone, copper, plastic, or concrete blocks or your raised bed garden could be one or more containers ranging from barrels to five-sided, open-topped boxes—both with adequate drainage.

Any of the raised bed garden solutions can be a do-it-yourself project, but plans, kits, and pre-built items of various kinds are also available. As you are choosing your design and approach, consider the variety of possible shapes in the space you have available and with regard to access for planting, maintenance, and harvesting. Consider the look and style in relationship to the garden itself and the rest of the yard and your house. Of course, you’ll also want to consider cost. And if you’re not sure that you want raised gardens long-term, you could try an inexpensive rough-and-ready solution for a year and see how it works for you before making a further investment.

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