What is a Raised Garden?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes referred to as raised bed gardening, raised gardens are garden spots that are created without tilling the ground and inserting seeds into the earth. The gardens are constructed completely above ground and often make use of recycled or repurposed materials. People who do not have a space to plant a traditional garden can often set up an elevated garden with very little effort.

Raised beds give a gardener more control over soil conditions.
Raised beds give a gardener more control over soil conditions.

There are several advantages associated with the cultivation of a raised garden. First, there is no need to spend time breaking up hard ground with a tiller or a hoe. Stooping for long periods of time is eliminated, which can be good for people suffering with back problems. There is also no need to purchase much in the way of nutrients, since the amount of soil used in a raised vegetable garden is minimal.

Cardboard boxes can be used to create a raised garden.
Cardboard boxes can be used to create a raised garden.

Creating a basic raised garden is very simple. The first step is to come up with the framing for the flower or vegetable garden. It is possible to use all sorts of discarded materials for the frame, with anything from old railroad ties to used tractor tires serving the purpose. As long as the material creates a secure area for the garden, it will work fine.

With the frame in place, the next step in creating your garden is to begin the layering process. Since no tilling is required, it is fine to leave the top layer of grass within the frame. To go over the grass, lay out a solid layer of old cardboard. Ripping up used cardboard boxes from a local store will do nicely. Just make sure there is enough to complete a full and more or less even layer within your garden frame.

Old newspaper will compose the next layer in your raised garden. Make sure to wet each sheet of paper before placing over the cardboard. The newspaper should cover the cardboard, so the decomposition process will be complete and feed your plants properly.

Hay composes the next layer in your raised garden. The hay will also break down over time and provide plenty of nutrients for your plants. You can purchase the hay at a local farmer’s exchange or a home and garden shop. As with the other layers in your raised garden bed, make sure the layer of hay is even and completely covers the other layers.

Manure is spread on the top of the hay. You can use natural product harvested from a local farm or purchase a bag of manure at a local home and garden shop. Keep this layer relatively thin, but make sure it covers the hay completely.

Straw composes the final layer in the garden. Pine or pea straw will work just fine for this purpose. Both types of straw will provide mulch for your plants, as well as keep the plants protected from the weather.

With the basic garden in place, it is time to begin planting. For each plant, make a small opening in the straw and fill the space with potting soil or compost. Insert the plant into the compost and make sure it is secure. Smooth the straw over the soil and move on to inserting the next plant. Once all the plants are in place, water the raised garden lightly. From that point on, keeping the plans nourished with water and harvesting your vegetables will be your main tasks.

Since a raised garden can be any height, it is simple to create one that is high enough for people in a wheelchair to tend with ease. Gardeners who have trouble with their knees can also enjoy a garden of similar height. By positioning a comfortable chair next to the garden, it is possible to tend the garden without having to stoop or put any additional strain on the legs.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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