Planting a raised bed garden is really not anything new.   Take a look around and you will see raised beds in your neighbors yards or in public places.  It’s simply the act of creating a space with borders(wall, wood, stone,etc..) so you can add good soil.  They look really nice in addition to being easier to work than the hard ground with inadequate soil.

The first thing you need to do is select your sight.  Take in to consideration what you will be planting and what type of light it needs.  Usually you would pick a  site with sunshine at least six to eight hours a day.   Next decide how large of a raised bed you would like.    You need to be able to get to the plants for trimming, deadheading, picking or staking.  A good rule of thumb is no more than four feet wide or 3 feet wide if you are up against a wall or fence.  Ideally it is best to be able to get to it from all sides but if you need to place it agains a fence or wall, just make it narrower so you can reach the plants in the back.  There needs to be water accessible near by and leave enough space around the bed for you to work on the garden.  Placing mulch or stones around the bed gives you a place to walk without getting muddy.

  • The next step is to decide what you will use to create the raised garden.  Stones and wood are the usual choice.  You want to pick something that will make your bed at least six to eight inches deep.  This would be adequate for most plants and vegetables.  If you choose wood, be sure it is made weather proof by staining or painting.
  • Create the foundation by leveling the soil that will be underneath the raised bed.  If there is grass there it is best to remove the sod.  Place newspaper or lanscape fabric over the area so that weeds will not grow though into your new soil.  Some people prefer to have no barrier beneath their bed so that plants can grow deeper.  This is an option especially if you will be growing plants like carrots that need extra depth.  If this is the route you take, simply dig the soil that will be beneath your new soil so that it is loose and even.
  • The next step is to  build the raised bed.  If you are using stone or pavers just build them up as you would a wall but go completely around the area you will be planting in.  If you are using wood, using 2 x 6 makes the depth 6 inches which is ideal.  Join the corners with screws and place on the ground  keeping the bed level.  Simply dig down on a side if it is too high or build up the other side if you prefer, level is best.
  • The next step is to add your soil.  A mix of compost, garden soil and pete moss will make a nice texture that feeds the plants while also staying loose.
  • when this is all complete you are ready to put in your plants.

There are many advantages to raised beds, here are a few:

  • ~You add the soil so its’ good right from the start.  This means you don’t have to ammend the soil that is already existing in a garden.
  • ~Your plants are healthier since the soil is new and full of nutrients
  • ~The beds have better drainage than in the ground (just be sure they get enough water because of this.)
  • ~Beds warm up faster in the spring so you can plant earlier
  • ~Since you don’t walk in the beds they don’t get compacted
  • ~you can build them to a comfortable height for yourself

In the end, it’s all about making gardening easier and more relaxing, so if you have a flower bed with awful dirt, or need your garden higher to make it more comfortable to garden, consider a raised bed, it eliminates a lot of problems and is pretty easy to do.  The rewards will be worth your trouble.

“When all the chores are done, the avid gardener will invent some new ones.”~ unknown