This year in our new yard, we have decided to build a raised bed for our garden. A raised bed can be built with a variety of non-toxic materials: concrete blocks, brick, untreated wood. (Treated wood contains toxic chemicals that can leach into the soil and enter the plants.) Sunset has great step-by-step instructions to create a 4’ x 8’ wood bed. A four-foot width, with sides 12–16 inches high, is ideal because it allows you to sit on the edge and reach into your plants. A raised bed has many other advantages:
- Space saving—since you do not need walking space between each row (only between beds), they take up less space.
- Longer planting season—raised beds warm up earlier in the spring and hold onto heat longer in the fall, allowing you earlier and later planting.
- Reduced soil compaction because you don’t walk on the growing medium.
- Better drainage and retention of water, as well as aeration of the soil due to the minimal soil compaction.
- Bigger yields due to greater root development—the benefits to the soil benefit the plants!
Do you have raised beds in your garden? What benefits have you found?
Image Source: “raised bed” by Aka Hige
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