7 Things to Think About Before Building a Raised Garden Bed

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    If you’re dealing with limited space or tricky soil conditions, raised garden beds are an absolute game-changer! They provide an elevated platform for growing plants; the perks are fantastic.

    What is a Raised Garden Bed?

    Think of a raised garden bed as a garden on stilts! It’s like having a mini garden plot raised above the ground. The cool thing is that raised garden beds are versatile, and you can customize them to suit your gardening style and needs. These beds can be made from wood, plastic, aluminum or galvanized metal. 

    The Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

    Raised garden beds offer several benefits, making them an attractive option for gardening enthusiasts:

    • Better Soil Control: You get to be the boss of your soil when you use a raised bed. That means you can tweak things like the type of dirt, how it drains and how fertile it is. It’s super handy, especially if you’re stuck with lousy soil.
    • Improved Drainage: Raised beds have excellent drainage, preventing waterlogged roots and soil erosion.
    • Easier Maintenance: Raised beds are easier to access, reducing the need for bending and kneeling while gardening. Plus, they’re like a fortress against weeds and pests. 
    • Extended Growing Season: Thanks to their raised design, these beds warm up quicker in the spring, so you can start planting earlier and enjoy a longer growing season. 
    1. What Plants Do You Want to Grow?

    Are you leaning towards veggies like broccoli, flowers, or some fragrant herbs like basil and oregano? It’s a crucial call because each plant has its own needs regarding space and sunlight. Your choice here will set the stage for other decisions down the gardening path.

    Check Out What Works for Your Zone

    Consult your local gardening zone map to understand which plants thrive there. This will help you choose the right plants and decide if you need to consider frost protection or other climate-related factors.

    Plant Selection Will Determine Location, Plant Needs, Depth Requirements, Companion Plants, and More!

    When picking your plants, remember that it’s not just about what you like to see in your garden. Your choice of plants will help you decide where your bed should go and how deep it should be. Plan to make sure your plants have a suitable space to thrive.

    1. A Spot to Place It!

    Choose a suitable location for your raised garden bed. Factors to consider include:

    • Sunlight Requirements: Most plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, so keep an eye out for places that soak up the sun.
    • Shade: But hey, if you’re into leafy greens or other shade-loving champs, they prefer a bit of shade. Just pick a location that gives them the right amount of sunlight.

    3. How Deep Does the Raised Bed Need to Be?

    Different plants have varying root depths. When building your raised bed, consider how deep the roots will go. You want to make sure your plants have enough legroom. 

    Spacing for Each Plant

    Follow recommended spacing guidelines for your chosen plants to ensure they have room to grow without overcrowding. If you’ve got some tall plants in the mix, put them on the South side of the bed. That way, they won’t cast a shadow on shorter plants. This gives all of them a fair shot at soaking up the sun.

    4. Size & Shape

    The size and shape of your raised garden bed should align with the types and quantities of plants you plan to grow. You can go for classic shapes like rectangles and squares or even go fancy with an L-shaped bed. 

    5. Make Sure You Can Access Plants in the Center of the Raised Garden for Maintenance and Watering

    Do you know what a gardening lifesaver is? Being able to reach the center of your raised bed comfortably. When it comes time to weed, water or harvest, you want to avoid acrobatics or feeling like you’re on a treasure hunt. So, keep plants accessible for a smooth gardening experience! Consider placing lower-growing plants like root veggies in the soil or certain herbs around the edges of your garden bed so that you don’t have to reach past taller-growing plants to access them.

    6. Soil Type & Quantity

    Selecting the suitable soil is crucial for the success of your raised bed. Consider:

    • Soil Type: Find out what soil type your chosen plants prefer. Make sure their soil preferences don’t clash.
    • Quantity: Calculate how much soil you need to fill the raised bed.

    7. Ensure There’s Drainage for the Raised Beds

    Ensure your raised bed has holes or a system letting excess water drain. That way, your plants won’t end up water-logged, and you’ll dodge root rot and other issues.

    Building a raised garden bed can be a super satisfying project, but here’s the deal—you’ve got to plan things out right for it to shine. Think about what you want to grow, where you’ll put it and how deep it should be, and create a thriving garden that yields a bountiful harvest and enhances your outdoor space.

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