Raised Bed Gardening

Definition - What does Raised Bed Gardening mean?

Raised bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in beds, which can be of any length or shape, but are usually about 3-4 feet wide. The soil is raised above the ground and is usually enclosed by a frame made of wood, rock, or concrete blocks, and may be enriched with compost.

The vegetable plants in a raised bed garden are spaced in geometric patterns, much closer together than in conventional row gardening. The spacing is such that when the vegetables are fully grown, their leaves just barely touch each other, creating a microclimate in which weed growth is suppressed and moisture is conserved.

Raised bed gardens are often the foundation of square-foot gardening, a method of planting plants in grids.

MaximumYield explains Raised Bed Gardening

Raised beds provide the grower with a variety of benefits. For example, they extend the planting season. They can also reduce weeds if designed and planted properly and they reduce the need to use poor native soil. Since the gardener does not walk on the raised beds, the soil is not compacted and the roots have an easier time growing.

The close plant spacing and the use of compost generally results in higher yields with raised beds in comparison to conventional row gardening. Waist-high raised beds enable the elderly and physically disabled to grow vegetables without having to bend over to tend them.

Raised garden beds are also known as garden boxes. They are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They help to keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier against pests such as slugs and snails. The sides of the beds keep the garden soil from being eroded or washed away during heavy rains. In many regions, gardeners are able to plant earlier in the season because the soil is warmer and better drained when it is above ground level.

By raising the soil level, raised garden beds also reduce back strain when bending over to tend the bed. This is especially helpful to older gardeners or people with bad backs. If the beds are built well, the gardener can also just sit on the edge of the bed while weeding, and for some gardeners with back problems, this is the biggest benefit of all.

Raised beds are not the same as garden planters, as garden planters are elevated containers that have bottoms to prevent the soil from falling out. Garden planter bottoms usually are slatted, with some type of semi-permeable cloth barrier which permits drainage. Raised beds, however, do not have bottoms and are open to the ground. This offers the benefit of permitting plant roots to go further into the ground for available nutrients. Raised garden beds are available in a variety of different materials, or they can be made with relative ease.

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