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Idea File: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

IDEA FILE: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Beds

Have you ever thought about growing your own vegetable garden? It’s a daunting task for many, but for those novices amongst us, a raised bed garden might be the key to gardening without fear! And with spring finally here, you still have time to grow farmers market worthy produce in your own backyard. Raised garden beds appeal to those in urban and suburban communities and can be created in a variety of styles and sizes—ranging from simple, sustainable structures to elegant and elaborate works of art.

Let’s look at some of the primary advantages of raised garden beds, and also provide some ideas to help you plan your raised garden bed project.

One of the most practical advantages of raised garden beds is they provide an aesthetically pleasing structure to your garden. Many people (and neighbors!) don’t like sprawling un-kept gardens. By creating artistically designed mini-gardens, the plants are contained and the beds can become an attractive focal point of your garden. For instance, several can be arranged in a design with stone pathways and an arbor, creating a beautiful garden space.

Raised gardening beds also make for a better overall growing environment for your plants. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, and provide good drainage, primarily due to the lack of foot traffic. The sides of the raised beds also keep your garden soil from eroding or washing away during rains. You can also extend your growing season by planting earlier since the soil is warmer when it is above ground. And, one additional bonus, the higher soil level in raised beds decreases the amount of bending over that typically comes when gardening.

Lumber is one of the most popular materials for creating these beds, but bricks and concrete blocks are also used. All can be easily and quickly placed to start building your garden.

Whether you are thinking of a single raised bed or multiple, proper planning will save both time and money. If you’re looking to grow a few tomato plants each summer a single raised bed might do. However, if you’re interested in growing a larger variety of vegetables, multiple beds are necessary. If you are new to gardening start small to fully enjoy the process and not feel overwhelmed. You can then plan to add more vegetable beds the following year!

With multiple beds you’ll want to sketch a design for the layout within your outdoor space, and make sure there are sufficient pathways between your beds to fit a wheelbarrow. You can also add additional design elements such as a trellis or archways between them for more visual interest, as well as space for climbing vine vegetables like peas, cucumbers or beans to grow.

Lastly, most vegetable plants prefer full sun, so site selection is key. Find an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day. For ease of watering be sure there is a reliable water source nearby, and if your space allows, locate your garden beds close to your kitchen–you’ll be more likely to tend to the garden regularly if it’s close by and will find yourself naturally incorporating your bounty into everyday meals.

Hopefully, you’ve got some inspiration to plan your own raised garden bed project this spring. There are many online resources and tutorials available to help design and build your raised beds. Plus, many home improvement and garden centers sell DIY raised garden bed kits to get you started.

Be sure to check out the Marqet Raised Garden Bed Pinterest board for additional ideas!

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