The idea of raised bed gardening is not a totally new concept to most people, but its a system that is becomming more and more popular as we strive to become more self reliable and self reliant. Why raised garden beds is the question some new commers to the world of gardening are asking and whats so different to the back gardens that we always had and used. It’s not until we have had our own and we have seen the benefits of this type of gardening, that we can make an informed decision on how good raised bed gardening is.
Lets look at some of the benefits and advantages of this system of gardening and see how it compares to the old traditional gardening methods that were used for centuries and are now being embraced as a real alternative to the old ideas. For starters there is less that 90% of the maintenance and preparation required to get a raised bed in place, compared to the open ground garden. That is a great incentive to use these bed frames and has to be a big plus, when we are looking at having our own gardens.
Why raised bed gardening is so efficient;
The advantages of raised bed gardening can be seen at both sides of the growing equation, ie, at the planting and at the harvesting stages. With a raised bed frame in place, there is a very distinct advantage in the readiness of the soil, in that it’s suitable to begin planting much earlier that we used to, in the old back garden plot. Then at the other end, ie, the harvesting of our crops and vegetables, we can go on growing for longer, due to the heat retention in our raised bed frames. There are a number of other benefits to this system of gardening and in relation to the soil, which is the key element of the whole exercise, most notably, is the texture and suitability of soil in raised beds. Its so easy to prepare, its simple to fork in and mix in some new compost and as far as the watering is concerned, a little extra effort is required due to the drying nature of raised beds.
Versatility of raised garden beds;
Instead of we having to go to the garden, we can now bring the garden nearer to our homes, which is a great advantage for say, maybe elderly gardeners or people with challenged mobility. How cool is that, I ask you. We can locate these bed frame gardens in any suitable location that is preferrable to our needs. The beauty of this flexibility is, if we are not happy with where they are situated or placed, we can very easily up sticks and move to another area, if desired. We can locate these raised beds on our patios or decks, they can be erected on a balcony or roof terrace, or if needs be these can be assembled up against the outside retaining wall of our homes for convenience purposes.
When adding fertilizer or nutrients to the soil, these are retained and utilized within the soil of the bed frame and thus are not washed away by rainfall or leech away into other soil that is not being used for growing as in the open plot system. When watering raised beds, this is also a very energy and water saving exercise because the timber walls of the frame prevent water wastage and thus the soil is evenly irrigated as a result.
Improving soil quality;
Piture the scene, in an average back garden and we discover that the soil is not of an acceptable quality for growing vegetables and we are unsure of what to do next. Where do we turn to for advise or what is our next move. The answer is raised beds and I will briefly explain why so. Given that we can locate raised beds in any area of our backyard or backgarden, we can also improve the quality of the growing soil by adding farmyard manure, or some well rotted compost. Ordinary sand, believe it or not, is a great way to make this type of soil workable and pliable for our This will enhance the texture and the fibre of our soil and thus rendering it suitable for cultivating vegetables and fruit bearing plants in little or no time at all. By adding these extra elements to the soil, it breaks up the clay, infuses the heavy soil with extra nutrients and enhances the overall quality of our raised bed gardens.
The extra work that we may have to do in order to get the soil to a managable and workable quality will pay us back by the bucket load. While we may not visibly see the results or fruits of our efforts initially, its when the added amendments start to do their thing, only then will our hard work pay off. When the heavy clay soil begins to breakdown and the aeration that happens during this exercise and extra forking or digging take effect, our veggies will reward us tenfold.
Maintenance of raised garden beds;
Traditionally in the old gardening systems, this was where the bulk of our time and work was expended, but with raised garden beds in place, our workload is seriously reduced. Its very easy to keep weeds at bay and when our vegetables begin to grow, flourish and mature, their leaves crowd out these unwanted elements. Depending on the size of our raised bed and indeed how many we have set up, every year after harvest, its not a big task to add….say a wheelbarrow of compost or manure to these and mix into the existing soil.
When the growing is done and we are facing the winter monthes, its very easy to add some organic fertiliser and leave this to be absorbed into the soil for next year. Another good sourse of soil goodness or additives comes in the shape of bonemeal or fishmeal, which is available at all good garden or nursery centres and will also enhance any type of soil.
These are some of the reasons and answers as to why more and more people are using raised garden beds as their preferred method for growing vegetables. The simplicity and enjoyment of raised bed gardening, allied to the seriously reduced worload is a big motivational factor in deciding to use these methods of sowing, cultivating and harvesting of their veggies. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this short article and if so, please leave any comments down below and we will respond to you in due course.
Happy gardening to all…….
Cheers Phil Browne.
“Though an old man,
I am but a young gardener.”