Considering backyard gardening for the first time? It can feel overwhelming! Chief among your concerns, you may wonder whether it’s better to plant directly in the ground or to use the raised bed gardening approach.
There are definite advantages to using raised beds for gardening. And it doesn't have to be the OMG what-the-heck-did-I-get-myself-into-now hassle, either. Building garden beds can be pretty low-maintenance.
The Benefits of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening
- Contaminated Soil - Even if you have never used pesticides, it’s possible that your soil is still full of contaminants from your neighbor’s pesticide use, nearby industry, stormwater, and more. It’s ideal to used raised beds and add soil and compost, especially if you haven't tested your soil to know whether or not it's safe.
- Easier to Weed - Raised gardening beds make it easier to manage weeds. It’s possible to implement weed blocking techniques through the installation of the beds. Weeds can still pop up, of course, but it’s more of a challenge for them. That’s not to mention that weeding a raised bed is easier since it’s higher off the ground.
- Better Drainage - In areas that might stay wet through the growing season, gardening beds can help keep plants from getting waterlogged. Gardeners do have to take more care monitoring raised beds as they can dry out if not watered enough.
- More Room for Plants - Depending on where you live, there may not be a deep layer of topsoil. Some locations have lots of clay, rocks, and other impediments for root vegetables and plants that need a lot of room for roots. Raised gardening beds solve that problem easily.
- Easier to Start - It’s likely that the soil in your yard isn’t ideal for gardening and would need some soil improvements before you could even start growing vegetables. By adding soil and compost to raised beds, you can get started this season.
- Easier to Maintain Between Seasons - Raised gardening beds are much easier to manage between growing seasons to keep out critters, handle overgrowth, and to maintain the soil in garden-ready condition.
- Can Help Keep Out Pets and Critters - Small raised gardening beds (those 4x4) are perfect for keeping out critters and pets. Backyards gardeners can cover the beds with screens when plants are sprouting and at the most at risk and there are other techniques when plants are larger.
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