Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Raised Beds

I love working with raised beds. I think that is the sense of great organization I get when I look out over the beds. But what this picture shows is the great variety of possibilities available in found materials! I get alot of my materials from FreeCycle, the side of the road, or the recycling bin!
The above beds are made of found bricks, concrete pavers, wine and beer bottles, scrap wood, concrete pieces, and rocks from the garden. If you can let go of the need for everything to match or be the same size, you can make just about anything work.

Why raised beds??

Most gardeners find that raised beds are easier to maintain and promote better plant growth. Walking in a garden causes soil compaction, which can cause problems with drainage and oxygen availability to the roots. It's also more difficult to weed when soil is compacted. With a raised bed, you can plant, weed and harvest without ever walking on the soil.

Raised beds can be filled with high-quality soil and it's easy to add compost or other organic matter. Long-rooted plants, such as carrots, do especially well in this environment, because there are no stones to hinder their development.

Plants in raised beds get more sun and air circulation and they can make better use of water. You often can plant earlier and harvest later, because raised beds warm up early in the spring and stay warm later in the fall.

Raised beds also make ideal places to grow plants that can be invasive in a regular garden – such as mints and horseradish. But ease and convenience is the benefit many gardeners appreciate the most. If you get a bad back and sore knees every year from gardening, a raised bed may put an end to those aches and pains.

Raised vegetable beds are excellent for gardeners who have trouble with their backs and older people who don't have limited flexibility. They are also excellent for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities and those who don't want to spend the summer on their knees in the garden.

I invite you to keep your eyes open to the vast possibilities of materials that are available for free or nearly free for your raised beds. Raised beds can be had for free or little money out of pocket. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in the success of your garden!

2 comments:

Shibaguyz said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the repurposed materials! Don't you just love Freecycle and construction site dumspters?? LOL What a resourceful bunch we urban gardeners are. WOOHOO!!

Beth Molaro said...

I think that one of the great blessings of the city are the bountiful resources that are available to those of us who see value where others see trash!
I am proud of my ability to scavenge and see possibilities! Besides, It is FUN!