For now, all of the gardening we do in the backyard is in raised beds. I love growing in raised beds.
In the front yard, we plant directly in the ground in raised rows, which is nice because it provides more space and the ground tends to stay wet longer, but I will always be partial to my backyard raised beds. Some benefits of raised bed gardening include:
- Easier weed control
- Soil that warms more quickly in the spring and drains better after a long rain
- Soil that does not get compacted
- Makes the gardens, and thus the plants, more accessible.
Some downsides include:
- Can be expensive to build
- Soil gets very hot in the summer and the water tends to run out
- As soil continues to compost and breakdown, you may need to add more soil to each growing season.
There are many ways to build and use raised beds. In this post, I will describe and explain five different methods.
If you have access to logs in your area of the country (or trees on your property that you can turn into logs), they can make a great edging for a raised bed. I found a great example over on the blog The Druid’s Garden.
To cut down on cost, I’m thinking about installing a couple of raised beds made out of concrete blocks this fall. It is simple and doesn’t require any tools (i.e. I don’t have to bug my husband to do it.) If you place the blocks with the open end facing up, you can also plant small herbs in the openings. We did something similar to our children’s garden.
Certainly the most traditional, thus far we have always used wood to build our raised bed. Check out the post my husband did a while back on building a $30/ 30 minute raised bed.
I feel like lasagna gardening is getting really popular right now or maybe it has always been popular and I just recently learned about it. Here is a guest post that I published a while back on the method from my dear friend Lauren of the blog Fancy Nonsense.
Also, a great post, Susan from the blog Learning and Yearning shares her method of lasagna gardening, which she does in home-built, wooden raised beds. I’m putting this example under the lasagna gardening method, but honestly, Sergio from The Greenman Project deserves a category of his own. He calls it the Raised Bed Fortress and uses a lasagna-style gardening method to fill it. I love it!
I was recently introduced to this style of raised bed gardening in a Facebook group that I belong to and I am fascinated. It seems that its origins are in impoverished countries where the soil is particularly bad. The center of the garden is a compost “basket” and the outside is a lasagna-style gardening system. There is a “keyhole” cutout to make it easy to access the compost basket. I would love to learn more about this type of raised bed. I wonder if there are many being used in the states. Here’s a great explanation from the site Dave’s Garden.