A raised garden bed how-to, from building it to growing at an easy height

Raised garden bed made from round posts fastened together.

More and more amateur gardeners indulge into this trendy new option: raised garden beds.

Smart, convenient and cost-effective, elevated garden beds boast many advantages and are quite easy to implement.

And they look dashing, too! Let’s take a look at different types of raised garden beds.

Different types of raised garden beds

There are actually many raised garden bed types. Indeed, whenever the ground surface inside the bed is higher than the surrounding soil level, this qualifies as a raised growing bed.

Nonetheless, there are two main categories of raised beds –

  • Raised growing beds on the ground – this simply means preparing wide ridges or casings that upraise the growing plot.
  • Table planters or growing tables – this is when stands or sturdy tables are used to recreate a layer of soil at waist height. This makes it possible to tend your vegetable patch while standing upright.

This latter category can be further split into two sub-categories: simple standing planters on one hand, and full-blown growing tables on the other. They’re quite different.

  • Standing planters are garden boxes which are filled with earth. Construction material is usually wood, but newer plastic standing planters exist, too. Size is usually small, up to 3 feet (1 meter) wide at most.
  • Growing tables are long tables ideal for more intensive planting. They’re often used in a greenhouse. Atop these tables, you can place your pots and plants and garden boxes at work height. If you set up a tall rim all around the growing table, you can fill it in with soil directly.

This modular solution is best for persons who have a large garden or greenhouse, because it takes up quite a lot of space.

What are the advantages of raised vegetable beds?

Raised gardens and raised vegetable patches have many advantages, whatever the solution you select.

First of all, no need to bend over anymore – this will protect your back and joints – but, more than that, raised growing plots are beneficial for your plants, too.

Monks of old have understood this early on, since they often implemented raised beds in their cloister gardens.

Advantages of raised garden beds

  • Since you’re not walking on and around the beds anymore, soil is looser, more broken down. Roots of the plants are free to wiggle around in their quest for nutrients. Crops are more beautiful and the harvest increases.
  • Since you don’t need to go around through the plants for weeding and such, you can plant more densely and increase productivity: you’ll harvest more for the same surface.
  • The soil drains better, warms up faster in spring, and lets air through more effectively. The result is that you can start planting earlier and finish later: this extends the growing season.
  • Last but not least, for those who are organic through and through, especially with polluted garden soil. There is, sadly, a high risk of soil pollution in urban gardens. Sowing in raised growing beds will ensure you can source organic soil of the best possible quality. You can also easily amend it later on. Your vegetables will be 100% organic!

Not only is an raised garden bed very elegant, original and pleasurable to tend, it also makes it possible to grow vegetables without destroying a landscaped garden, and even grow produce on your balcony or deck!

How to make a raised garden bed vegetable patch

You’ve got several options for setting up a a raised growing bed. Those who aren’t much of a doer and those who don’t have the space to make it can purchase ready-made raised garden planters from their local garden center.

  • Many suppliers now offer this type of produce as kits to assemble. They’re often reasonably priced.

For persons who have an itch to grab a saw and screwdriver, it is very easy to do it yourself. Nothing tricky there:

  • A few boards for the siding,
  • stands or legs at least 2 inches (5 cm) across,
  • a drill, screwdriver, hacksaw and stainless steel screws will bear the load.

Some local woods are naturally rot resistant. For example, black locust can last for decades. Using these will ensure long-lasting service!

A few hours later, you’ll have a great raised planter!

  • More ideas and information about different types of raised garden

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Growing in a raised garden bed by Ofer El-Hashahar under © CC BY-SA 2.0