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Raised Beds

June 13, 2013

Planting a Raised Bed as part of Phipps HOMEgrown Program (photo credit: Gabe Tilove)

Want to garden, but concerned about your soil? Have trouble reaching the ground? Want to keep your gardens contained and tidy? Looking for ways to get more veggies from your space? If you answered yes to any of these, raised bed gardening may be for you! Raised beds are a great way to garden- they look pleasing, you can shape them any way you like, and there are plenty of advantages.

The biggest advantage of using raised beds is their ability to correct your soil. Good soil is essential for a successful garden, and especially in the city soil compaction and contamination are often an issue. If you’re planning to grow edibles, it’s very important to know what’s in your soil- you don’t want to eat vegetables grown in contaminated soil, or those pollutants will make their way into your body and be detrimental to your health. Raised beds can combat this risk- you fill them with new soil, so if they’re high enough there’s no longer a need to worry about food contamination.

Raised beds can be filled with whatever soil mix you choose, so it’s a great chance to include organic topsoil and compost. For edibles, a 50/50 mix works great. The new soil will be nice and loose, and since no one walks in the beds it will stay that way, making for great drainage. You tend to get less weeds in raised beds than in the ground, and those you do get will be easier to pull.

This high quality soil also means you can often plant closer together, and get more produce out of your space. There are different methods of planting, but companion planting, square foot gardening, and wide row gardening are all worth looking into.

In addition, raised beds are flexible- they can be any size or shape that works for you and your space. Higher beds are easier to reach and manage; you don’t have to bend as far, which can make gardening easier or even just possible for some. Plants are also up closer to eye level for children, which makes exploring and learning fun.

So, convinced raised beds are the way to go? Check out this post for more details on building your own, and get growing!

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