Why We Use Raised Garden Beds
We love gardening, and are fortunate enough to be able to raise about 75% of our own produce each year. That’s accounting for all the produce we freeze, can and dehydrate as well as eat fresh. We use a combination of containers, raised beds and “conventional” ground gardens to accomplish this. Today, I am going to share with you why we use raised garden beds.
It’s easier to keep down the weeds
We place cardboard and the paper from our chicken feed bags under the bed boxes to keep grass and weeds to a minimum. It’s much easier to weed when there isn’t any, right? Plus, the bags are made of paper so they get composted down. The only drawback is that we have to do that each year, since the bags don’t last after a season. Cardboard also composts down and we can go almost 2 years before we have to replace them. We figure out when it’s time when the weeding becomes more work and make a note in our garden book for that bed.
It’s easier on the back and knees
Not having to garden on your knees is a total plus. I am not able to kneel down for any period of time, let alone an extended period of time, so having the beds higher up makes it so much easier on my knees and back. I don’t have to bend and stoop to plant or harvest nearly as much or as long.
It offers an ability to have a wide selection of veggies
We have 15 raised garden beds currently, and each one has a designated veggie that is planted in it. So, we are able to plant a wider variety of veggies. For example, there is a pea area, green bean area, okra bed, kale bed and so forth. We can still plant our 50 tomato plants, but there isn’t any overrun into the carrots when we use the beds.
It makes companion planting easier
Companion planting is the art of putting veggies that like each other close together, and those that don’t far away. Having raised beds makes that easier to do in the little space we have. So, our basil can go intermingled with the bell peppers, and our potato bin is far enough away from our Swiss chard.
Our raised beds are made from 2x4x12 or 2x4x8 boards, and some are cut into 4×4 boxes, some are 8×2 boxes, and we have 2 12×2 boxes that the peas usually go into.
They were made in less than 15 minutes each and have served us for over 6 years so far, with no issues. They are not treated wood, as we didn’t want the chemicals to possibly leach into the soil or vegetables. The raised beds make our life a lot easier in many ways. The only drawback I have with them is that mowing around them is a pain. We are planning on fixing that issue this year by putting landscape cloth, sand, and gravel between them. This should not only “pretty” the area up, but make mowing between the beds ancient history!