Gardeners who are excited about planting veggies this spring but have less than ideal soil in their backyards should consider constructing raised garden beds for their vegetable garden. Raised beds are great for increased accessibility, improved drainage, limiting soil compaction, and pest and weed control. They can be made with non-treated, naturally rot-resistant wood or from recycled materials. They can also be a great way to get kids involved in vegetable gardening. Check out the following considerations for building a successful raised bed in your spring vegetable garden this year.
- Site Selection – Make sure that your raised bed will receive 8-10 hours of sunlight for sun-loving veggies and 6-8 hours for all other veggies. Your garden bed should be near irrigation or close enough to the house so that you can water by hand. Also, make sure the raised bed is constructed on a flat piece of land clear of weeds and large rocks.
- Building Materials – Raised beds can be made from wood that is not chemically treated and naturally rot resistant, such as pine. They can also be made of logs, bricks, adobe, cement blocks, or any other sturdy building material.Bed Size –
- Raised garden beds should not be wider than 3 – 4 feet for accessibility. They should be at least 8 inches in height to ensure that plants with extensive root systems or root vegetables (carrots, onions, radishes, etc.) have plenty of room to grow.
- Soil Quality – Make sure that you fill your raised garden beds with a mixture of garden soil and compost. Many nurseries sell vegetable garden soil that is great for raised beds and will offer your plants plenty of nutrients and good drainage.
- Weed Control – We recommend that you place your raised bed on top of a couple of layers of cardboard so that weeds do not infiltrate the soil and your vegetables during the growing season.
- Nutrient Availability – Make sure that at the beginning of each new planting season you add about 2 inches of compost to the top 6 inches of soil to replenish nutrients for the new crop of vegetables.
No one should be afraid of power tools! Register for our “Deep Roots: Raised Bed Construction” class in the Teaching Garden on Saturday, February 7th. Participants will be able to build different types of raised beds with the help of the SFC Teaching Garden Coordinator, and will also discuss raised garden bed care and which materials to use, including reusing household items for bed borders