Talk to me about raised beds.

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Ronni, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    I hear the term from time to time......here, from friends, in my local Home Depot, and I realize I've never understood what it means.

    What defines a raised bed? What use is it? What would make you decide you needed one? Should *I* have one/several?

    Please, share your knowledge. You're talking to someone who thinks it means putting what you sleep in onto risers to make it easier to get into and out of. ;)
     
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  3. TheBip

    TheBip Young Pine

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    Basically a raised bed is a garden bed that sits above ground :) The simplest ones have 4 sides and are square or rectangular, although they can certainly be many other shapes. They can be short or tall, made of wood, concrete blocks, even lego blocks (I saw an article about that the other day!).

    Heres a pic of my raised berry bed
    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from TheBip's Garden )

    It doesnt look quite so pretty anymore haha the chicken wire is gone (only had it to keep out the dogs, but theyre gone now, only Angel is left and she stays out).
     
  4. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    John posted photos of his raised bed garden... Converting my garden to Accessible

    If have physical problems getting up and down to plant and harvest, if you soil is not conducive to growing anything and sometimes they fit into the available gardening area easier than in ground plantings.
     
  5. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Our "raised beds" don't have sides. We simply scooped out a path around our vegetable gardens, tossed the dirt into the garden and put wood chips in the path. It is raised about 6" from the level soil, since we have added lots of compost (bless you, chickens!).
    Our gardens are large, and my husband tills them, so we don't want permanent sides on them, plus it would be awfully expensive! We do have a raised bed herb garden with bricks as edging. Three layers of bricks, with the soil line raised to the top of the second brick. Since these plantings are pretty permanent, I don't need to dig or cultivate often.
    Advantages (as I see them): more control over the soil type, easier to reach for planting, weeding, and harvesting, and general tidy look to the garden.
    Disadvantages: cost of materials to edge the bed and additives to the soil, limited space if you want to grow something big like corn or running vine cucumbers or squash.
    It doesn't have to be either/or. Raised beds and in-ground beds are compatible, and each have their uses.
     



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  6. Kiasmum

    Kiasmum In Flower

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    If they're positioned correctly then you can work on them without actually trampling on the soil and apart from not compacting the soil you can avoid muddy shoes etc.

    Most kits that you can get if you can't make your own are about a yard or metre wide.
     
  7. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    This is our raised bed. We did it this way because of lack of sun and too much moisture in the ground:



    [​IMG]
    Step III - view from the east ( photo / image / picture from Droopy's Garden )
     
  8. Sydney Smith

    Sydney Smith In Flower

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    Hi all. Lots of advantages to raised beds as signified by the comments made here already. For myself apart from some of these mentioned they are made to increase height and thus with suitable additions such as grit etc to improve the soil drainage to grow particular plants which need this including Alpines etc. Syd.
     
  9. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    Our lot is not level so I have used raised beds for terracing. We have used a variety of materials over the years, timbers, rocks, tree limbs, and a variety of cement blocks. Here are a few as they look today. Most hold perennials or blueberry bushes.

    [​IMG]
    Branches making a raised bed ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

    [​IMG]
    Rocks/boulders ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

    [​IMG]
    Terracing ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

    [​IMG]
    Mixed cement blocks ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

    [​IMG]
    Cement blocks over time ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )
     
  10. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread I started.....'tis the season and all that so I've been super busy (and sick) and there's just too much going on!


    I really appreciate all the information and the pictures. I had no idea there were so many different kinds and types and styles. I'd seen terraced gardens before but never realized that those are essentially just very ornamental and pretty raised beds!

    Droopy and Jewell, I love the weathered look of your beds and terracing!

    You've all given me a lot to think about. It's a good thing it's the middle of winter or I might be tempted to go buy rocks or lumber or something, and start in on a raised bed of my own. ;)
     

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