Are Raised Garden Beds Better? – Urban Garden Design Ideas

Hello everyone! Today we will be discussing the benefits and disadvantages of raised garden beds. This trend seems to pop up everywhere on the internet these days, so we will look into this garden design. If you are an urban household or live in confined spaces, this should give you an idea of this will be beneficial for your green space.

So, what are raised garden beds?

It is a gardening method where an area is enclosed and raised from the soil to mimic a container and can vary in shape and size. The raised bed can then be filled with soil particular to the crop you wish to plant. It’s structure can consist of wood, concrete, rock or any material that can retain the soil, its nutrients and moisture.

Raised Garden Bed (photo by Kerstin Namuth)

Advantages

Adding to that, a raised bed is more of a controlled environment and to the people who love organized gardens, this is ideal! If you have a sentimental species you would like to grow, maintaining the soil in the raised bed should also come easier. Another benefit of raised garden beds is that its ideal for the elderly and people who experience back problems. The list goes on and on, but what about the disadvantages?

Here are some more advantages:

  • Improved drainage, and in effect improved growing season as soil heats up much faster than normal beds.
  • The compact space allows you to grow more plants than normal bedding, which is perfect for a small garden.
  • With raised beds you will not have to worry about your pets, children or any guests to trample on your plants.

Disadvantages

  • Too much heat and drainage can have a negative on the raised bed. You will have to water your plants more often. This can be countered with a broader framework.
  • Compacting more plants into a smaller space won’t allow your soil to aerate, thus more moisture retention (the disadvantage here is that your beds may accommodate fewer organisms in the soil).
  • The assembly of a raised bed is going to cost more than just using your normal beds. You have to think about the building materials and soil you have to add in order to prepare it for your plants

Do raised beds need more water?

Apart from the soil heating up faster, your plants tend to grow faster as well, so yes. This is also dependable on the climate you live in.

What kind of wood should be used?

Some people argue that chemically treated wood is harmful to plants and vegetables, but a definitive conclusion cannot be made. In my opinion, treated wood may leach harmful chemicals into the soil that may later lead to you ingesting it in your veggies.

Wood that is recommended is any species that is rot resistant. Here are some species that I feel are more easily accessible:Choosing the right wood

  • Cypress
  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Chestnut
  • Oak

If you do not find species that are endemic to your region, leave a comment and I’ll research it!

How deep should a raised garden bed be?

It is highly dependable on the gardener and the type of plants you wish to grow. The consensus is that it should not be less than 6 inches (15cm). Consider the root system of the plant you want to sow. It would be ideal for the soil to be able to drain itself but not to deep so that your roots are left without moisture.

What vegetables grow best in a raised garden bed?

The unique environment that raised garden beds offer allow you to cultivate crops that have specific requirements. Here is a list of vegetables that are ideal for raised beds:

  • Tomatoes – They require a lot of nutrients and having a controlled environment to monitor and add those nutrients is ideal.
  • Root Vegetables – Having an environment that caters to root vegetables, for e.g. unique nutrients and space to grow will deliver a greater harvest.
  • Leafy Greens – They like their space and before the weather gets too hot, you can have healthy harvest of greens before the sun is fully out!

I’m an advocate of raised garden beds. Having grown up in a large garden with a variety of raised beds, it appeals to my aesthetic sense as well as the cool breeze that blew past my window on a hot summer day. Most of our beds consisted of evergreens and trees, casting shadows over the water loving ferns. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about raised garden beds! 🙂

6 Comments on “Are Raised Garden Beds Better? – Urban Garden Design Ideas

  1. Great info on raised beds. I have a veggie garden every year and I’m just now coming around on making some. They really make a difference for my lettuce beds, herbs, radishes, and beets.

    Keep up the great work.

    Do you have a good resource that sells bed plans to build?
    Also have you seen the corrugated bed kits?

    Thanks again!

  2. I use to have raised gardens and designed them for looks and of course space.
    Just as you said though, they need watering just like a hanging plant. A lot of watering. Problem was that when I went to work no one else in my family watered the gardens. I ended up giving up.

    I used oak and grew regular flowers and plants as well as tomatoes.

    • I know the hardship haha.. the home that I grew up in had a beautiful garden that was well tended to. We had to move away and I wouldn’t want to go back because I can just imagine the horror of what I will find. I hope to motivate more people like you, who love gardening, to pick up a shovel again.

  3. This is very good information that I needed to know. I’ve taken to using beds for gardening to have better control of the soil. We have very sandy soil where we live. You gave some good tips about which vegetables grow best in beds and the kind of wood to use. Thanks!

    All the best,

    V. Pearl

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