A Case for Raised Bed Gardening

To garden in raised beds, or not to garden in raised beds?

That is the question. There are so many ways to grow a garden – from directly in the ground, to containers, hydroponics, straw bales, and raised beds. All these methods make gardening accessible to anyone who wants to grow something beautiful, but raised bed gardening will always remain my favorite method.

My first attempts at gardens were in containers, and those provide a fantastic option for people wanting to start small or with limited space. The most beautiful hibiscus I have grown has been in containers.  But as my love for gardening grew, so did my need for more containers. Good quality containers get expensive quickly, and trying to protect container gardens from severe weather conditions can be challenging.

A less expensive option for container gardening is 5-gallon buckets, but those can be unsightly and break down quickly when exposed to the hot summer sun. I have successfully grown hundreds of peppers and tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets, but after two gardening seasons, they need to be replaced because the plastic gets brittle and worn.

A case for raised bed gardening | Vego Garden

As my garden grew, my husband and I built some raised beds out of cedar fence planks. Those work great to get something going quickly, however, the humid conditions in North Texas cause the cedar to warp and break down before the season ends. It does not help the pocketbook if I am constantly rebuilding wooden beds so that quickly proved to not be a viable option.

These first raised beds were a fantastic lesson in growing food in raised beds, and we had some great success in having a beautiful garden. However, many of those beds warped and began to fall apart. We also had a mama bunny decide that one of the raised beds made the perfect home to make her nest. While we were glad she felt safe there, her nest exposed the roots to some flowers that were being overwintered.

A case for raised bed gardening | Vego Garden

Once my husband and I moved, I had a blank space to create a garden in. While I do have one in-ground flower bed, I must constantly amend the hard clay soil with compost and other amendments.

Any thunderstorms also cause soil run-off into the grass, so it is a never-ending cycle of adding soil, watching it run off, adding soil, and watching it run off. I also have a large patio that has some containers for the few plants I attempt to protect from harsh winter weather. The patio gets the most intense sun of the day, so I often play a game of Chasing-the-Shade with my containers. The rest of the yard is slowly being turned into raised beds, and I am choosing to use Vego Garden raised beds for many reasons. 

First, because we have that hard clay soil, I will spend less time building optimal soil health. I can fill the raised bed with the soil of my choice, plant, and wait for my hopefully bountiful harvest.

Second, I will be bending and stooping less with the raised beds. Let’s face it – I am not getting any younger, and my joints like to remind me as much every morning. Raised beds give me the option to work in my garden without causing more damage to my back and hips. I can pull up a chair if needed and be level with my garden beds.

Third, Vego Garden raised beds are built of weather-resistant materials that will hold up to the hottest, most humid summers, and the coldest, iciest winters. I can install the raised beds without worry of needing to replace them for several years, making them a sound financial investment.

Because the raised beds come in easy-to-assemble panels, when my husband and I reach our farm goals, I can take them apart and move them to the next garden location.

Vego Garden raised beds are also aesthetically pleasing. They come in several colors and size configurations, so you can easily build the perfect garden for your location. Neat tidy rows of Olive Green 10-in-1 raised beds overflowing with vegetables, herbs, and flowers provide a stunning view for enjoying my morning coffee. 

A Case for Raised Beds | Vego Garden

Other benefits of raised bed gardening include less fighting against weeds. Gardening directly in the ground often means fighting with weeds and grasses encroaching on the gardening space. Raised beds make it more difficult for those pesky weeds to find a new home.

Additionally, the raised beds have better drainage than the awful clay soil we battle here, while simultaneously giving better water retention for those sandy areas along the coast. 

Because raised beds are off the ground, there is less opportunity for soil compaction from human feet. Although I have known a toddler or two to climb in and make mud pies! Raised beds are within contained frames, so there is little concern about soil erosion.

Yes, you will need to amend the soil each season and add more compost or other soil as the plants deplete nutrients, but you will not have to worry about the soil erosion that can happen with in-ground beds.

Finally, the soil is warmer earlier in the season and for longer in the season when compared to the ground soil. That means you can direct sow seeds earlier and expect harvests for longer, so you get more okra, more flowers, more basil, more whatever your heart desires from one single, beautiful, raised bed. 

I understand the initial investment in raised beds is daunting, and I am adding them slowly myself. Start with one raised bed and add on as you can. Do not be discouraged from gardening if what you have right now is containers, straw bales, or one in-ground bed. Go plant the seeds and grow something beautiful but be encouraged by how gardening in raised beds can help you in the future.

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