This year we have expanded our veggie garden with the addition of four raised beds (plus two that are waiting for soil). These beds have been very easy to maintain and have produced so much food for our family.
The main reason we decided to go with raised beds is because of accessibility for me. I injured myself a few years ago and now I can’t kneel to work in the garden. So being able to sit on the edge of the raised bed makes it much easier for me. However there are many other reasons that raised beds are a great idea. Here are a few:
1) Weed control – Because you are going to add soil to your raised boxes it is possible to add a weed barrier underneath. I personally didn’t do this, but it would definitely cut down on maintenance. I have noticed that even without the weed barrier maintenance is fairly minimal.
2) Soil quality – Maybe you live in an area with less than fantastic soil. Maybe it’s sandy, or maybe like mine it is filled with lots of little rocks. Anyway, no matter what the soil quality is in your area, you get to decide the quality of soil in your raised beds. Buy a good quality soil and you will be rewarded in the long run.
3) Easy to reach- Provided that your boxes aren’t against a fence you can get at them from four different sides, which means that none of your plants are more than two or three feet away from you. It’s easy to get in to weed, harvest or mulch. No matter what you need to do, it’s never more than an arm’s length away.
4) Longer growing season – Done properly you can extend your season on both sides. The soil will warm up earlier, meaning that you can plant sooner. Also a raised bed is very easy to add a cold frame to, meaning that you can keep growing well into the fall.
5) High yield – a well managed raised bed can pump out an amazing amount of food. When you combine the good soil, long growing season and easy maintenance you get a lot of bang for your buck. Not to mention they are easy to do square foot gardening in, increasing your yield but eliminating the wasted space associated with row gardening.