Using raised beds in which to garden is becoming more and more popular – especially with those wanting to grow their own vegetables and fruit. There are numerous benefits to using raised beds as we outline below, but these benefits all combine to make a raised bed the perfect way to garden as they are easy to maintain, ideal for healthy plant growth and create an instant, attractive feature in your garden.
Here are just a few of the benefits we have identified that raised beds will provide:
Less Tilling Of The Soil Required
There are a number of reasons why you would need to till your garden soil :
• mixing in organic matter / fertiliser
• breaking up dense, crusted soil
• control / remove weeds.
Raised beds need less tilling as you can simply add a top layer (a few inches deep) of compost, mulches, manures or other soil conditioners directly to the top of the raised bed and let worms and plant roots mix it into the rest of the soil. This works in a raised bed as it is a ‘contained’ size, so the soil is retained in a smaller area making it easy for worms etc. to drag the fertiliser lower into the soil rather than spreading it into different areas of your garden.
Although we would normally till the soil in our garden to remove weeds (as mentioned above), it has been found that tilling the soil creates more weeds by burying weed seeds, giving them the perfect opportunity to propagate. So, no tilling, less weeds.
Another way to reduce weeds is to cover the surface of the raised beds with mulch, cardboard or black plastic in the spring (before planting) to kill off any weeds that grew up in the winter. When it’s time to start planting, remove the covering and simply rake off the dead weeds before they have chance to go to seed.
Less Physical Strain
We all know that gardening is good for both our mental and physical health, but gardening can put a strain on our back and knees with all the bending required. Using raised beds allows you to lift the height of the planting area so that no bending is required as you plant and tend your vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Our Ergo Raised Bed System is ideal if you want to create taller raised beds to make gardening easier. The sturdy panels of the raised beds are 10in / 25cm high and can be securely stacked one on top of another to create taller and taller beds with minimum effect.
By making taller beds you will reduce the pressure on your joints as you garden.
Protects Your Plants From Many Pests
The taller the raised bed, the more effective it is for keeping plants away from pests in your garden. Whether it’s something as simple as being too high for your dog to reach your plants to urinate on them or making it harder work for snails and slugs to reach your plants (made even more successful if you apply a strip of copper tape to the raised bed) your plants will gain some protection.
Our No Go Slug & Snail Tape would be easy to apply when you install your raised bed.
This adhesive tape can be easily cut to size and securely attached to your raised bed – when a slug or snail comes in contact with the tape a small electrical charge is created and they are stopped in their tracks.
To stop burying pests from reaching your plants you could put a sheet of wire mesh on the ground large enough for the base of your bed before installing your raised bed. This physical barrier will deter or stop many pests from reaching your plants.
Growing in a raised bed also makes it easy for you to protect your plants with a layer of horticultural fleece, enviromesh, netting etc It’s simpler to cover this smaller, contained space rather than having to cover plants in your garden.
Improved Drainage For Improved Growth
If the soil in your garden tends to be on the dense side (such as clay soil), then using a raised bed will allow you to create the perfect ground for your plants. You will be able to fill your raised bed with soil, a mix of soil and compost or compost. All three options will allow good drainage and aeration which will help your plants to flourish.
This also works in reverse – if you have super sandy soil – a raised bed filled with its own soil will retain water better, especially useful during the summer months.
Create Longer Growing Seasons
As a result of having better drainage (as described above) the soil in your raised bed will be drier in the spring and will warm up more quickly. This will enable you to successfully plant earlier for a longer growing season and earlier cropping.
This will also help in the winter when more tender plants which might not survive directly in your garden soil, will overwinter in a raised bed.
Certain plants will flourish when grown in soil will a given pH. It’s easy enough to test your soil pH using a pH meter or Soil Testing Kit. What can prove tricky is adding to your soil to change the pH, especially in a large area.
By creating raised beds where you are in control of what you fill the bed with makes it possible for you to use the correct mix of soil, compost, organic matter, etc to create the correct pH for your plants in this smaller, contained space.
This also enables you to grow a wider variety of plants as you can fill different raised beds with different soil, so you could grow lime-hating plants (such as azaleas, blueberries, camellia etc) in one raised bed, and at the same time in another raised bed, lime-loving plants (such as lavender, rosemary, thyme etc).
Creates An Instant, Attractive, Garden Feature
As the name suggest, a raised bed is an enclosed area of soil or compost that is higher than the rest of your garden. This will be pleasing to the eye as it adds visual interest to your garden by breaking up the monotony of a single level.
By creating a group of raised beds at different heights you can easily make an interesting feature in your garden which will last all year round – so even when not full with plants it will give added interest in your garden.
The Ergo Raised Bed System is ideal for doing just that. With no tools required, you can quickly get the raised beds built.
They are designed to stack securely on top of one another, so it’s simple to create raised beds of different heights which are still co-ordinated resulting in an attractive and practical garden feature.
You Don’t Need A Garden To Grow Your Own
If you want to grow your own herbs, salad crops, vegetables or fruit, but don’t have a garden then a raised bed could be the answer. As long as you make your raised bed tall enough (simply by stacking raised beds one on top of another) you can provide sufficient soil for your plants to grow.
A raised bed could be sited on a patio, driveway or paved area. Ideally, when placing on a hard surface, to keep the surface clean use a layer of weed suppressant on the surface large enough for the raised bed before building the bed. In this way the soil is contained but water can still escape.
For good drainage, when using a raised bed on a hard surface where drainage will be slower / restricted add a layer of material at the base of the raised bed of chopped twigs and branches approx. 8in / 20cm high. This layer will leave lots of air pockets for good air circulation as well as allowing good drainage.
Enables Easier Watering
Whether you are using a watering can, a spray gun on the end of a garden hose, weeping hose, or an automatic watering system, raised beds make it easier for you to ensure your plants receive sufficient water to flourish.
Larger than a standard container, the raised bed has the potential to hold more water for your plants to access – so the soil or compost is less likely to dry out compared to planters or hanging baskets.
Watering with a watering can should be less strenuous as less stretching or bending will be required, the taller the bed the easier it is to water.
And if the raised bed has free space around it, it’s easier to reach all areas with your watering can.
You can help water to be retained in the soil filling your raised bed by adding a top layer, approx. 2-3in / 5-8cm deep, of mulch. This layer could be wood chips, leaves, straw, grass clippings etc. All these mulch options also have the benefit of decomposing over time and enriching your soil as a result. This mulch layer works by acting as an insulating barrier against evaporation from heat and wind. By helping to maintain the moisture in the soil this mulch layer will dramatically reduce the frequency and duration of watering required.