For some people, the restrictions of limited outdoor space, poor soil, no soil at all, or physical limitations make the prospect of gardening seem daunting, if not impossible. For these same reasons, raised bed gardening is becoming increasingly popular.
Raised beds can be purchased or constructed inexpensively and allow gardeners of all abilities the opportunity to grow something successfully. Whether on the scale of a small whiskey barrel or rows and rows of spacious beds, elevated gardening has many advantages.
One huge advantage? A raised bed means easier access to plants—and less bending over.
Raised beds also give you total control over the soil that your plants are growing in. In Burlington and other urban environments, much of the soil has been contaminated by heavy metals and other industrial pollutants. Raised beds allow you to garden in an environment free of contaminants and weeds.
Because plants grown in raised beds and containers are isolated from the soil ecosystem, you’re able to build the ideal soil structure and provide other elements to deliver the right amount of oxygen, moisture, and nutrients to the roots.
Fill your raised bed or container with a high-quality soil mixture that is suitable for an elevated garden environment (we know a good one), so you are ensuring healthy soil and giving your plants their best chance at robust growth.
Building your bed
There are many ways to construct raised garden beds, and not all of them require a degree in carpentry. If you’re willing to cough up a little cash, most local garden centers sell raised garden bed kits in a variety of sizes and materials that are both nice-looking and easy to assemble.
A less expensive option would be building the beds yourself out of naturally weather-resistant, untreated lumber such as cedar. If you can, use locally-sourced wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC promotes the responsible management of forests.
Or get creative and consider repurposing items such as whiskey barrels, feeding troughs, and even old bathtubs, into garden beds. There are so many choices and styles for raised beds, so don’t limit yourself. There are plenty of unique ideas that you can inexpensively build in an afternoon.
Just make sure that whatever you’re using has an option for drainage and is made of non-toxic materials.
Watch: Mark Krawczyk shows you why a raised bed is a smart idea—and how to get started.