For daily wit & wisdom, sign up for the Almanac newsletter.
Become a better gardener! Discover our new Almanac Garden Planner features for 2024. It’s easy, fun, and free to try!
Interested in growing food in a raised garden bed? Discover the benefits of using a raised garden bed and three plans for real raised bed vegetable gardens.
What Are Raised Beds?
At their simplest, raised beds are soil mounds created directly on the ground, but they are often framed with wood, bricks, or other materials for a neat finish. Raised beds are usually filled with a mixture of high-quality potting soil, compost, and/or leaf mold. They drain well and are excellent for otherwise difficult areas such as stony, compacted, contaminated, very wet, or nutrient-poor soils. They can even be used on hard surfaces. By attaching hoops to the edges of the beds, netting or shade cloth can easily be added for added crop protection.
Which Size of Raised Bed is Best?
For home vegetable gardens, narrow beds up to four feet wide are best, as this enables the gardener to reach into the center of the bed. This avoids the requirement for digging and disturbing the existing soil structure, and soil compaction is reduced as there is no need to walk on it. Raised beds are also useful for gardeners with limited mobility as they reduce the need to bend and can even be built on raised platforms for wheelchair access.
Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann