Raised beds are a wonderful choice for vegetable gardening, providing an easy, effective alternative to growing in poor, rocky, or clay-heavy soil. After all, a raised garden bed is simply a planting area that sits on top of the ground. Think of it like a giant container garden.
When using raised beds for gardening, you create the growing space, choosing the size and depth of the bed, as well as the soil it contains. In this way, you can create an ideal growing environment for your plants, something that is especially valuable in areas in which insect pests and disease lurk in the native soil.
Raised beds can be quite simple to make. To create a 4 x 8 foot one, simply buy three 8-foot-long 2-inch x 12-inch boards, cut one in half, and attach the boards in a rectangular shape using 3.5-inch deck screws. The width of the bed should not be more than 3 or 4 feet, so that you can easily reach across the planting area without stepping into it. This helps prevent soil compaction, which affects how well plants grow. If you have issues with gophers, groundhogs, or voles, attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed to keep burrowing critters from tunneling up into the soil and raiding your vegetables.
Or, make it super-simple by ordering a Raised Bed Garden Kit, which comes with a raised bed frame that slides right together, plus just the right amount of soil, plant food, and Bonnie Plants®. Choose from among 9 garden collections, including the Mediterranean Garden, Fresh & Handy Herb Garden, and Salsa Garden.
Raised beds should be a minimum of 8 to 12 inches deep, to give roots plenty of room to spread and grow. (Deeper, taller beds mean less stooping over for you, too.) Regardless of size, fill raised garden beds with Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil, which will provide just the right environment for strong plant roots. And speaking of plants, consider skipping the seeds and putting your garden on the fast-track to harvest with vigorous Bonnie Plants®, which are already well on their way to maturity.
A month after planting, feed your plants with Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Plant Food. It is specially formulated to feed all types of plants growing in a raised bed for up to 3 months. Plus, when used in combination with Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil, you’ll get an even greater harvest (vs. unfed plants.)
If you’re planting into existing raised beds, mix Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ Soil Revitalizer into your old soil before planting, following package directions. It is specially formulated to help restore soil structure that breaks down over time and replenish depleted nutrients essential for plant growth.
For more information about growing vegetables and gardening in raised beds, click any of the links below.