Unused sloping backyards, reduced mobility and better control over soil structure are some of the many benefits to installing raised garden beds. The answers to the following questions exemplify why raised beds can be a really good idea.
Why can’t I grow anything in my soil?
Unless you are blessed with an abundance of deep, rich, volcanic soil in your backyard, you will probably need to improve it to make it fertile. Whether your soil is composed of sand or clay, both will need bulking up with the addition of compost and manure to enable your plants to grow well. By concentrating your efforts on improving the soil contained within raised beds, it’s possible to give your plants the very best they deserve without breaking your back.
How can I make my garden easier to tend?
Gardeners with limited mobility find bending down to plant, weed, mulch, prune, pick and harvest a physical impossibility. By making a raised bed it is possible to design the work level to be at a comfortable height for the gardener. When calculating the ultimate height of a raised bed, take into consideration the height of the plants you will be growing in it.
The shape of the bed is an important consideration, too. Gardens at wheelchair height should be circular or oval to enable smooth access to each part of the bed. Arthritic or rheumatoid gardeners may benefit from beds built onto platforms so they can work at waist height. In either case, the bed should be designed so that each section is accessible to the gardener.
How can I make the most of my small back yard?
Sloping yards can be turned into useable, structured and productive areas by terracing of raised beds. Raised beds give the gardener the option of planting on different levels. Install climbers or taller shrubs at the back of the raised bed to make the most of the vertical space. In the centre of the raised bed medium-sized annuals, perennials or small flowering shrubs will provide year-round colour in the horizontal space that this section affords. At the front of the bed, groundcovers can be allowed to spill over the edge in a colourful cascade, again taking advantage of vertical space.
If you make the structural edge of the bed wide enough, it can also be used as informal seating, while niches in the wall can be designed to accommodate a barbecue or garden seat.
What can I grow in a raised bed?
Raised beds are ideal for annual and perennial plants which require a high level of maintenance. All herbs and vegetables, all annual flowers, many perennial flowers, fruits such as strawberries, small fruit trees and shrubs flourish in an average-size bed. Raised beds created on a large scale can accommodate just about anything, and are especially good for native plants that require excellent drainage. Modern potagers, which contain a mixture of edible and ornamental herbs and vegetables, lend themselves perfectly to cultivation in raised beds.
What do I build raised garden beds with?
The limit is only endless by your imagination. Thick timber structures and prefab galvanised beds are popular. Stone walls add a touch of class. Ironised copper panelling is on trend now.
What is the best soil to use for raised garden beds and how?
Add a layer of course gravel at the bottom for free draining. Next fill the bed with either Searles Garden Soil with a layer of 5 IN 1 Organic Plant Food at the top dug through or if you are using your existing soil add a thick layer at the top with 5 IN 1 dug through. Water in the soil to compact the soil. Leave for two weeks to compress down and add more soil to the level you are happy with.
Fill your raised garden bed with these soils full of rich composts and fertiliser ready for growing.