Elevate Your Planting With Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

So what is it about raised bed vegetable gardening that’s all the rage? Well, when you think about it, there are several advantages. The first and foremost is that it’s much easier on your back. More importantly for your plants, the soil warms more quickly, it stays fluffy because you aren’t walking all over it, vegetable crops are easier to get to and there’s less area to take up weeds. Now there is one major drawback, and that is raised beds dry out more quickly. If you take some measures to arrange for drip irrigation and proper mulching, it can be made into a minimal problem. An article by Susan Mulvihill written for the Spokesman-Review highlights a recent experience between a student and her teacher.

Elevate Your Planting With Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

Talk about your fast learners. In February 2011, Ann Windham attended a class I taught on raised-bed gardening and another one on drip-irrigation systems.

raised bed vegetable gardening

Elevate your planting game with raised bed vegetable gardening techniques. Photo by Audaxl c/o Photos.Com.

A few months later, she sent me an enthusiastic email, saying she and husband Bill had “the best garden ever,” thanks to their new raised beds and the drip-irrigation system. She included several photos of their beautiful, productive vegetable garden.

For many years, I’ve been extolling the virtues of growing veggies in raised beds. I’ve been gardening in them since 1981 and am absolutely sold on them. It was gratifying to get such positive feedback from a new convert and even more gratifying to be invited to their garden to see the results firsthand.

The Windhams live in Colbert. They have a sunny backyard with a view of Mount Spokane and their raised-bed garden is certainly a focal point. They primarily deal with deer in the area so the garden is fenced.

Ann admits she’s the main gardener but is quick to say Bill has been a hardworking partner. After all, he helped with the construction of the raised beds, filled them with many yards of soil, and built trellises and a garden bench.

“The bench was particularly important,” Ann said recently, “because we love to sit out in the garden each evening and watch things grow.”

They have 14 beds: nine are 3-by-9-feet long, and five are 3-by-14-feet long.

“We made them out of 2-by-10 common lumber,” Bill said, “and we screwed the boards together with decking screws. I wouldn’t make the beds any wider than 3 feet because otherwise it’s really a stretch when you’re tending the plants.”

They chose untreated lumber for their beds because Ann had learned in class that the chemicals used to treat wood – to make it weather better – will leach into the soil. Once that happens, vegetable roots will take up those chemicals. Because of this, gardeners should avoid using pressure-treated lumber, railroad ties or any wood treated with chemicals or sealants.

To read about all of their suggestions and tips, go to spokesman.com:

Try your hand at raised bed vegetable gardening as soon as your growing season permits. You will find that the overall control you can have over your garden will be much greater and there will actually be less work. Let’s see…more produce and less work. Works for me.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Have you planted raised beds before? If so, let us know what you ended up with and how it all went.

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.                                                                                                                             — Marcelene Cox

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About Mike Eis

Physician, Author, Marketer, Scientist, Problem Solver, Carpenter and Armchair Philosopher