Looking for ways to increase the productivity and efficiency of your garden?
Enter, the raised garden bed.
The benefits of raised garden beds for growing your vegetables might surprise you.
I guarantee that there are more than you realize and that by the end of this article you’ll be wanting to knock some together right away.
So, why are raised garden beds better? Let’s get into it.
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- 13 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
- Increased Soil Drainage
- Increased Soil Temperatures
- Longer Growing Season
- Reduced Compaction
- Reduced Erosion
- You Can Position Them Anywhere
- Less Bending Over
- Fewer Weeds
- Fewer Pests
- Easy Way to Remedy Poor Soil
- Well Suited to No Till/No Dig/Lasagna Gardening Methods
- Can be More Aesthetically Pleasing
- Really Easy to Set up Garden Infrastructure
13 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
Increased Soil Drainage
Raised beds naturally have better soil drainage as a result of sitting above ground level.
Heavy rains won’t result in water-logged soil and lead to unhappy crops as the excess water will naturally be drawn down into the ground. This is particularly beneficial if you live in a marshy or boggy area that is prone to flooding in the winter.
Better drainage means that your soil will be healthier, resulting in healthier crops, most likely more produce, and less problems with fungal diseases.
Increased Soil Temperatures
Raised beds typically allow for the soil temperatures to remain a couple of degrees higher than the ground.
This means that depending on where you live, you can reap the benefits of warmer growing conditions for your crops. Heat-loving plants will have a better time in the summer, and your winter crops will also cope better with the cool winter temperatures than their ground-planted counterparts.
This also means that you’ll have increased productivity and more food from the same amount of garden space!
Longer Growing Season
A longer growing season is one of the biggest advantages of raised garden beds.
The combination of better drainage and warmer soil temperatures means that warm weather crops can be planted earlier in the spring and will likely last longer into the fall, meaning you can hopefully enjoy more fresh produce and the fruits of your labor!
A longer growing season also means you’re more likely to have surplus produce which means plenty left over for preserving and storing for winter.
As a result of keeping foot traffic in the pathways between the beds, raised garden beds suffer reduced compaction.
This means that the soil stays nicely aerated which allows for better transport of water and nutrients, and its easier for both worms and roots to make their way through.
Compacted soil reduces soil health and usually results in nutrient deficiency. Nice, loose, loamy soil, means healthier plants and more produce!
Keeping the soil contained in your raised bed also means that you lose less organic matter to erosion from wind or rain.
This more relevant for sloping gardens. Raised beds can make a garden possible on even the steepest of gardens.
But, since you’re not getting compacted soil, you also avoid erosion this way too, as compacted soil usually results in more water run-off.
You Can Position Them Anywhere
Raised garden beds can allow for much more customization of your garden design, and allow you to have a garden where you otherwise may not have.
For example, raised beds can be placed in places where there isn’t already soil, like on a concrete patio, or a rooftop. Provided they get enough sunlight through the day, and the the water run-off won’t create any problems, you can place a garden box almost anywhere!
Less Bending Over
Raised garden beds are much easier on your back, knees, and body in general.
Gardening takes a toll on your joints with all that bending over into unnatural positions. Having a raised bed means that you don’t have to bend over as much which can mean your body is subjected to less wear and tear over time.
If you add a garden kneeler into the mix, your body will be even happier! Kneeling on a comfortable piece of thick foam will keep your knees protected and comfortable.
Kneeling, rather than standing and bending over, also means that you don’t have to bend as far to reach your raised bed. You can keep your back straighter which is much better for your posture in the long run.
Similarly, knee pads are also a great option. They stay on you as you get up and move from one part of the garden to another and make it one less thing to carry! Not only do they keep your knees cushioned, but also warmer and dryer than kneeling directly on the ground.
Since you most likely brought in your soil and compost from a garden store, setting up a raised garden means that you’re starting with no, or very few, weeds right from the get go.
Rather than having to gradually reduce the seed stock of weeds over time with regular weeding, you can keep the weeds down in your garden just by staying on top of any seeds that might arrive in the wind, keeping all bare ground planted with cover crops and mulching.
If you’re new to the concept of mulching, get yourself up to speed on all of the benefits of regularly putting a layer of mulch over your garden. Your garden will thank you!
Pests like slugs have a harder time reaching your plants in a raised bed and as the journey is longer, it’s easier to catch them and remove them.
There are many old wives tales touting various ways to deter slugs and snails from your garden, but at the end of the day, the most reliable and effective method is hand picking by torchlight and tossing more than 20m away.
Easy Way to Remedy Poor Soil
If your garden has poor soil quality, or is particularly sandy or heavy with clay, using a raised bed can be a quick way of overcoming this barrier.
By simply piling up compost and dry matter, you’ll have a healthy growing medium in a matter of hours that will turn to beautiful, healthy soil over time.
Well Suited to No Till/No Dig/Lasagna Gardening Methods
Raised garden beds are perfect for ‘no dig’ gardening.
Not digging or tilling your soil allows it to maintain its integrity and keeps all of the little critters that are essential to soil health alive and healthy as well.
If you’re not familiar with the technique or are wondering why digging up your soil is a bad idea, have a read of this article.
By regularly adding a layer of mulch and compost to the surface of your garden bed, you can promote soil health and keep weeds at bay without needing to partake in any back-breaking or soil-killing digging.
If you have your own compost, this is even more sustainable, as you’re not buying in material each time. Get set up with a compost tumbler for the most hassle-free composting and turn your food waste into organic matter that will support your soil health and help you to grow more food!
Can be More Aesthetically Pleasing
Perhaps more relevant in urban environs or if your property is rented, raised garden beds can result in a tidier and better looking garden.
The soil is easily contained within the garden boxes, with nicely defined pathways of mulch, grass or gravel in between. The whole setup also feels less like a farm and more like a garden, which could be preferable if you have fussy neighbors.
Furthermore, if you’re renting and not allowed to create a permanent garden, raised beds can easily be dismantled, the soil spread over the lawn and reseeded, and then you can take the raised beds with you!
Really Easy to Set up Garden Infrastructure
The wooden framing of raised garden beds makes it really easy to attach things like hoop houses, cold frames, trellises and frames for climbing plants.
You can simply screw some PVC piping to the corners of your raised bed frame and bend them over for a hoop house, or create an arch trellis over the pathways between your raised beds and train your climbing plants over them.
As you can see from this beautiful trellis design, not having the framing of a raised bed to anchor the structure would have made the whole set up a lot more involved.
Similarly, setting up irrigation systems is really easy with raised garden beds as well. The hoses and sprinklers can be anchored to the framing which keeps them in place, and there’s no risk of running over them with the lawn mower!
Check out our guide to the best soaker hoses. Soaking rather than sprinkling is much better for crops that are prone to fungal diseases like tomatoes and cucumbers.
As you can see, the benefits of raised garden beds are endless. From being more convenient and comfortable to improving soil quality and crop yields, and having a longer growing season.
Just getting into gardening? There’s a reason that hand creams and soaps exist that are specially designed for gardening – gardening is hard on your skin! Kit yourself out with a comfortable pair of gardening gloves right from the start to protect your hands and you won’t regret it!
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with raised beds below, we’d love to know what you think!