(Family Features) A neat and orderly garden is a thing of beauty. Get a picture-perfect garden without a lot of work with raised beds. Here are five great reasons to love this type of gardening:
- Many packets warn impatient gardeners seeds should not be planted until the ground is warm enough to work. Raised beds elevate the soil above frozen ground, allowing it to warm much quicker. That gets gardeners outside early.
- Many people spend years amending clay or sandy soil. Fill a raised bed with a high-quality top soil and start harvesting great produce the first season. Just keep composting and feeding the soil each year.
- Kneeling and bending to plant, weed and work the garden is all but eliminated with raised beds. If the sides of the plant boxes are at least 12 inches tall, gardeners can sit comfortably on the sides while they work.
- Once the beds are planted, mulch generously to hold moisture in the garden and keep weeds at bay. Not only do the raised sides of the bed keep mulch in place, they solve the problem of turf grass slowly creeping into your garden.
- Extend your gardening space by sending plants skyward. Place a trellis or obelisk in the center of the bed for vining crops, such as peas, beans or cucumbers.
Beds are typically built of rot-resistant lumber, brick, stone or concrete. There is no limitation on the length of a raised bed, but it should only be 4 feet wide. This allows gardeners to easily reach the middle of the bed from either side. Experts recommend the sides be a minimum of 12 inches high so gardeners can sit while working. If you prefer to stand while you work, plant the bed at least 4 feet high. This higher box height also deters rabbits from stealing your bounty.