Expert Advice: Raised Bed Gardening

Raised beds are a great way to garden for many reasons. From being able to plant and harvest a bit easier, to keeping pesky critters at bay.

Empty Raised Beds
Empty Raised Garden Beds

Raised beds can be the solution to escaping the problems of difficult existing soil. Not to mention the stately look a well designed bed can bring to your earth-scape.

Raised beds can simply be mounded soil, or actual boxes with sides made of wood, metal, stone or other materials. Either way, having them allows you to add a soil mix and develop a growing medium that suits your needs.
Depending on your existing soil type, drainage factors, and sun exposure, choosing the right soil for your growing needs is easy with the great selection of amendments at Lane Forest Products. Companion planting for nutrient and water needs needs is key. (Ex: root crops like carrots and beets prefer a sandy soil with more phosphorus. While tomatoes thrive with a bit more compost and a well balanced fertilizer.) Therefore if you have a wide variety of plants to amend for, you might choose a frugal mix with no fertilizer and add your own accordingly. Nature’s Best planting mix (full of great organic amendments) is an awesome mix to get a healthy start to most all your growing needs.

Albert from Lane Forest blowing in soil to a raised garden bed.
Albert from Lane Forest Blowing in Soil

Raised beds can be built to deter moles and voles by adding a chicken wire mesh to the bottom of beds. I also use cardboard (cardboard is bio-degradable, free and worms love it — as opposed to landscape liner cloth) in the bottom to stifle weed seeds and slow down the perennial weed roots that may be underground. No solution seems to be 100% at stifling weeds, but as opposed to landscape liner- you can dig through cardboard after it breaks down instead of running into liner any time you want to dig.

Full, Healthy Raised Garden Beds
Full, Healthy Raised Garden Beds

A trellis type structure can be easily attached to a wooden raised bed to hang bird netting on to protect your prized fruit. Raised beds can also be designed to accommodate wheelchairs, or other accessibility issues. Whatever your needs may be, this is a great way to customize your garden space.

Written by Heidi Branchesi of Chezem Creek Gardens.