Deciding to grow your own produce is an excellent decision and one that’s dual-serving in many ways. Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally, but taking care of your garden becomes a therapeutic ritual and hobby. It’s relaxing and becomes more and more engaging the longer you grow. Plus there’s the beauty of watching your garden produce its bounty, the compliments you get from neighbors and others, and less reliance on the supply chain and trucked-in food.
If you want an effective and functional garden, consider installing raised garden beds in your yard. While raised (above-ground) beds require a higher investment, they have a variety of benefits over the in-ground route here in the Twin Cities region.
Advantages of Raised Beds for Growing Vegetables
Controls the soil conditions
No matter how capable you are at gardening, sometimes the soil in your yard is just not very hospitable. Maybe the soil is too sandy or dense with clay, both leading to water not being properly absorbed. What if it’s too bogged down and soggy for anything to grow? Or it could be stripped of all nutrients that are needed to sustain a vegetable garden.
Fortunately, when you have a raised garden bed you’re able to add healthy soil above the ground and within the perimeter of the bed, so you have complete control! You can use the perfect mix for your plants and provide both proper absorption and needed nutrients. This gives your garden a leg up, especially if you’re limited on space or soil options.
We hate them, you hate them, and your garden does too! On the heels of discussing how you control the soil with raised garden beds, this also helps minimize weeds and transplants. Having the new “clean” soil is a big plus over your yard’s natural soil (in most cases) and you can add a layer of weed barrier fabric beneath the bed to stifle growth even further.
Some wildlife and pest control
We rarely say anything is 100% critter-proof because nature tends to find a way, but we can make it much harder. When you have corrugated steel or wood walls surrounding your garden, you can really restrict what can dig or burrow in. Even more protective, you can add chicken wire or metal mesh in the layer between the clean soil and your ground to squash any attempts to come from directly below.
We also recommend making some sort of vertical fence or barrier above the bed walls too and adding a gate for entry. This is for keeping larger animals like deer from easily walking up and eating your crop. It’s fairly easy to incorporate 4×4 or 6×6 vertical posts around your beds. For example, each corner post can extend up to eight (8) feet. Pair those with upper support boards and you’ve just created a nice rigid frame. This is the perfect backdrop for stapling/screwing some serious mesh, whether a synthetic material that’s resilient or metal like chicken wire. You just want it super taut and secured every 8 to 12 inches, as deer can be pretty determined to wiggle past if it’s loose.
Let’s face it, as we age it becomes more of a chore to get up and down off our knees or bend over all day tending the garden. Raised beds can be merely a foot off the ground, but you can take them as high as you want. We really love the two to three-foot range as you really save yourself some work by bending less and squatting more. Plus you really feel like you’re in the garden at that height with the soil that much higher and closer to you. We’ve found ourselves “inspecting” more as it’s easier to see. Lastly, come harvest season it’s convenient to walk around the beds collecting when they’re already within reach!
We’re a little OCD and like things neat and tidy, so we love installing raised vegetable or flower gardens because everything is contained! Depending on how much space you have to work with and how large of a garden you’d like, you can create amazing stone walkways and sitting areas within the design. Sometimes we’ll put a water feature or bench in the center surrounded by the beds or you can create a more immersive experience with beds all around. Kind of like a corn maze but with raised vegetables 🙂
If you can’t tell, we’re big fans of raised vegetable beds and gardens. More importantly, we’re super experienced with designing and installing them, since we’ve been doing this since 1996. We’d love to share some ideas with you!
Contact Landscape Guys today to discuss your goals and to get an estimate. We serve the entire Twin Cities area and beyond.