...And how to build a raised bed without any tools or lumber!
When you think about raised garden beds, you probably envision the ones built out of lumber or recycled material. These are great for a number of reasons, but for some people, building these types of beds isn't an easy task. You might not have power tools, or don't have the time, energy, or physical ability to haul lumber, drill in braces and screws, or cut wood. Hopefully you've got a handyman!
What if there was an easier way? What if you could simply unfold a humongous cloth bag, fill it with soil, and voila! You’re done. Would you be tempted to give it a try? You should.
Check out these awesome benefits of raised beds:
No Picking Weeds
Let's begin with the most obvious and greatest benefit. A brand-new bed, filled with clean, purchased soil or compost, produces fewer weeds than a traditional garden patch. You might get a few weeds here and there, but once you pick them, they aren’t likely to come back.
No Soil Compaction
With the possible exception of misbehaving pets, no one should walk on top of your raised beds. You can--and should--tend to your plants and pull the odd weed by simply walking around the bed. This means that the soil will not become compacted. And loose soil has a lot of benefits.
The root systems of plants develop more fully in loose soil, having more room to grow. Larger, stronger roots can better access nutrients and moisture, making them even better and stronger. Also, roots need to breathe in order to develop--and good aeration is necessary to this function. A healthy and well-established root system will develop a healthier plant, with better yields.
Because the soil in a garden bed doesn’t get compacted, there’s no need to till it each spring. Tilling can be expensive, and it’s hard physical labor. Who wouldn’t want to skip tilling?
Fewer Soil Amendments
Garden soil can have all kinds of problems that need to be addressed—too much alkali, poor drainage, dryness caused by sand, or excess salt or sodium, for instance. While you should add good quality compost and organic fertilizer to your garden bed soil, you won’t have the frustration of trying to fix existing soil problems.
More Options for Location
A garden bed can be placed anywhere on your property. Tree roots, excess rock, and existing turf, for instance, can make it difficult to establish a new garden plot. But a raised bed can be placed on any type of ground surface--even in a greenhouse.
The loose, good-quality soil in garden beds enhances drainage. Even if you till your garden regularly, tilling only affects the top few layers of soil. Loose and well-amended topsoil might be covering soil that is highly compacted. If water can’t make its way through compacted soil, it will simply pool in place, potentially rotting plants or their roots.
Denser Planting than a Traditional Garden
Because there is less competition for nutrients and because irrigation can be much more efficient, you can usually grow more within the same amount of space. Garden beds, including the grow-bag beds, are great if you’re following the “Biointensive” or “Square Foot Gardening” approach.
Less physical work
Garden beds are also a great choice for people with physical limitations or reduced mobility. You don’t have to bend over as far to tend to your plants--in fact, you could set up a low stool or work from a wheelchair if needed.
Did We Say Fewer Weeds?
Yes, we did! In addition to starting with clean, healthy soil, the way your bed is planted and cared for will discourage weeds from flourishing. Healthy, nutrient-rich soil with good drainage means that more plants can thrive in a smaller amount of space. Closer planting crowds out weeds. And because the soil does not need to be tilled, tilling won’t turn up weed seeds, giving them access to the sunlight and moisture that they need to sprout.
So, how can you do this as easily as possible?
You can set up a bed in minutes using fabric bags
. These bags will last just as long as a wooden bed will, with the added benefit of being able to be moved if necessary. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
1. Unfold the grow bag and lay it on the ground.
2. Heap soil or compost in the center of the bag.
3. Lifting the sides of the bag up and push the soil or compost to the edges of the bag to support the sides.
4. Continue to fill the bag until it is almost full.
5. Plant seeds or seedlings.
6. Ensure your raised bed gets sufficient sunlight and moisture.
7. Enjoy your harvest!
Interested in starting your own raised bed garden?
Click here to find a Grow Bag to get started on your raised bed!