I love raised bed gardening.  Besides being an easy way to control your growing environment there are many other benefits to raised bed gardening that include:

  • You create a soil mix tailored to your plant’s needs ensuring your plants are given the best conditions possible to grow.
  • Raised beds offer options to help control digging critters and other pests.
  • You can easily work around the beds to keep up with maintenance. 
  • Raised beds offer a variety of shapes and sizes for small, medium, and large spaces.
  • With the proper setup and maintenance, your raised beds will be a perfect home for your fruits and vegetables for years to come. 

If you are ready to create a sustainable, organic garden bed avoiding the top 7 mistakes below will set you up for success.

 

Raised Beds are too wide.

Make sure the width of your beds doesn’t prevent you from working all sides within your reach. If you have to step inside the bed to work you will do some serious damage to your plants. We recommend beds not be any wider than 4 ft. 

You don’t plan for irrigation.

Raised beds should be placed close to a water source. No matter if you are hand watering, using a soaker hose or drip irrigation, you don’t want to be far from your water source. 

Not checking that your materials are safe.

We recommend using rot-resistant and chemical-free woods such as cedar or redwood. They cost more but last longer.  Make sure you ask before you buy. You do not want chemically treated wood near your food. 

Using the wrong soil mix.

Raised bed garden soil can lack nutrients.  You need to make sure you are using the right soil mix to promote drainage and the right nutrients. You can’t just use bagged garden soil 

You don’t want to use soil with too much nitrogen content, like a bed full of composted manure or a bag of soil filled with chemical fertilizers. Too much nitrogen will grow great but fruit-producing plants like tomatoes produce little fruit.

Topdressing your raised bed with organic compost is a necessary step to help your plants thrive.

Raised Beds are placed too close together.

You will need enough room to be able to work between the beds comfortably.  A minimum of two to three feet works, but 4 feet is ideal.  It makes weeding, planting, and harvesting so much easier and you can get your garden cart or wheelbarrow in between them or fit a stool beside the beds for a comfortable working area.

Not putting a weed barrier down under your bed and on your paths.

You don’t want weeds overgrowing your paths. It can be a breeding ground for snakes and it is super itchy. You also don’t want a ton of weeds popping up in your beds. 

Wet newspapers covered with broken-down cardboard boxes and then a light thick 2-3 inch layer of mulch on top works great!  Only use organic mulches. You don’t want chemicals or dyes sneaking into your fresh foods.

Neglecting to Mulch Raised Beds.

Mulching your raised beds is such an important part of gardening, especially in raised beds.

Mulch regulates the soil temperature and retains moisture — both critical needs of raised beds in the hot summer.  Mulch also helps to mitigate weeds. Saving you extra time to work on the fun stuff in our garden.