How to Start A Raised Garden Bed in 3 Steps
By Oscar Collins
Author bio: Oscar Collins is the editor-in-chief at Modded, where he writes about the outdoors.
Raised garden beds are miniature gardens separate from the ground below. They’re freestanding structures that provide various plants to enjoy. However, you might wonder how to start a raised garden bed if you’re new to gardening.
Benefits of Using a Raised Garden Bed
An in-ground garden bed relies on the soil and structure of your land. A raised bed is portable and much more flexible. There are many benefits to having an elevated garden bed, including:
- More control: When you have a raised garden bed, you can control everything in it. Doing so lets you cater the soil to the types of plants you want to grow.
- Healthier Crops: It’s easier to prevent insects and other potential harm to your garden in a raised bed.
- Easier on joints: You can place your garden bed as high or low as you desire.
- Portable: You can quickly move small raised beds as necessary.
- HOA compliance: Some neighborhoods don’t allow you to dig into the ground. Raised garden beds are the solution for growing fresh flowers, berries or produce.
How to Start a Raised Garden Bed
Creating a raised garden bed can be an easy way to grow what you love. Here are three steps to creating one.
Step 1: Choose Your Location
Most fruits and vegetables thrive with full sun, meaning they get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Go in your yard throughout the day to see which areas get the most natural light. Do your research to determine whether your plants will enjoy the sun or if you need to choose a partially shaded area to accommodate them better.
Without the sun, the majority of crops will die. However, some flowers and produce don’t like to be directly in the light. Veggies like spinach, potatoes, carrots and onions are a few that don’t have to be in full sun to thrive. Read more about Workable Position to Place the Metal Raised Garden Beds.
If you purchase your seeds or starter plants from a reputable company, they should come with instructions on the tag explaining what they need for the best chance of success:
- Full sun: Six to eight hours of direct sunlight
- Partial sun: Three to six hours of direct sunlight
- Partial shade: Three hours of direct sunlight
- Full shade: Fewer than three hours of full sun
- Light shade: Filtered sunlight
- Deep shade: No sun
Catering to each plant’s needs can help them fully grow. Instead of one large raised bed, you can get multiple small beds and group similar plants together. Place your raised bed on level ground if possible. That way, the sunlight and water distribution stays consistent throughout.
Step 2: Set Up Your Bed
Your raised garden bed can be almost anything you want if you create the proper drainage. Get as creative as your comfort level to build or find a frame for the base for your bed. You can purchase one from your local garden store, convert a container or build your own.
Purchasing a Raised Bed
Home and garden stores and online platforms will likely have raised garden beds for sale. There are some things to consider when purchasing the right one for your home.
Check if you need to add drainage to your store-bought bed or if it already exists. Wood and metal are some of the most popular options on store shelves. If you choose a wood option, treat it to prevent mold and mildew from frequent watering.
A raised bed should be around four feet wide so you can easily access the entire garden from the side. While an in-ground garden gives you space to walk through it, a raised bed rarely offers that opportunity.
If you enjoy some construction work, you can easily create your garden bed. Making it yourself can save money and lets you capitalize on items you already have. If you have an old storage container, tire, lumber or brick, you can build a frame that works for plants. Ensure the container or frame you choose is waterproof and can hold the soil while draining excess water.
Making your bed lets you get as creative as you desire. Consider which plants you want to incorporate into your bed when choosing your depth. Species with deeper root systems could require a deeper container, so you could custom-build the bed to be lower in some areas and shallow in others.
Step 3: Plant Your Garden
Once you have your garden frame in the right location, it’s time to plant your seeds or sprouts. There are many ways to prepare the soil for your raised garden bed. You can purchase specialized mixes, or create your own with soil and compost. Don’t rely on dirt to grow your plants — you need soil with nutrients to help them thrive.
You need soil that can dry but not get too dry.
Your hand should be able to maneuver through the soil if necessary. If you live in a warm climate or want to give your plants more protection, surround them with natural mulch. You could also get a mini greenhouse cover or garden netting to keep your plants safe. Species like carrots prefer planting their seeds directly into the bed.
Other plants need to be seedlings first. Research is key to giving them the best chance of survival. Nurture your garden by fertilizing it as necessary and watering regularly to help your seeds grow into hardy produce, flowers and greenery. Weeds can still happen in a raised bed, so keeping up with it is critical to get as many plants as possible.
Starting a Raised Garden Bed
Learning how to start a raised garden bed is a great way to grow your desired crops anywhere around your exterior. You could customize your own or purchase one from your favorite garden store. Regardless, having a raised garden bed helps you enjoy the growing season with minimal changes to your home. Also read: HOW TO START A GARDEN FOR A BEGINNER.