Meagan Francis

Meagan Francis

Raised Bed Mini Garden Bounty
Heat loving plants will thrive in a raised bed garden. Plants like chiles, sweet peppers and eggplants will enjoy a sunny spot and rich compost in raised bed planters. They do dry out quicker, so keep raised beds watered daily.

I’m a big fan of raised-bed gardening. I love being able to start fresh with high-quality soil, instead of testing and amending and re-testing and re-amending (or just planting and hoping for the best!)

More Raised Bed Garden Materials 15 photos

I also love the aesthetics of raised-beds. Those neat wooden rows speak to the part of my heart that loves to make order out of chaos.

But even with all their benefits, raised beds aren’t the right choice for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons of veggie gardening in raised beds:

Pros of Raised-Bed Gardening:

  • More control over the location of the garden
  • Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants
  • More efficient draining
  • Can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping
  • Easier to keep out weeds
  • The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season
  • Better ability to keep out ground-dwelling pests

Cons of Raised-Bed Gardening:

  • Can be more expensive to get started
  • Require careful planning to make sure there is enough room for plants that need to spread out, and to ensure that you can reach the middle to tend the plants
  • Because raised beds drain so efficiently, they will also need to be watered more often and my require an irrigation system

Raised Beds Versus Containers?

At first glance, raised beds can look like large containers. But raised beds do not  have bottoms like a planter or box would – they are built directly on top of the ground. Some raised beds don’t have walls at all, and are simply piles of soil mounded on top of the existing soil! Veggie container gardening is another great option to consider if you’re working with limited yard space or less-than-ideal soil conditions.

Learn how to build a cedar-framed raised vegetable garden from Paul James.

Once you’ve made the decision to use raised beds, you’ll need to choose what kind of materials to use – and then, of course, build and set up your beds! Stay tuned for another post soon on how to build and prepare your raised garden.

4 Comments About this Article

  • Kelly McGarry
    We have a raised bed garden and love it! Another "pro" is that you only tread on the pathways and the areas you plant don't get compacted; easier to plant and grow. Food for thought though ... "railroad ties" used as your frames? Aren't these full of chemicals that can leach into your food? Maybe stick to untreated wood ..

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • felder
    Good point, Kelly, about the potential for problems using FRESH crossties. A lot of folks also worry about the chemicals in pressure-treated wood. However - and keep in mind that I have written for Organic Gardening magazine and am VERY serious about health and environmental issues - the scientist in me has done a very thorough search of real research, and cannot find ANYTHING that shows a problem using either (especially the new pressure treated woods); I use it myself, even in childrens' gardens. The materials don't leach into the soil, and besides they are not absorbed by or translocated within plants anyway. NO PROBLEM. I am very, very sure of this (and am a retired Extension Horticulturist) however, if anyone still has concerns, simply paint or line the inside areas of suspect wood with plastic sheeting.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • ProWood Chris Fox
    There is a better alternative than creosote ties for garden beds. MCA (micronized copper azole) treated wood (see end tag stapled to the lumber) products (4x4, 4x6, 6x6) may be used in or around plant and produce gardens. Copper and tebuconazole are the active biocide ingredients in MCA-treated wood products that protect against decay and termite attack, and both of these biocides are also extensively used as commercial agricultural fungicides in the US, Canada and internationally for protecting food and feed crops such as fruits, vegetables, and grains from damaging plant diseases. MCA (micronized copper azole) treated lumber is safe for humans, animals and the environment. The process we use to treat has gained Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) status as certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a third-party certification services and standards development company.

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • anonymous
    Awesome! I've learned so much from this article. Thanks for your post. You may also like for more articles on growing plants in raised bed gardens

    Posted 9 months ago

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