Building Raised Garden Beds and Their Benefits
One of the uses of a raised bed is to provide an area where you can use rich garden soil, instead of dealing with otherwise poor earth conditions.
Read the guide below for information on building raised garden beds yourself, including the best type of wood to use, size considerations, as well as the benefits you will experience by planting in a raised bed.
Using Wood In Raised Garden Beds
Wood is the most common material used in building raised garden beds. It is cheap and easy to cut and form. However, not all types of wood are ideal for raised bed gardens.
Pine or other unfinished regular lumbers disintegrate easily and more quickly, so it is not ideal to use it as a garden bed. Regular treated wood like “tanelised” or pressure-treated lumber, or wood pieces treated with creosote and oil-based alternatives should be avoided. The best option is to use wood treated with safer alternatives.
Paint-on treatments that contain acypetacs contain less harmful ingredients. Another safer option is linseed oil. It is known to have superior wood preserving abilities and is water resistant. Just make sure to let the treated wood dry for a few weeks for optimal results. You can always use untreated hardwood, such as cedar, redwood or cypress, but they are eight times more expensive than regular lumber.
Why Not Use Regular Treated Wood?
Regular treated lumbers, such as pressure-treated or “tanelised” wood, are treated with mixture of chemicals that may contain heavy metals, CCAs or arsenic compounds and other toxic substances. These compounds could leach into the soil and get absorbed by the plants.
Although recent studies show that these chemicals only leach a couple of inches from wood, it is still not a great idea to use pressure-treated wood especially if you are planning to grow herbs or vegetables.
Typical Bed Sizes
Raised garden beds vary in size. Generally, the size depends on the area where the beds are installed. The most common garden bed sizes are 3 feet by 6 feet and 4 feet by 8 feet. Nevertheless, if you have limited yard space, you can always build a narrower one (about 2 feet wide).
Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
Apart from giving your plants a place to grow more healthily, raised garden beds have other benefits:
- Pest Control – Underground critters, such as gophers, could pose a threat to your newly planted seeds. But if you have a raised garden bed, you can always line it with fine chicken wire to keep the pests out.
- Weed Control – Since raised beds are planted separately and above your existing soil, you can use a treated garden soil to keep your plant box free of weeds.
- Plant Earlier – Because the soil in your raised beds has the tendency to warm up earlier than the yard soil, you can start working on it earlier than usual. Additionally, the soil in it stays warmer for a longer period of time, even when the ground is close to freezing.
- Higher Yields – One of the basic uses of raised garden beds is for utilizing good garden soil. This results to higher yields of fruits or vegetables.
- Aesthetic Appeal – Let’s face it, raised beds look neater compared to row gardens.
Raised beds have other more advantages and they can also be a little rewarding to build. To sum it all up, raised garden beds are a new way to add practical elements to your garden, and building them is not difficult.