The picture above is what happened when I decided to tear down an old bunny hutch, recycle the wood and erect a raised garden bed in its place. For $40 in new materials and four hours of labor, I was able to take advantage of everything the bunny “recycled,” by building the raised bed right over top of where the old bunny hutch once was.
We are not all blessed with loamy soil and acres of open space. Here in northern California, most home gardeners contend with poorly draining clay soil, thanks to a high water table. So many of us have postage-stamp sized yards, if any at all. We love our pets, but hate that they love our gardens. Our dogs dig, our rabbits munch, and cats, well… we know what cats do in dirt.
Raised garden beds optimize small spaces and allow easier access for physically challenged gardeners while keeping animals out.
In a raised garden bed, you won’t have to settle for poor soil. You control the composition, texture, chemistry and drainage of the soil. You can tweak it until it’s perfect. Think of yourself as a soilologist, or earthtender. And by raising your soil up off the cold ground, it warms faster allowing you to plant a little earlier in the season.
Build your raised bed in virtually any configuration that suits your available space. In the picture above, the Kolbenschlag’s, formerly of Stockton Ca., built a 2×8 raised bed and established it in a narrow, sunny space along the fence line in their backyard. They took their garden to new heights by building it on stilts tall enough to keep Cassie and Gracie, their German Shepard and Miniature Dachshund out of the dirt; also allowing storage beneath. Because it is elevated and backed against a fence, the garden won’t contend with cold spots, wind and harsh micro-climates common with in-ground gardens.
No more bruised knees! Stiff necks! Sore backs! Build it tall enough to enjoy while standing, sitting, or from your wheelchair. Weeding is ordinarily no fun, mostly because of the awkward body position required to get a grip on those stubborn roots. Raised beds are ergonomically friendly, making it a little easier to do the dirty work of daily maintenance. Even the harvest is easier.
Attractive 4×4 raised bed on saw horses (photo M. Kolbenschlag)
How do you use raised beds in your garden?
Editors Note: photo, courtesy Margaret Kolbenschlag
This article is the eighteenth in a series of 26 consecutive articles, as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the whole month of April. Tomorrow, I’ll post an article with a title that begins with the letter “S”… So goes the rest of the alphabet, through the end of the month.