A raised garden bed can be made up of many different kinds of material, but they mostly utilize wood as a framework from your bed. They are a lot of beneficial properties that traditional direct dug beds cannot typically provide.
So let’s dig in deeper to my personal top 10 benefits to utilizing raised garden beds on your homestead.
Top 10 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
- Good Aeration – Your plant’s roots need to be able to breathe. When your soil is too compacted, the roots do not get the proper air circulation which will not allow them develop properly. Aeration is necessary for the roots to be able to absorb essential nutrients; pockets of air in the soil help hold in the nitrogen which is converted into beneficial nitrates by the soil bacteria, making it available to the plant to feed upon.
- Weed Control – Less competition for soil nutrients. Let’s face it, your garden is a micro-ecosystem all in its own and your vegetables need every bit of those nutrients to produce. When your beds have competing weeds, some of these nutrients are absorbed by them instead of your plants which will lead to an under-developed and under-producing plant.
- Root Spread – They need room to grow. We have already stated that good aeration is important for any plant and its roots; in the same manner, the raised garden beds soil is looser than traditional direct dug beds which allows for your plant’s root system to extend further with less effort than that of a tradition bed.
- Water Retention – Water is life. Compacted soils allow precious water to run off and away from your otherwise healthy plants. The moisture retention in a raised garden bed allows the life-giving water to remain for a longer period of time which in turn allows for your plant to get to the water in needs to flourish. The added benefit of this water retention is that you will not have to water your garden as much, which will save you on your water and electrical bills. If you add in a layer of mulch to the raised bed, the water retention is even greater.
- Amending your Soil – Feed that which feeds you. Adding amendments to your soil has never been easier than doing it to a raised garden bed, due to the fact that you will have a potentially smaller area to be able to calculate how much of the amendments you will need. Additionally, because your soil is not compacted you have a far lesser chance of your amendments getting washed away and wasted in areas of the garden that you do not need it.
- Pest Control – Getting Buggy on Pests. A Raised garden bed has far more options available to you to be able to prevent the influx of garden pests. If you have under-ground pests like gophers or moles, you can place wire on the underside of your beds to prevent them from digging up into your plants. If you have bug problems or disease problems, utilizing a raised bed makes your job of being able to quickly identify and eliminate the problem before it gets out of control. Raised garden beds are generally much “cleaner” in appearance than a direct dug garden bed, so it makes it much easier to find a cause to a particular problem.
- Save Seeds – Plant only what you need. In a traditional direct dug garden, you typically sow your seeds in a line and then thin the plants as they grow, this wastes valuable seeds. Utilizing a raised garden bed you will only plant what you need, therefore saving the extra seeds for another year’s cycle and in turn saving you money.
- Longer Growing Season – Give them the time they need. Gardening in all forms is very reliant to the temperature of the soils. A raised garden bed will generally warm up faster and thaw quicker than a traditional direct dug garden bed. A tactic that some traditional gardeners may use to warm their direct dug beds up quicker is to cover their beds with black plastic; this does heat up the soil quicker but is detrimental to the micro-organisms in the soil; #1 by covering the bed, you are not letting them get the air circulation they need, #2 you are in my opinion eliminating anything beneficially growing that feeds these micro-organisms.
- Higher Yields – The more the better. The soil in a raised bed is generally healthier than that of a direct dug bed for the reasons stated above and more. Because of the healthier soil, it allows for your plants to grow more vigorously and healthier than what you may typically find in a direct dug bed. Being able to have a healthier soil in turn helps to create healthier plants which then leads to a higher yield of crops during the harvesting seasons.
- Physically Easier – Do not break your back. Let’s face it gardening and homesteading is hard enough as it is, it is a physically and mentally tough job. But when you utilize a raised bed in your garden it allows you to be able to easily reach all of your plants from every angle, it also allows you to clean and harvest your beds with much less bending over. One of the major benefits in my opinion is that you no longer have to utilize a heavy tiller, and for all of you that have used one in the past, you know just how physically demanding it can be.
Utilizing raised beds in your garden is a fantastic way to help feed yourself and your homestead with much less time and work from you. By utilizing a raised bed garden, you will save yourself from at least some of the physical demands of running a homestead; save yourself some money with less watering, waste and achieve better results for yourself and your plants.
I would love to hear from you on your experiences using raised garden beds, please leave me a comment below.
Until Next Time