Building the raised vegetable bed
One of the most practical ways to grow a successful vegetable garden is to build a raised bed. The advantages are many. If you build a raised vegetable garden you can create interesting and decorative designs to enhance the design of your garden in general. A raised garden can be filled with the ideal mix of topsoil and compost so you don’t have to deal with amending your local soil. The raised vegetable bed is easy to work with since you don’t have to bend and stoop. The height will also be easy to defend from pests like rabbits, gophers (by lining the bottom with hardware cloth) and even pet cats and dogs. Although vegetable gardening does require a lot of watering, building a raised vegetable bed will help you be water-wise by keeping your water in a contained area rather than letting it run off at the edges the way gardening on the ground will do.
The design you build into your raised vegetable garden can take any form. Remember to make sure you can access all parts of your garden easily. You can make it large or small, wide or narrow, angular or rounded. Use any materials that will enhance the design in your garden. A raised garden can be constructed with cement block, brick, wood, recycled broken concrete or any other material. If you use green wood or railroad ties it is important to line the raised garden with heavy plastic sheeting or another material to make sure none of the chemical preservatives in the wood seep into the soil. Railroad ties have creosote and green wood contains arsenic, both toxins you don’t want in your vegetable garden.
There are many designs available in prefabricated raised garden kits. You can even find plans for raised garden designs in books and on the internet. Choose a design that fits into your garden. You can add a raised vegetable bed to an existing retaining wall, build it as an extension to your patio or construct it as a stand-alone feature. Build a raised bed that uses a ledge that doubles as a seating area, bench or counter top. Or create a raised vegetable garden that mimics a decorative structure like a pagoda, small pergola or a gazebo to turn your practical growing area into an ornamental a focal point.
Have fun with your raised vegetable garden. Building the structure can be imaginative, decorative and practical. And it will make maintenance much easier, materials more controllable, and pest regulation much simpler than growing the same crops at ground level.
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