Thursday, September 16, 2010

12 Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening

Last winter, our friends Jon and Kim Hindman of Wyoming showed us their snow covered back yard and said "And this is where we intend to build our raised bed vegetable gardens." They had the whole thing planned on paper and as the luscious smells of the home cooked meal they were preparing wafted through their cozy home, I could almost envision the joy they would get by adding homegrown herbs and veggies.

Jon and Kim being who they are, I wasn't really surprised that they got the gardens built, planted and harvested in what seems like an incredibly short time. (My husband and I are both such procrastinators, we do things at a snail's pace compared to Jon and Kim.)

Since they have a photo record of the whole process, I thought it only fitting to use their photos to help illustrate this post about:


The 12 Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening

1) Less soil compaction from people walking in the garden – Walking on garden soil exerts pressure of as much as ten pounds per square inch causing soil compaction.

2) Control of soil content - Raised beds are usually filled with high-quality soil mixes that have large amounts of organic matter

3) Easy maintenance - Raised beds are more easily maintained than ground beds since the increased height of the bed reduces bending distance

4) Better Drainage - Soil in raised beds is better drained than soil outside the bed. This increased drainage is especially helpful when growing plants in low-lying or poorly drained areas.

5) Better yields - Research has shown that raised bed gardening yields on average 1.25 pounds per square foot, more than double the conventional method

6) Water, fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully

7) Easier to keep out burrowing pests - Burrowing animals can be stopped by lining the bottom of the bed with wire mesh.

8) Raised beds can extend your gardening season. They tend to warm up a little sooner in the spring and remain productive later in the fall

9) Gardening on bad sites or soils - Raised beds make gardening possible on sites where growing plants would otherwise be impossible. Rooftop gardens and raised beds on top of solid rock are examples. Terraced raised beds turn hillsides into productive growing areas while reducing soil erosion potential.

10) Water conservation - The narrow dimensions of beds are advantageous for water conservation. Canvas soaker hoses, perforated plastic sprinkle hoses and drip-type irrigation disperse water in a long, narrow pattern well-suited to beds. Directing water to the soil helps to reduce disease problems which can result from wetting the foliage with overhead sprinklers.

11) Less weeds - Dense planting techniques help reduce weed seed germination.

12) Better use of small spaces - Raised bed gardens can help maximize all available space and are typically smaller than traditional gardens, making them a more convenient option in areas with limited space.

For more information:

Raised Bed Gardening, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Container and Raised Bed Gardening, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Raised Bed Gardening, University of Missouri Extension

Vegetables, Raised Bed Gardening, University of Tennessee

Raised Bed Gardening, Alabama Cooperative Extension


  1. Love my raised beds. Inspiring article! I have 2 gardens and one did not have raised beds last year. The bed-less garden did not do as well as the raised one.

    This year I built my own and both gardens are doing great! I wish I could say less weeds. Weeds love the compost as much as the plants.

  2. My raised bed gardens have made gardening so much easier i LOVE them. But all of the treated wood ones i have that were supposed to last 20 years barely made it past 4 before they all started to rot away. :/

    After much searching I found these which work great because they're all recycled plastic. plus they take like five minutes to set up
    they are much sturdier and i know that they wont start rotting, so I can garden away for years!!! :D


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