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What You Need to Know About a Raised Bed Garden

Creating a raised bed garden is both exciting and rewarding but can also be overwhelming if you don't know where to start or what to expect. A great option for those on the go and with smaller yards, a raised bed garden provides many benefits that'll carry on from season to season.

Here are five things you need to know for a happy, healthy raised bed garden.

1. Soil Needs: Select which plants you'll be growing in your garden ahead of time to help determine the type of soil you'll need. Instead of adding chemicals to change soil composition, a raised bed garden gives you the freedom to select the specific type of soil that's best for your plants.

2. Companion Gardening: Planting two or more vegetable varieties in the same row or area is not only an efficient use of space, but companion planting can also help with reducing pests and disease. Good combinations for companion planting are early harvested crops with slow growing crops and shade-tolerant plants next to taller ones.

3. Smaller Beds: A raised bed garden is generally narrow and about four feet wide, allowing you to reach and attain to plants placed in the middle, with ease. Smaller beds also mean less soil compaction, giving roots more room to grow and allowing oxygen to reach plants easily.

4. Quicker Plant Growth: Since soil is loose and warms up faster in a raised bed garden, you can start gardening sooner and for a longer period of time. Keep in mind, soil also dries quicker in a raised bed garden, so make sure you have an irrigation system installed or have a plan in place to water your garden regularly.

5. Plant Protection: Although a raised bed garden is enclosed by wooden boards or another type of barrier, it's best to create a protective screen to prevent damage from pests and inclement weather conditions. You can make your own screen by simply creating a frame, covering it with material like chicken wire and placing it over your garden.

Now that you know what it takes to prepare for and maintain a raised bed garden, watch this video to learn how to build your own raised bed garden.

 

The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®, March/April 2014

 

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