Raised bed gardening is one of the most popular methods of gardening today. Many people are turning to this method for the ease of care, the ease of growing vegetables and the variety of vegetables available. Raised bed gardening is not a new idea but it’s growing popularity is growing along with the interest in home-grown vegetables. Many of the ideas for growing vegetables that are traditional, such as the use of beds, are making their way into raised bed gardens as well. While the beds themselves can vary in depth they usually start at the same level, say six inches deep or more, and are made from either wood or soil material.
How deep should a raised bed be? That depends on your soil and your choice of vegetables. Some vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini and melons don’t need a deeper bed. In fact you can get away with using a depth of just four or five inches and these vegetables will grow just fine. Other vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes and onions also need deeper beds for better root development and for more even distribution of nutrients. So you’ll want to be looking at a depth of about eight to twelve inches to be safe when using raised bed vegetables gardening.
Most vegetable gardening involves using a soil-based compost. This combination of kitchen scraps, peat moss, decomposed fish waste and other organic matter provides the perfect base for healthy, disease free soil. Raised bed vegetables gardening makes use of this same mixture of organic matter and compost to create a healthier environment for the vegetables. By growing vegetables in a raised bed you avoid exposure to dangerous levels of chemicals and bacteria that are found in chemically treated soil and on chemically treated food.
When considering how deep to build your vegetables garden bed you also need to consider the space you have available for growing vegetables. How deep you build your bed depends primarily on the amount of space available in your backyard area. If you have enough room, you may be able to fit a couple of rectangular beds in a reasonable sized backyard. However, if you live on a tiny lot, a few square feet of bedding is more than sufficient.
If you have enough space but lack a large backyard, you may have to work a bit harder to find the right depth of bed for your project. A good rule of thumb is to begin digging a few inches below the surface of the ground and slowly go deeper each time. Be sure to keep in mind that vegetables do not like to be planted in water. The soil should be dry during each visit to the bed. If the bed dries out too much, it may become difficult for the roots to absorb the water and nutrients from the vegetables need to thrive.
A third option for planning out the appropriate depth of a bed is to consider using raised pots. Raised pots can help you achieve the proper depth of a bed by allowing you to vary the position of the plants depending on the growing season. For example, some vegetables like lettuce and carrots do well in the shade. During the summer months, you can place them in the sun, while other vegetables like broccoli can thrive in the ground.
Once you have determined the proper depth for the bed, you should add soil to the bottom and sides of the box. This will help the plants get all the moisture they need to grow. Before you plant anything, test the soil to make sure it has enough water to allow your vegetables to properly develop. If you have to, bring your vegetables inside during heavy rain to prevent them from drying out.
With proper planning, you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy garden for years to come. When you are choosing which vegetables you want to grow in your bed, think about how deep a bed needs to be to get the vegetables you want. Most people don’t give vegetables enough consideration when they start planting their garden. Follow these guidelines, and you will be sure to enjoy your garden for many years to come.