Building a Raised Vegetable Bed Garden - Raised Garden Beds
Whether you are short on yard space or simply want a low-maintenance garden, raised vegetable bed gardens stand out. Benefits to raised beds include soil quality, weed control and exceptional drainage—the three biggest hurdles gardeners face.
Frames for Raised Vegetable Garden Beds
The best frames for raised vegetable gardens use non-toxic, moisture resistant woods like cedar or redwood. Used railroad ties are great if you can find them. Call your local rail company. They frequently give away worn rail ties after routine maintenance checks or rail replacements. They will not load them onto your truck, so bring a couple friends to help.
If you want to avoid wood, cinder blocks also work well. Purchase solid bricks and line them as closely as possible to prevent dirt from escaping the garden bed.
Determine the size of your raised vegetable bed garden by the plants you want to grow. Cucumbers and squash vines require a little space to spread out. Otherwise, be prepared to train the vines to climb vertically, as you would pole beans, to save garden space. Allow space in between all plants to prevent overcrowding.
Do not make your raised vegetable bed garden too wide. The optimal size is one that allows you to reach the middle of the bed from either side of the framing. This prevents you from wasting space by adding rows where you can walk.
Plants to Consider for a First-Time Vegetable Garden
If you are new to gardening, look at plants that require little maintenance. Pepper and tomato plants thrive in vegetable gardens. Both require plenty of heat, making them great choices for raised beds that naturally have warmer soil.
Bush beans grow easily from seed. They love heat and provide large crops throughout the summer. If you have room to add stakes and strings for vines to climb, Scarlet Runner beans offer stunning blooms and large quantities of green beans.
Lettuce and spinach do best in cooler weather, so plant them in the early spring. Harvest them in the spring months and then reseed them later in the summer, usually in late August for a second harvest.