A Raised-Bed Garden Has Many Benefits

Raised-bed gardening is a technique of growing plants within areas that have been raised up above the normal ground level.  They are typically enclosed within a wooden framework, typically rectangular.  New soil may be mixed in with the soil from underneath or it can just be new soil placed on top of un-tilled soil.

There are several benefits to growing plants in a raised-bed.  Probably, the biggest is being able to harvest more from the same sized area.  Raised-bed gardens can in fact double or even triple the quantity of produce grown in a space!  One reason for this is that the area needed for walk-ways is decreased considerably, so more room can be devoted to your plants.

Another great advantage to raised-bed gardening is the ease in which you can boost your soil conditions and you can even grow plants in places with extremely poor ground conditions.  Garden areas that are typically very sandy or that may have a lot of clay, can both be hard to grow much in.  But if you are willing to build a raised-bed, you can easily put in soil that you’ve purchased or soil that you have mixed yourself.

Weeds are also not as much of a problem in a raised-bed.  Since the soil is confined, it’s much easier to spot and control any weeds that do turn up, and the weed seeds in the existing soil are buried under far too much soil to sprout more often than not.

The frames may also be made with a bottom and placed on tables so handicapped and elderly people can reach their plants to care for them more easily.  This is a big benefit for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to adequately care for a garden.

Square-Foot Gardening

This type of growing was made popular by Mel Bartholomew in his book and television series called Square Foot Gardening.  He developed a system that requires close to 80% less area than traditional styles of gardening.

Instead of being just a regular raised-bed, the bed is divided into modules that house plants of varied sizes.  It uses special soil mix which is free of weeds and is perfect for growing almost any kind of plants.  It uses less water, is all organic, and uses a lot fewer seeds than conventional gardening.  His system claims you can generate 5 times more in the same space of a traditional garden.

The system divides each square foot into a grid, based on the type of plants you want to raise in each section.  If you wish to grow a large plant like broccoli or cabbage, it would take one full square foot, so that section wouldn’t be divided at all.

If you want to grow radishes, then you may section that square foot into sixteen separate spaces, each growing a single radish!

So, to sum things up, a raised-bed garden is not only capable of yielding more, but also capable of producing a garden where you might not otherwise be able to have a garden at all.  Think of it as container gardening on steroids.  As mentioned in the video, Mr. Bartholomew has a new book out going into much detail about his square-foot gardening method.
Updated 11/19/2012