Spring is here – even in Indiana, which means it’s time to get the garden ready. Of course, if you’re like me and ridiculously behind on all things plant this year, now is the time to research for your fall projects that will be coming up wayyyy too fast!
For many years, I was a proponent of amending the soil and using traditional beds for my garden. And then we moved into a subdivision that had the topsoil scraped when the lot was prepared for building and then again when preparing for the lawn. There is so much work to be done on the soil here, especially since before it was a housing development it was a conventional farm. And now I finally understand a reason to love raised garden beds.
It’s not to say that I didn’t love the idea of raised garden beds before, I just didn’t see any reason to go all the work and hassle of building a bed, bringing in dirt, rebuilding the health of the soil, and everything else that has to be done with raised garden beds. Sure, I love the gardening plans and the theory/science behind the raised bed such as square foot gardening, but I am laaaaazy, especially in the summer. For my husband, another reason to use these beds is because he prefers the look of raised garden beds to the mishmash that I have going on in our garden.
But where does one start when preparing to build the absolute best raised garden beds? Pinterest, of course!
Raised Garden Bed Side Options
One of my favorite parts of my garden edging now is a piece of tree that I dragged out of a nearby woods. Of course, after I did that, my husband said it was probably not a good idea to go dragging wood around, but I still love it. Perhaps it would make a difference if I owned the land on which I found it? But growing up in the country, we never really considered stuff in the woods to be not available for wildcrafting. Let’s call it wildcrafting or foraging because taking that which is not my property just doesn’t sound as… ethical.
Speaking of trees, I really love this raised garden bed in which the sides are made of twigs and sticks. It does look like there is quite a chunk of work to go into it, especially making all those sticks the same size, but I really love the look of it.
Who could resist a pin from the Permaculture Research Institute on rehabing soil and creating raised garden beds from yard waste? This website is a great reference to begin with, but this pin just makes it extra special.
Wattle fencing design! Sure, the video says it’s about making a hurdle, but you can use wattle fencing as the sides of a raised garden bed.
These bamboo sides for a raised garden bed are really neat! Very rarely do a use a pin that links to a store, but these bamboo raised garden beds were just too cute not to link.
Raised Garden Bed Design
Ana White has amazing construction projects for pretty much any facet of living that I can think of – but maybe you can think of others? I love this design for a raised garden bed from her.
How about metal in the garden? I’m not really sure about what kind of metal would be safe to use for this application, but it is pretty! Maybe galvanized? Might be a good alternative if price point is an option? Yeah, I mostly just like it because it’s shiny.
I think this is my very favorite raised garden bed design, but you have to have the right spot of land for it to fit. Being able to have a walkway through the middle with the garden parts not being too wide means even short people can reach the garden.
What to grow in the delightful raised garden bed that you’ve toiled creating? Here’s a great plan that has a LOT of production.
Pretty raised garden bed design! These trellises are pretty awesome!
I really like this design for the tiered raised garden bed – you can put plants that don’t need as much depth in the front, and still have plenty of room to build up a higher level for plants that need more root space.
This is a cool design for raised garden beds. I don’t think it’s one that I would have room for in my yard, and the points I would definitely hurt myself on with the triangles… but that’s just because I’m a klutz! This is seriously a neat design!
Hugelkultur – the NO irrigation raised garden bed
This section of pins really could be a completely separate post, but I started with the idea of creating this great one-stop shop for the stuff I want to remember about raised garden beds. Hugelkultur is a practice that has been around for centuries, particularly in Eastern Europe and Germany. It is a way of mimicking the way soil is improved in nature when wood and debris falls to the forest floor. You’re building a mounded hill that needs little or no irrigation, has very fertile soil, and also uses up debris that might otherwise not have a place in your yard. Who loses here?! Seriously, I love this technique, and so now we have a bunch of pins about it.
This one isn’t technically hugelkultur, but it’s close enough! This keyhole garden uses hugelkultur techniques and also includes what appears to be a worm tower. However, the keyhole garden is a technique that has been developed in South Africa, not Eastern Europe.
Inside the Raised Garden Bed – Soil and More
One of the parts of raised garden beds that irked me before I saw the good in them was bringing in a bunch of soil. I just couldn’t justify how that made sense! But the good news is that you don’t have to bring it in. Using a layering method and carefully planning what you put in the raised garden bed as you are preparing it makes a world of difference.
More secrets to success with the raised garden bed – by filling it the right way, you’ll have a better harvest. This article from LifeHacker takes you through the nitty gritty of the entire process to build raised garden beds, but my favorite part is filling it.
Maintain the health of the soil in your raised garden beds by using techniques that you would use in a traditional garden bed as well! Planting a winter cover crop in your raised garden bed helps it have the best start possible for the next season.
Improve the soil, improve the harvest! Here is another pin on how to improve the soil in your raised garden bed.
Another look at the layering method for creating the perfect soil inside a raised garden bed.
Irrigating Raised Garden Beds
Here we have a self-watering raised garden bed that featured a sub-irrigation system. Don’t let limited water keep you from having delicious vegetables, just plan how to best water them.
Wicking beds are not something that I would have considered (ok, let’s be honest, I would have never even though of it!), but after I saw this pin, it seems like a really interesting idea! Unfortunately for me the downfalls really outweigh the positives right now, but it might help one of you readers!
Running soaker hoses through raised garden beds is genius! Attach the end of this string to a rain barrel and you are in business! This is something I’m planning to do with my beds, but it will be connected to a rain barrel that collects water from the roof of my shed.
Raised Garden Bed Tips and Accessories
This deceptively easy looking project allows you to build a seat for your raised garden bed. While this is beyond my woodworking skills, I’m pretty sure I can find someone who has the tools and know-how to put this together without slicing off a thumb, which is probably what I would do.
Have a problem with slugs in your yard? This tip claims that affixing pennies to the sides of your raised garden bed will keep the slugs out. Does it work? I have no idea – but if you have a problem with slugs, it might be worth a try!
I just love vermicomposting, and I think this idea for a worm tower and worm box would be PERFECT for a raised garden bed!
Do you have a raised garden bed or are you planning to build one? Do you have any tips I missed?
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