New to raised garden beds? Use this beginner’s guide to help you plan your raised gardens this spring.
Plant in a Raised Garden
Spring is here, and that means it’s time to plant a garden soon! Are you ready? I know I am!
While traditionally I have always planted in a regular garden right in the ground, in recent years I have gravitated to raised garden beds. Call it middle age or whatever you want, it’s just so much more convenient for me to garden in a raised bed!
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What is a Raised Garden Bed?
A raised garden bed is simply a garden that is above the level of the ground. Sometimes they sit on top of the ground, while other ones can be raised to waist level for easy reaching.
Why would you want a raised garden off of the ground?
Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds are a great way to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs in a small space. They offer a number of benefits over traditional in-ground gardens, including:
- Improved drainage: Raised beds are elevated above the ground, which helps to improve drainage and prevent waterlogging. This is especially important in areas with heavy clay soils.
- Better soil quality: Raised beds can be filled with a variety of soil additions, such as compost, manure, and sand, which can improve the quality of the soil and make it more fertile.
- Less weeds: Raised beds can be made with raised sides, which helps to prevent weeds from growing.
- Easier to maintain: Raised beds are easier to weed and water than traditional in-ground gardens. They are also less likely to be damaged by pests and diseases.
- More space: Raised beds can be placed anywhere, even in small spaces. They can also be stacked on top of each other to create a multi-level garden.
If you are looking for a way to grow your own food, raised garden beds are a great option. They offer a number of benefits over traditional in-ground gardens, and they can be placed anywhere, even in small spaces.
I personally like having the garden up higher than the ground for the easier maintenance. Getting down on the ground to tend a garden is not my favorite thing to do!
Are Metal Raised Garden Beds Good?
There are a variety of raised beds available, including wood, metal, and even homemade using a variety of materials.
Yes, metal raised garden beds are good. They are durable, sturdy, and can last for decades. They are also easy to maintain and can be placed anywhere, even in small spaces.
Here are some of the benefits of metal raised garden beds:
- They are durable and will not rot or deteriorate like wood.
- They are easy to maintain and require very little upkeep.
- They can be placed anywhere.
- They can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit your needs and design.
- They can be used to grow a variety of plants, including flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
If you are looking for a raised garden bed that is durable, easy to maintain, and can last for decades, a metal raised garden bed is a great option.
In the past, my husband built me a wooden one, but due to not using the right kind of wood, it just kinda fell apart after just two years.
This year, I get to try out a metal raised bed thanks to Sunnydaze. They sent me their Galvanized Steel Raised Garden Kit in a rectangle shape to plant my spring garden.
Sunnydaze Garden Beds are made with corrugated galvanized steel so that they survive the elements and last long. It’s size is 48″ W x 36″ D x 12″ H, and has a capacity of 12.03 cubic feet, perfect for what I need!
Everything you need to put it together comes in the box, which is about 15lbs, easy enough for one person to manage.
Thanks to the assembly video on the Sunnydaze website, assembly was a breeze! Once I organized the parts, it took me maybe 20 minutes to get it fully assembled.
Since it’s fairly light, it was really easy for me to move it on my own.
Since it’s just the start of the growing season here in Pennsylvania, I wasn’t able to plant too much, but so far I have three of my baby blueberry bushes and some strawberry plants. I’ll update when things fill out or I add more to the garden!
How Long Do Steel Raised Garden Beds Last?
Galvanized steel raised garden beds can last for 20 years or more if they are properly maintained. However, if they are not properly maintained, they may start to rust and deteriorate within a few years.
To prevent rust, it is important to keep the metal dry and to apply a coat of rust-resistant paint or primer every few years. If you live in an area with a lot of rain or snow, you may want to consider covering the bed with a tarp or other protective material when it is not in use.
With proper care, galvanized steel raised garden beds can last for years!
What to Fill Raised Garden Bed With?
There are many things you can fill a raised garden bed with. The most common choice is topsoil, but you can also use compost, manure, or a mixture of all three. If you are using topsoil, be sure to choose a high-quality potting mix that is specifically designed for raised beds.
If you are using compost, be sure to choose a well-rotted compost that is free of weeds and pests. Manure can also be used, but it is important to use fresh manure that has been properly composted.
Note: If you are using a mixture of topsoil, compost, and manure, be sure to mix them together thoroughly before filling the bed.
Once you have filled the bed with soil, you can start planting your vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Be sure to plant them according to the spacing recommendations on the seed packet or plant tag.
Here are some additional tips for filling a raised garden bed:
- Use a layer of cardboard or newspaper on the bottom of the bed before adding the soil. This will help to prevent weeds from growing.
- Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil after planting. This will help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
- Water the plants regularly, especially during the first few weeks after planting.
- Fertilize the plants regularly with a balanced fertilizer.
I added the layer of cardboard to the bottom of my raised bed, and on top of that, I added leaves. Not only will it prevent leaves, it will also make it easier to move should I decide to relocate it in the future.
Worried about How Much Soil to Put In a Raised Bed?
Don’t have high quality dirt in your back yard? Yep, you’ll have to purchase the soil.
While this can get expensive, there’s one way to cut down the cost: adding leaves to the bottom of your raised garden.
Besides filling up some space in the raised bed, adding leaves is a great way to improve the soil quality and add beneficial nutrients to your plants. Leaves can also help to suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Bonus points!
To add leaves to a raised bed, simply add them into the bed and spread them out evenly. It’s best if you can chop them up with a mower or shredder before adding them to the bed. If you add leaves in the fall, they will break down over the winter and provide your plants with a slow-release source of nutrients.
Here are some tips for adding leaves to a raised bed:
- Use a variety of leaves from different types of trees and shrubs. This will help to provide your plants with a wider range of nutrients.
- Shred the leaves before adding them to the bed. This will help them to break down more quickly. (I mulched mine up with a bagged lawnmower.)
- Add a layer of compost or manure to the bed before adding the leaves. This will help to improve the soil quality and provide your plants with a good foundation for growth.
- Water the leaves well after adding them to the bed. This will help to prevent them from becoming compacted and will also help them to break down more quickly.
- Be patient. It can take several months for leaves to break down and provide your plants with nutrients.
When Should I Plant My Raised Beds?
The best time to plant raised garden beds is in the spring, after the last frost. This will give the plants enough time to grow before the summer heat arrives.
If you live in a warm climate, you can plant in the fall as well. Just be sure to choose plants that are suited to your climate.
Here are some tips for planting raised garden beds:
- Choose a sunny spot for your garden bed.
- Prepare the soil by adding compost or manure.
- Plant your seeds or seedlings according to the instructions on the seed packet or plant tag.
- Water the plants regularly.
- Fertilize the plants regularly with a balanced fertilizer.
- Mulch the soil around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
When you can plant in your garden depends on your zone. Don’t know what that is? Visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find your zone.
For example, my zone is 6a. Most of my planting won’t happen until mid-April to early May due to frost that can still occur before then.
Should I Water My Raised Bed Before Planting?
Yes, you should water your raised bed before planting. This will help to ensure that the soil is moist and crumbly, which will make it easier for the roots of your plants to take hold. It will also help to prevent the soil from becoming compacted, which can suffocate your plants.
Here are some tips for watering your raised bed before planting:
- Water the bed deeply, until the water reaches the bottom of the bed.
- Allow the water to soak into the soil before planting.
- If the soil is very dry, you may need to water the bed twice before planting.
- Be careful not to overwater the bed, as this can cause the soil to become waterlogged and compacted.
- After planting, water the bed regularly to keep the soil moist.
Best Plants to Plant in a Raised Garden Bed
There are many plants that do well in raised beds. Some of the most popular choices include:
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes, herbs, and many more.
- Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes.
- Flowers: Annuals, perennials, and succulents.
When choosing plants for a raised bed, it is important to consider the size of the bed, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the type of soil it contains. Some plants, such as tomatoes, need full sun and rich soil, while others, such as lettuce, can tolerate partial shade and poorer soil.
It is also important to consider the height of the bed. Some plants, such as carrots, can grow very tall, while others, such as lettuce, are relatively short. If you are growing plants that are too tall for the bed, they may not get enough light and will not grow well.
Once you have chosen the plants for your raised bed, it is important to prepare the soil. The soil should be loose and well-draining. If the soil is heavy clay, you may need to add sand or perlite to improve drainage.
After the soil is prepared, plant your plants. Be sure to space them according to the recommendations on the plant tag. Water the plants well after planting and keep the soil moist.
With proper care, your raised bed garden will provide you with years of enjoyment.
Where to Buy Raised Garden Beds
Tip: You can use ShopPay to pay for your purchase in payments!!
You can also find Sunny Daze raised garden beds on Amazon.
Raised Garden Bed Kit
Many thanks to Sunnydaze for sending me their metal raised garden bed to review! Stay tuned to see what my garden looks like in the Summer! Visit my Instagram profile to get updates too!
Have Any Gardening Tips to Share?
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