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Question

Jacqueline
What are the advantages of raised bed gardens?
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Answer

Raised bed gardens offer numerous benefits notably: Better drainage: Growing plants in raised beds is a logical choice for gardeners with heavy, poorly drained soils. Raised beds permit plant roots to develop in soil held above water-logged or compacted zones. This provides a more optimum soil environment for root growth. As beds are built up, compost or other forms of organic matter may be incorporated, further improving soil structure, drainage and nutrient-holding capacity. Higher yields: Better root growth from improved soils leads to higher yields for food crops and lusher growth of ornamental plantings. Also, intensive planting in raised beds means more plants can be grown in a smaller area than with conventional row-cropping techniques. No space is wasted between rows. Expanded growing season: Better drainage speeds soil warming and allows earlier spring planting. In wet seasons, soil dries out faster, permitting planting to proceed between rains. Maintenance: Because plants are growing above the level of walkways, less stooping is required for weeding, watering and other chores. Intensively planted raised beds provide dense foliage cover, shading out much weed growth. Using difficult sites: Raised beds make gardening possible on sites where growing plants would otherwise be impossible. Rooftop gardens and raised beds on top of solid rock are examples. Terraced raised beds turn hillsides into productive growing areas while reducing soil erosion potential. Credits: Text: University of Missouri Extension Photo: Gardening in a Minute

I prefer raised beds because they divide a large space into smaller bite size chunks. It is a lot easier to get something growing with a minimum amount of work. You don,t get overwhelmed by the thought of having to dig and prepare a large garden bed.      Glenn
Easy to maintain, less stooping and bending, and greater production for area.  Much good information throught this site.  Post copied from SMALL KITCHEN GARDENS: By: david e kelley on Fri, 05/07/2010 - 6:10pm Your thoughts about flowers in the garden are right on.  I once had beautiful antique rose beds taller than your head, and a back yard full of bird and butterfly attracting flowers plus arbors of climbing roses.  I used many blooms as plate enhancers and in salads.  Mallow, hardy hibiscus, blossoms as big as a dinner plate, made a great show and tasted good.  Alas, I was ill for about 5-6 years and couldn't care for them properly, so they were removed.  Now the trees have blessed my home with heavy shade, which is super in this Texas summer heat.  My health is now better than it was 20 years ago.  A small garden fits my lifestyle and I'm sure it contributes to my well being.  I'm bringing more color to the garden this year by interplanting flowers with the vegetables, growing more in containers and hanging baskets.  Life is better with a garden of any size. Stay natural, David
Raised beds also provide a foundation for winter garden coverings.  We have two large beds (4x12').  One, we fitted with a removable cold frame topper, and the other (which is mostly shaded by a fence in the winter) gets hoops and a cover.  We put short and more tender veggies in the cold frame (carrots, spinach, bok choi, beets, kohlrabi) and the tunnel houses brussels sprouts and kale and mache.  It's much easier to manage the "lids" on the firm base provided by the bed frames.

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