Given the option, I can not imagine not using raised beds. They provide a simple and effective way to create a healthy and productive garden by manipulating the growing environment. Ideal conditions can be created for the structure and drainage of the soil; essential keys to success.
Design the floor for structure and drainage
Too sandy or compacted native soil will not prevent the raised bed gardener. With raised beds, the earth can be brought into the garden and stacked in wide rows or added to a framed structure, regardless of the condition of the existing soil.
Ideally, it is best to incorporate native soil with lots of organic material, such as well-aged manure and compost, and even store-bought soil enhancements. However, there are times when mixing the native soil is inconvenient.
In both matter, the goal is to create a deep and wide growth zone that encourages the roots to grow downward and outward. It is said that the soil, which is straight, is loamy and has a good structure or slope. A simple test when you have achieved the perfect blend is when you press the soil in your hand; it binds, but easily crumbles when disturbed.
An equally important advantage for fair soils in raised beds is excellent drainage. Thanks to gravity, the water always wants to flow somewhere. Saturated soil and rotten roots are rarely a problem, as water passes through and gets out of bed. Fortunately, raised beds simply allow you to create the optimal combination of drainage and moisture retention at the same time, adding a lot of organic matter.
Options for holding the floor
The choice when building a raised bed is numerous. Three of the most popular options are pressure-treated wood, chemically untreated wood such as cedar or redwood, and recycled composite material made of plastic and wood fibers.
Pressure-treated wood is a popular choice because of its resistance to rotting (due to chemical injection into wood), availability, size selection and low cost. However, due to the health and environmental concerns of some, more and more efforts are being made to reduce the use of treated wood, to look for other options and to change the way wood is treated.
Some woods are naturally resistant to rot and do not require treatment. Popular options include Eastern Red Cedar,Redwood and BLACK Cricket. These varieties can last 20 years or more.
One of the newest wood alternatives on the market is composite wood, which is usually made of recycled plastic and wood fibers. They are designed to look like wood, are built for strength and come in a variety of sizes. The best part is that they will never rot. Although the cost may seem expensive at first, considering that they may never need to be replaced, this choice becomes a cost-effective option. Look for a system that allows you to stack plastic timbers at any height, such as the Frame-It-All system from Scenery Solution.
Whether you choose to keep your bed in a raised edge or just cover the ground; raised beds offer a significant advantage in creating a productive and healthy garden. Gardens with excellent soil and drainage are a sure way to best start your plants. Loft beds are a quick and easy way to make this possible.