Thinking about creating a garden this year? Then take a lesson from the Chinese, who successfully cultivate prolific, raised bed gardens in miniscule backyards. High, mounded garden beds yield nearly twice the amount of produce than traditional row gardens. The plants also tend to be bigger and bear more fruit. Here are a few more reasons why raised bed gardens are the way to go.
Raised bed gardens allow you to fit more plants within a smaller space. This is because with mounded beds, the roots of your plants grow downward toward where the water is, rather than spreading outward in search of moisture and tangling with the roots of neighboring plants. In a raised bed garden, each plant takes up a modest amount of space beneath the soil while thriving in an upward direction above ground.
Raised bed gardens reduce soil compaction. This also factors into the way that your plants’ roots grow. Without raised garden beds, you’re more likely to walk on top of the soil. This compacts the soil together and makes it more difficult to hold moisture.
Raised bed gardens reduce the amount of weeds. Since the plants tend to be larger and grow more closely together, this leaves less room for weeds to invade the area.
Raised bed gardens deliver moisture directly to the roots of your plants. This is because water naturally drains downward. With a flat garden bed, water tends to pool on top of the ground, flood the plants, and then evaporate in the hot sun, with less chance for absorption into the soil.
Raised bed gardens extend the growing season. The soil in a raised bed warms up more quickly than at level ground, and takes longer to cool at the end of the season. Thus, you can maintain a more consistent temperature for your plants to thrive in. It’s also relatively easy to insulate your raised bed garden to protect plants from frost and wind.
Raised bed gardens are easily accessed from all sides. Because they’re more compactly sized at 4’x8′ or 4’x4′ depending on what you grow, the gardener is able to maneuver around the entire perimeter of the garden. This makes planting, watering, weeding and harvesting much easier.
Raised bed gardens are easier on your back and arms. Of particular interest to the elderly and those with decreased mobility, raised bed gardens require less leaning and bending. You might even be able to do your weeding and picking from the comfort of a lawn chair!
For a handy reference on raised bed gardening, check out Better Vegetable Gardens the Chinese Way!