Veteran gardeners often have raised garden boxes in their gardens. Amateur gardeners are often left to wonder why they do so, and what possible benefit this could have.
Garden beds have been around from the beginning of agricultural practice, thousands of years ago. No one is quite sure where this practice originates. They have been used to grow vegetables in virtually all parts of the world. Hobbyists who grow vegetables these days find these indispensable for a large number of reasons.
A raised garden box is essentially a raised garden bed walled off by planks of wood (or, more recently, composite plastic. They help immensely in the cultivation of vegetables.
Raised garden boxes come in many different sizes. They can be as short as about 6 inches and up to even 36 inches (3 feet tall). However, you have to remember that the taller you build your garden box, the more soil is going to be required inside the box, and the more effort it should take to bring this soil to the box. Furthermore, a large amount of soil in the vegetable ox means more pressure in the walls of the box, so that the walls have to be built of more sturdy material.
Some of the reasons they are so popular and useful are:
1. Vegetables that are grown in garden boxes often require precious fertilizers and better quality soil than that present in the garden. By growing in a garden box, gardeners can ensure that the precious fertilizers and soil that they have invested in is not washed away by rain or storm.
2. The elevated garden boxes help immensely in keeping out weeds and grass that grows in the rest of the garden.
3. The garden box can also help keep out pests such as snails, caterpillars etc. that crawl up plant stems. They will be unable to crawl up the elevated planks of the garden bed, and thus keep away from the vegetable plants. This immensely increases success of the vegetables grown in the garden box.
4. The garden boxes ensure that the soil remains well drained. This is important as vegetables don’t like water logged roots.
5. Garden boxes are visually quite pleasing. By having a special corner of the garden specifically designed for vegetable growing, you can be sure to be motivated to put more effort into your vegetables, which is ultimately the true secret to success in gardening.
6. Garden beds help raise the level of the plants, and this helps reduce stress on the back. This is particularly important for older gardeners, or gardeners who produce a very large amount of vegetables. Daily care of these vegetables can build up to produce tremendous back stress.
7. You can sit on the edges of the garden box while weeding around or inside the box. This can be quite a luxury!
8. If you are planning to build a garden box, you should first decide on how big you want it, and what materials you want to build it with. Red Cedar wood is the best option, as it is a naturally rot resistant wood. Other rot resistant woods include the black locust and redwood. The verdict is still out on treated lumbar, so it is best to avoid those. You may also use composite plastic planks to build your bed. These are a little more expensive, but they are very hardy, and will last you for a lifetime.
Here are some things you should do to prepare your garden before you install a bed:
1. Turn up the soil where you want to place your bed.
You should turn the soil up to a depth of about 16 inches. This will give you a clear idea of what your garden soil is like, and also help remove rocks. Remember that roots might go deeper than the height of your garden box, and prepare the soil accordingly.
2. Plan the beds so that the tall end faces south. This simply ensures that all the plants in the box get equal amount of light throughout the day.
3. Mulch the pathway outside the box. This helps prevent weeds from invading your garden box.
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