Are you exploring the idea of getting rid of your lawn, and growing perennials or vegetables? Imagine this: you can be dressed for work or play, and come home and just pull a few weeds or harvest a few tomatoes, and never get your shoes or pants dirty! Gardening in raised beds is easy, and can make that possible.
In a previous blog post we shared tips on how to convert a lawn to a garden or meadow and also keep it tidy looking for your neighbors. But with a little extra investment into raised garden beds, you could also get creative and grow flowers and vegetables at home with less work than a ground-level garden. And they are great for folks with mobility issues, who may not be able to stand, bend, stoop, or see well.
Building a raised bed might take a little bit of time and investment, or perhaps the skills of a handyperson to measure and build them, but they have neatly contained edges and can improve the appeal of your landscape. You can choose to grow fruits and vegetables, perennials and flowers, or a mix of both. Spring strawberries could grow under summer lavender, for example, or summer tomatoes can be planted in among black-eyed Susans. You can even grow small trees or shrubs, like fig trees or elderberries, and add trellises along the sides to grow cucumbers, peas, or hops that are planted on the edge of the beds.
Raised beds can be made from untreated wood, recycled plastic lumber, metal, brick, stones, pre-made kits, or even logs. There are tons of ideas for upcycling materials for raised beds: untreated wood pallets, old bathtubs, farm water troughs, broken cinder blocks, reclaimed untreated lumber and cedar shingles, old plastic sandboxes, or even old wooden boats or old desks. Just be sure to never use tires or railroad ties, unless you can line them on the inside to prevent toxins from leaching into your soil. Paths can be made of brick, stone, mulch, or grass. Water can be directed from your rain barrels, too. If rabbits or deer are grazing in your garden, you can add fencing or netting around them, and even can use the fence supports to add a plastic hoop house for cooler months to extend the growing season for vegetables.
And don’t forget to purchase your plants at one of our wonderful farmers markets or from local farmers, many of whom provide locally grown, heirloom, and organic varieties.
While our imaginations are going wild with ideas, we encourage you to start thinking about where you might plan a raised bed this year on your property, or at your school or place of worship. Head on over to search images on the web for raised bed project ideas. We found U-shaped beds, circular beds, star-shaped beds, and even benches and walls with built-in raised beds.
Anyone remodeling? We may have just discovered a great freeze-proof, well drained planter for your patio…!