What's So Great About Raised Beds?

At Rooted Garden and Gardenary, one of the most common questions we are asked is, “Why do you only garden in raised beds?”  

At Rooted Garden, we exclusively plant in raised beds made of cedar, stone, or steel. In fact, we insist on it.

There are two main reasons why we use raised beds for the kitchen garden (and you should too!)

Form and Function

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The form of a raised bed is one of the key reasons we always start with the bed structure for all our clients. The raised bed separates the kitchen garden from the rest of the landscape, provides a consistent shape throughout the entire year (regardless of what the plants are doing), and makes the kitchen garden so much easier to work and enjoy.

A kitchen garden is different from a sprawling vegetable patch. This blog post specifically explains those differences.  Kitchen gardens are meant to be a focal point in your yard, a place where you can gather with friends and family, a feature point of your landscape and home.  And a raised bed ensures that’s the case by separating the garden from the rest of your landscape.

Throughout the seasons, as your garden starts small, grows tall, and eventually starts from seed again, a raised bed provides a consistent form in your landscape. The raised bed serves as a beautiful and sturdy structure that provides organization, even during a garden’s wild phases of growth.

Finally, raised beds are so much more enjoyable to work in than gardens planted directly in the ground. So many of our Rooted Garden clients say they never enjoyed gardening until they got to do so in a raised bed. The whole garden is so much cleaner, easier to tend, and so much easier on our bodies.

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Perhaps more important than the form of a raised bed is its function.

(This is what drew me to using raised beds in the first place)

A raised bed allows you to start with exceptional soil and compost, to provide great drainage for your vegetable plants (which love good drainage-btw, and the best temperature for vegetable and herb growth.

A kitchen garden’s success is directly tied to the quality of soil you use. But getting optimal soil in your natural yard’s dirt can take years of tilling and amending and composting. It’s worth the effort but most of us don’t want to wait years and years to start growing.  With a raised bed, you’re able to start with the perfect soil blend right from the start.

In addition to soil quality, raised beds also drain more quickly. Nearly all vegetable and herb plants prefer their roots to not sit in water for any length of time. But most of our natural soils contain a clay that holds on to water (and drowns our kitchen garden plants). The raised garden solves this problem.

And last but not least,  a raised bed provides you with the best possible temperature for your vegetable and herb plants. If you’re in a colder climate (like I am now in the Chicago area), the soil in a raised bed will thaw and be ready to plant much sooner. The warm soil is just what your kitchen garden seeds need to wake up and start growing.

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If you’re new to raised beds, keep in mind that you can start small.  Pictured here are some of our biggest raised garden installations for inspiration. But, even a raised bed that’s 2’ X 8’ can provide the form and function you’re wanting in a small space.  

So, go for it! Let’s set up your raised bed this season and make it more simple and possible for you to kitchen garden than you imagined. If you’re ready to get started, you’ve got to join me for an awesome 5 day challenge. You’ll learn so much about growing in the kitchen garden and be more than ready to set up your first raised garden bed.

Join the FREE 5 day Kickstart Your Kitchen Garden by clicking the link below.

Nicole Burke