by Brooke Tolman
(last updated March 8, 2019)
Bedding is what you build your garden on. The most common type of bedding is raised bedding, which means the soil is built up beyond ground level and most often in some type of container. There are many advantages to using beds to garden as oppose to just gardening right into the flat ground.
One of the advantages is reduced soil compaction. Plant roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can't avoid stepping in the garden bed occasionally when doing your everyday gardening. However, a properly designed raised bed garden allows you to do all your gardening from the garden path. Plants can be spaced a little closer together in a raised bed because you don't need places to step. This makes it so you get more for your money and reduces weeding when the plants. Soil conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a raised bed and they can be varied easily from bed to bed. Raised beds are the answer when topsoil is thin because you can afford to water, fertilize, mulch and compost more since you only have to apply it to the bed and not a whole garden.
Raised bedding can be anything from building a box out of wood and putting dirt in it to mounding up dirt in rows. While it's a pretty cheap way to style your garden, it does take some time to put any type of bedding together. However, once it's done, it looks great so it's definitely worth your time. If using a box type of bed, make sure every year or so when gardening season starts to nail any loose nails in place and tighten it up. The last thing you want is to wake up the sight of your bedding falling apart. Something that will help with that as well is replacing the boards every few years, as eventually they'll start to mold and fall apart. Priming, painting and waterproofing your wood will help make your boards go a much longer way. As far as the mounds go, each year you'll have to rebuild them a little bit higher because as the rain and the wind take their toll on them, they'll start to flatten out and be subject to gravity.
No matter where you live, raised beds offer many options to create lovely garden spaces and practical vegetable gardens. Look for inspiration around you and experiment to find your own unique style.
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