Connecticut Garden Journal: Don’t sleep on the benefits of gardening in raised beds
I'm all about making gardening easier and more rewarding. One the best ways to accomplish both goals is to grow plants in raised beds. Many gardeners are familiar with raised vegetable beds, but you can also plant annual and perennial flowers, herbs, berry bushes and even small trees in raised beds.
Raised beds are perfect for poor quality soil, and sandy and clay soils. By raising the beds up, you'll build healthier soil, plant closer together, plant earlier in spring, reduce waterlogged beds and not compact the soil. Beds should be at least 8 inches tall, not more than 3- to 4-feet wide and as long as you like. I like 8 foot long beds because the wood doesn't warp. Two inch diameter wooden beds are best for longevity. The most rot resistant wood is cedar, but for less expensive wood, try hemlock or spruce, They can last more than 10 years before rotting. Avoid pressure treated woods. You can also use stone, brick or metal to build your beds.
Find a location that's perfect for the plants you'll grow. For vegetables and sun loving flowers, build a bed where it will get 6- to 8-hours of direct sun a day. For shade loving veggies and flowers, 3 to 4 hours of sun is fine. Build the bed close to a water source and somewhere where you'll walk by it every day to remember to water, weed, harvest and care for the bed.
You'll produce more flowers and food in a smaller space that is less likely to get run over by kids or dogs because it's raised up.