Raised bed gardens
I have a raised bed garden in my yard for growing everything from tomatoes to green beans. It’s easy to weed and there are no compaction problems because I don’t walk on it.
Raised beds warm up earlier in the spring and dry out faster, so you get a jump start on the planting season.
Brooke Edmunds is a commercial horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension. She says you can just mound up soil and plant into it or use some sort of framing material to hold the soil in place.
"That could be pressure treated wood, you can use concrete blocks, cinder blocks, but you can get really creative. Some folks have old watering troughs, just drill some extra drain holes in the bottom and then you can fill that up with a soil mix and plant that out," says Edmunds. "There are a lot of great custom designs out there depending on what your needs are."
The soil for a raised bed depends on the quality of your native soil. If it’s good soil, you can rototill it and raise it up a few inches. If it’s made of heavy clay or has lots of sand, it’s best to buy garden soil that is well draining and has organic matter in it.
"Usually folks may buy a bulk load, have that delivered and use it to fill their raised bed. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend potting soil," she says. "One, it’s a little more expensive and sometimes it has things like perlite or other things mixed in which will float to the top of your bed. Look for a well-draining garden soil. Take a look at it before you buy it, may want to also purchase some compost or well-composted manures to mix into that, to help with the drainage."
How deep should the bed be? It depends on your needs, but Edmunds says the soil should be deep enough to support the roots of what you’re growing.