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raised beds why are they better?

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I am due to start gardening and will be making raised beds. When I mention this to other gardeners they say good idea its easier. My husband is doubtful and I need a definitive answer as to why they are better. Can any one help please.

thank you for all the responses



Hello Amaranth, Yes go ahead.
Raised beds give you a controlled environment in which you can grow many things that require certain elements which will be leeched away in natural processes in open ground. Soils within the raised bed area can be easily exchanged and kept cleaner than anywhere else.

16 Mar, 2009


Hi Amaranth. Soil fertility is depleted by digging and ploughing, soil that is walked on becomes compacted. Raised beds drain better in heavy rains, they will hold moisture if you mulch with compost/ hay / grass, the worms will dig it in for you and aerate the soil. Make them a size where you can comortably reach in from either side.
This link is an excellent explanation of what to aim for.

The land we are farming with machinery and chemicals leaves the soil dead, no life, no worms, no mycelium. With oil depleting each year and prices rising it will be unsustainable. The life in woodland forest soil gives it continuous fertility with no ploughing, no fertilisers, no pesticides, no fungicides, everything thrives, a natural balance and harmony evolves. The mycelium in the soil moves the nutrients around. The trees shedding leaves releases fertility back into the soil. Our task is to adapt this natural cycle but with more productive combinations to give us our food. Looking at trees that produce nuts and fruit carefully spaced with small clearings vines growing through these, fruit bushes and other crops between in small clearings. Roots are left in the soil for funghi to decompose and return nutrients to the soil, spent plants / weeds are scythed and left to return to the soil naturally. Soil that is undisturbed contains bacteria, mycelium, worms, and woodlice etc, many small creatures returning nutrients to the soil. A plant converts sunshine into nutrients, and in the natural cycle actually returns more to the soil than it takes out. Break the cycle and the soil fertility depletes, needs to be replaced chemically. I actually dug a little woodland soil the other day to innoculate my new plant roots with these beneficial bacteria and funghi and kickstart this natural fertility in my own no dig garden; the woodland soil was dark and crumbly but difficult to get in large quantities because of a thick mesh of roots - busy returning nutrients. Also this more natural multi layered gardening encourages wildlife and birds who also return nutrients to the soil from what they eat.
If you think about earth as a skin, like our own skin it's a natural protection / system we don't rip off our own skin!!!! So for natural fertility, its no dig and mulches to protect earths natural functions. We may have to rethink the crops we eat, with this system great fields of cereals will not be possible as we won't have the oil to use there. Chestnuts and nuts may replace big crops of cereals.
We are heading towards oil famine and this sort of natural fertility takes time to develop.Hope this synopsis is helpful to you.

16 Mar, 2009


Cant be said much better than your other answerers, however.. with my raised beds i've found you have to really be on top of the watering cycle as they dry out very quickly, part of their good point in the early and later parts of the year and when heavy rain soaks ordinary ground for long periods at any time of the year. Also part of their plus points is that they warm up quickly early and late, but this warming can be too much if they are not well watered.
That said they are a wonderful system once you get the hang of them and produce masses of veg in a small space very efficiently, just be sure to include a couple of good sized compost heaps and return all waste foliage etc you can through them to the beds and learn to rotate your crops to stop disease build ups.
Good luck and enjoy your veg!

3 Aug, 2009

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