NGA Articles: Planning a Vegetable Garden

Planning a Vegetable Garden (cont)

By: Lynn Ocone

Why Raised Beds

My best-looking and most productive gardens are ones that utilize three-foot-wide raised beds.

Raised beds:

  • increase the growing area by reducing the amount of space in the garden delegated to paths.
  • create order by clearly defining planting areas.
  • save resources; fertilizer and compost are applied only in the beds, not broadcast over the entire garden area.
  • reduce work; after the first year you won't need to do any heavy cultivation.
  • are convenient; it's easy to reach the center of a three-foot-wide bed without walking on it.
  • help plants grow better; root crops grow especially well in the loosened, fast-draining soil of raised beds.
  • increase planting flexibility; in each bed, you can plant parallel rows of vegetables running the length of the bed.
  • Or you can broadcast seeds across the bed in three-foot-wide blocks of any length. Larger plants like eggplants and peppers fit well when staggered in a triangular or diamond pattern.
  • adapt well to trellises; an A-frame trellis fits nicely over a three-foot bed and enables you to plant two rows of climbers, such as cucumbers and beans, in one bed.
  • adapt well to ready-made season extenders; most fabric row covers and the hoops that support them fit three-foot-wide beds.
  • warm up and dry out faster in spring, so plants get a jump on the season.
  • are more beautiful! It's the most important reason of all.

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