David Davis: Want to try raised-bed gardening?

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Raising a small backyard garden can be enjoyable, good for your health through increased physical activity, and very rewarding. After all, there is nothing better than consuming fresh fruits and vegetables that you have picked from your own garden! Utilizing raised beds for backyard gardening is also very popular. Here are a few reasons why.

Raised beds can be constructed from a diverse variety of material types and packages. They can be easily constructed out of wood commonly available at the local home improvements or hardware store, out of recycled plastics and other materials, out of stone, or many other types of materials that are available from landscaping suppliers. Raised bed construction kits can even be purchased with all the materials needed to construct the beds at gardening centers, or can be ordered off of the internet. There are many different ideas as to what raised bed gardens can be constructed out of, and how these designs can be incorporated into the landscape. This is one of the most popular topics in gardening magazines, websites, and on social media in the spring.

Raised beds make backyard gardens more visually appealing. They can be incorporated into the existing landscape design in a very organized fashion, adding additional beauty to the landscape. They can be constructed along walkways to soften their appearance in the landscape, be incorporated along fences to cover them with trellised vegetable or flowering plants, and can vary in shape and size to achieve desired focal points throughout the landscape. Traditional gardens, on the other hand, require a large amount of space all to their own instead of being incorporated into the landscape.

Raised bed gardens can allow plants to be produced in landscapes where soil characteristics or the lay of the land would be limiting otherwise. Since soil mixtures are added to raised beds, using them allows homeowners to garden when the soils on their property are not suited for gardening. When space is limited, or when homes are located on steep terrain, special type of raised bed gardens called terrace gardens can by utilized to “create” garden space.

Most of all, raised bed gardens can be located near the door of the house. When gardens, vegetable gardens in particular, can be located near the door of the house; gardeners are more likely to follow thru with gardening to achieve a harvest. They see the garden every day, and there is more of an incentive to not abandon the garden when anyone that comes to visit can see it.

If you would like to learn more about constructing and maintaining raised bed gardens in your home landscape, plan to join us for the upcoming Raised Bed Gardening Workshop. This workshop will be conducted at the Winchester Clark County Public Library next Tuesday, March 21, starting at 5 pm. We are offering this program in conjunction with the Winchester Clark County Public Library, and the Clark County Community Education Program. Contact the Clark County Extension Office by calling (859) 744-4682 to register, or to learn more about this upcoming workshop.

David Davis is the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources.