Time to put those seeds to bed, a raised garden bed that is

Herb and vegetable garden in raised beds. (Kathryn Donohew Photography/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gardening can be a real pain in the back. Spending time hunched over planting, pruning, cleaning or cultivating is a recipe for neck and back aches. One way to avoid that discomfort is to bring the work closer to you.

This is where a raised or freestanding garden can help. Bringing the plants close to you means less bending, reaching and hunching. Add a little more cash and a few more nails and you can even make a small bench seat along the perimeter of the garden. Want to save money? You can also use a small garden stool or bucket. Personally, I like the bucket as it gives you a place to put clippings and trash.

Besides taking some of the aches out of gardening, raised beds offer other benefits too:

  • Better nutrients to the roots. Since you don’t walk in raised beds, soil compaction is also reduced. This allows water and air to move more freely through the soil.
  • Huge salads! Vegetables can be planted at higher densities, resulting in more produce per square foot. Planting closer than a traditional garden, the plants can shade out much of the weed growth.
  • Pest control is also easier with raised beds. If burrowing rodents like moles are a problem, the bottom of the bed can be lined with poultry wire or hardware cloth. You can even cover beds with bird netting.
  • Save a bunch on irrigation costs by using a soaker hose or drip tubing.

Are you ready? There is still time this season and plenty of raised bed plans online to get you started.

It’s worth mentioning that you will be want to be careful building raised beds. Products and building materials used for ornamental plants might not be suitable for edibles. Be wary of recycled lumber. Also, remember that not all pesticides are safe for vegetable gardens. As always, read and follow the instructions on the label.


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