Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why I Love Growing Vegetables in Raised Garden Beds: Reason #1

All's Quiet on the Winter Front

I've been wanting to write about raised beds since I started this blog back in 2006. I decided to start growing in raised beds when I moved in with my hunky (and handy!) farmguy Joe nine years ago and had the chance to create another new garden from scratch. I'm so glad I did, and unless I decide to plant an acre of something someday, I doubt I'll ever go back to gardening any other way. I even have raised beds in the greenhouse.

There are many reasons why I love my raised beds, and many of you have been asking me to tell you more about them. But because it's obvious that I'm never going to get around to writing one giant raised bed blog post, I decided I should tackle the reasons one by one instead.

So here goes. This first reason was inspired by the weather we've been having and is all about form and has nothing to do with function, but when you think about it, so does a lot of gardening:

They look beautiful when they're covered with snow.

I'm also looking forward to sharing tips about creating and using raised beds in the upcoming months. Are you a raised bed gardener? Feel free to jump into this new ongoing discussion anytime! And if you've written about raised beds on your own blog, you're welcome to leave a link to the post(s) in a comment below.

More posts about the winter garden:
1/5/07: Things Are Looking Up in the Broccoli Department
2/4/07: Yearning For Yellow & Your Seed Favorites and Failures
9/26/07: How To Grow Your Own Swiss Chard (a wonderful winter vegetable) and Why You Should
3/9/08: Tips For Growing & Using Rosemary Year Round

© Copyright 2009, the foodie farm blog where the other nice thing about snow on raised beds is that it even makes all the fall cleanup you never got around to doing look good—and it takes away the guilt, because how can you be expected to go out there and pull up dead weeds when you can't even see the ground? Winter can be so handy
that way. Of course I probably won't be thinking that when I'm scrambling to get these beds ready for planting lettuce and beets (and hopefully a bunch of other stuff) in March.


  1. You might like the pics of my garden in snow. The different sizes and shapes of the beds make great sculptures under that snow :-) The smaller beds look like biscuits to me :-)

  2. I love raised beds as well. I don't have as many as you, I would love to someday but that would require buying more land & moving.

  3. I've been gardening with raised beds for many years and for me, it's the best way. However, this year we are going to plow a very small area on our property to plant potatoes, carrots and onions. We'll see how that goes.

  4. I totally love my raised beds! Once you set them up you really don't need to till them (and in fact you shouldn't). It's amazing how little time it takes me to plant each spring. I'm getting ready to get rid of my back yard and put in more as a potager. Much prettier than grass!

  5. I moved away from my glorious alluvial flood plain soil to shallow clay soil. I tilled and amended like crazy last year for the ornamental parts of the yard...and this year I am going to raise beds with straw wattles like they did in the project below. Check it out.

  6. While we don't have significant snow cover to enhance the beauty, in winter I can still grow some veggies with a cover in my raised beds. Even with days at 20 degrees!

    Personally, I'll never go back either. Looking forward to hearing more of your reasons.

  7. No. We have no raised beds. We have an old-fashioned, big ole area of dirt out there with a fence around it. It has been the garden for decades and generations now, and will probably continue to be the garden forever and ever, amen.

    Though I can see the appeal of the raised beds . . .

  8. If it wasn't for raised beds, I wouldn't have my kitchen garden, as the area was on a slope that had been leveled down to clay and rock. We had to bring in topsoil, but the initial work has been well worth it. I recently posted a photo on my blog of my raised beds under a cover of snow. :-)

  9. I'm going with a semi-raised bed(amending with about five inches of compost and planting soil on top of a bed that I have already tilled down about a foot and broke up the clay by hand). I surrounded the whole business with a terra cotta brick border.

    I personally picked a raised bed because the border makes it look prettier, which is a courtesy to the neighbors I have in my apartment complex. That is the only stipulation on my garden from management - that it must be aesthetically pleasing.

    I can't wait until I have a large plot of my own that I can build extensive raised beds on though. I would like a separate bed for each type of vegetable/flower I grow, but it'll be awhile before I can manage that.

  10. I have been gardening forYEARS... but recently moved to a small farm in Oregon, which had a 100 x 45 ft garden bed. I found that the weeds won every year, so this last fall we started putting in raised beds (garlic already up in one) and I'm looking forward to a better gardening year this year, can hardly wait until it's time to plant.

    Love all 3 of your blogs, keep up the good work


  11. I have a mix of raised beds, and then just lasagna beds...which look raised but don't have wooden sides. I love the way they look in winter, those mounds beneath the heaped snow, so full of promise. Pregnant with it this year, we've had so much snow. I'd like to do more raised beds.

  12. I'm very anal retentive, and so I like the control aspect of raised beds: No dirt running wild outside of the beds, a clear barrier between my plants and the dog, etc.

    Also, when it comes to amending and digging and turning compost in, it all stays nice and neat inside the lines.

    I should really address these issues of mine, but I won't. Raised beds forever!

  13. I love the raised beds, and after having them only one year I can't imagine going back to just dirt! When my house renovations are done, I'm getting two new ones for tomatoes, along the edge of the deck with a separate sprinkler control! So excited!

  14. "foodie farm blog where the other nice thing about snow on raised beds is that it even makes all the fall cleanup you never got around to doing look good—and it takes away the guilt,because how can you be expected to go out there and pull up dead weeds when you can't even see the ground? Winter can be so handy that way...." Right on! The 1st major reason I love snow! It works for the flower beds and the yard as well. It's amazing what looks beautiful under a foot of snow! lol I love my raised beds and couldn't wait to have them to plant in. I get a wonderful amount of food for the space available, earlier warming of the soil temps, easier on the back weeding/seeding/ect as I'm able to sit down on a wheeled garden cart AND if all works out this spring, I'll be able to turn each small raised bed into a mini green house to start my seeds this year. My raised beds are mostly square and look like Chic-lets gum squares under the snow, but it never ceases to make me smile! Love the blog(s) and am infact planning on makeing some of your bread this weekend!

  15. I love it! I recently wrote a post about raised beds without walls...had lots of good gardening chatter. love your blogs!

  16. Because of the clay soil here. (You could roll the grass up off of it.) We had to resort to raised beds. I love being able to sit on the side and mess around in the soil or eat. Last year we put in 3 more and put 2 separate sheets of plastic over one to raise temperatures. Planted my tomato seedlings in March, here in Mid-Missouri. By the end of the year almost all of the tomatoes were over 8 feet tall and full of juicy goodness. Mmmmmm....... I also planted Nasturtiums along the north side, so pretty spilling over the edges and who knew that they smelled so sweet.

    On another note, the raised beds help define which space to play in. Not that we didn't have a few football accidents and what-not. But thankfully, no foot traffic.

  17. I am a lover of raised bed gardening for many reasons. I set mine up in this yard 10 years ago and no matter where I garden from now on I know that I will always have raised beds.
    When my boys were little one of the best things about raised beds was that they could toddle along the pathways with me all throughout the garden and I never had to worry that they would trod on anything.(same theory goes for the dogs)
    My beds are covered with snow right now too but I know that tucked in under the leaves and snow on one of those beds is a whole lot of garlic just waiting to grow when spring comes.
    This link is to a photo of most of my raised beds getting put to bed for winter.

  18. I usually garden in raised beds or containers. Aside from the ability to control the soil and it keeping others from walking on it - thus compacting it. I really do it due to being in a wheelchair. With the raised beds I can have them at waist height and be able to reach everything myself.

    We do not have a whole lot of property to work with. So at the most we have done was roughly 4 raised beds that were 4' x 8' each. This actually gave us more than we could really use vegetable wise for a family of 2 - before we thought about canning of course.

    Beyond raised beds, we are also very fond of the "square foot" gardening method. Works out very nicely in raised beds and really makes every inch work for you.

    I also mentioned we do a lot of container gardening too. The whole limited space issue, ya know. So we find that we can hang a tomato or some strawberries in many places.

  19. Raised beds forever. I get more production from raised beds. We have sandy soil here that leaches quickly. We have amended the raised beds with lots of compost, leaves, steer manure, and even clay soil was added. So much easier than trying to amend a big plot each year. We do add compost to the raided beds each year but even that is easier to do. We are getting to the age where the word EASY has become very important.

  20. I'm a big fan of raised beds. My current garden is only three years old and have about a dozen beds. We pulled down an old wooden deck last summer and plan to reuse all of the old decking to make more beds. I feel like a little kid with a big playground.

  21. Yes I love my raised beds. Mine are 4 x 4 foot squares. I made them that way based on the book "Square Foot Gardening". This year I'm also planning to put in a long raised bed along the sunniest side of the house and put a row of vining type vegetables there, using some garden fenceposts and trellis netting. I have some nice pictures of my garden last year, you would enjoy them I think.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!