Pros and Cons of Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening

What are Raised Beds?

The prominence of raised beds is an emerging gardening trend for 2021/2022 spurred on by Instagram and the growth in popularity of ‘grow your own’ and ‘garden zoning’ but are raised beds right for your garden? We have listed out the main pros and cons to see if raised beds are something that would be beneficial for your outdoor space.

A raised bed (sometimes called a garden, framed or planter boxes) refers to a container or box that has been raised with walls surrounding the soil. The beds are usually a minimum of at least 6 inches of the ground and are commonly constructed with wood lumber, stone, bricks, or other durable materials.

Raised beds can be made at any time of year but winter / late summer is the best time if it’s not too wet or frozen as you can enjoy the benefits of the raised beds in spring.

Positives of Raised Beds

  1. Improved drainage as the soil is raised above the surrounding ground level.
  2. Increasing soil temperature – The higher level of the soil encourages beds to warm up faster in the spring, allowing the season to start earlier.
  3. Improved accessibility – Raised beds are also useful for gardeners with restricted mobility, as they reduce the need to bend.
  4. Growing plants in a different soil type – allows the soil to match the plants and grow in its preferred environment and with good topsoil enriched with fertiliser this will give excellent root zone conditions (although this can be done in traditional beds)
  5. They can be used in areas that have contaminated soil or no soil at all.
  6. Helps keep pets and children from stepping onto plants.
  7. They have a distinctive look.

Negatives of Raised Beds

  1. Require more watering as plants in raised beds suffers more intensely from drought due to improved drainage and warmer soil in the summer.
  2. Perennials need to be hardier since a raised bed gets colder in winter.
  3. Some concern over chemicals leaching from wall materials into the soil – if concerned, make sure to line the inside of the bed with polythene.
  4. You will need to buy soil if you do not have an area you can use soil from in the garden.
  5. They cost money to build – high upfront cost for a first-time gardener or someone that may move house in the next few years.