Rise Up!

The weather this week was a mixed bag of tricks. Sunny and warm one day, and snowflakes flying through the air the next. But if you’re anything like me, you spent that sunny day outside cleaning up your winter-weary garden beds. This year, in addition to my usual planting, I’m going to add a few raised beds as well.

Besides saving space in your garden, growing crops in raised beds is the best way to ensure both good drainage and better moisture retention. But those aren’t the only reasons to use these elevated marvels. Just consider the following advantages:

A broader plant palette. An enclosed, raised bed is just a big, bottomless container, so you can fill it with soil that suits the requirements of any — and every — kind of plant.

Earlier planting. Soil in raised beds warms up earlier in the spring because more of it is exposed to sunlight. That means you get heat lovers off and running sooner.

Easier maintenance. You don’t have to reach so far to pull weeds and harvest crops. In fact, because you can make them as high as you want, you can garden comfortably even if you have trouble bending over.

Good looks. Since the walls can be made of just about any material that will hold soil, raised beds can make an attractive addition to your yard.

Problem prevention. The walls hold the soil (and plants) inside, even in heavy rain, and they help deter weeds and many pests.

Tastier veggies. Your crops will produce better in raised beds because they’re growing in loose, fertile topsoil that never gets walked on. And you can grow twice as many crops in the same space because you don’t need to build garden paths.