One of the benefits of growing in a raised bed garden is, you don’t have to bend down so far to harvest.
Not just that it adds aesthetic appeal to your garden, but raised beds garden has superior soil, suppressed weed growth, improved drainage, and prolific produce.
If you’re looking to start a raised bed gardening, that’s great but I warn you that you’ll be addicted to its benefits.
Though I bragged about these raised beds, I made many mistakes while starting my own.
Like they say, ‘you learn from your mistakes’. I learned it.
Luckily, you don’t have to waste your time or energy to learn, just spare a few minutes.
Below listed are common raised bed gardening mistakes that even seasoned gardeners can make and you should avoid them.
What is Raised Bed Garden?
If your garden soil isn’t well-drained or lacks nutrients, then raised bed in your gardening space comes as a savior.
These elevated structures are your garden is filled with well-drained soil, compost, and organic matter to make it nutrient rich.
Raised beds are semi-permanent structures that can’t be moved like containers. Though it isn’t easy to build and demands your time and money while building, it is worth it.
As a gardener, you’ll have control over the quality of the soil which can be accessed easily.
You can use wood, brick, stone, or recycled materials to build a raised bed.
Mistakes do happen and this write-up is to help you avoid them.
11 Common Raised Bed Gardening Mistakes
1. Wrong spot
The wrong location of raised bed can ruin your gardening experience.
Opting for an inadequate spot can lead to weak growth and disappointing results.
Ensure your chosen site receives sufficient sunlight, avoiding shaded areas by buildings or trees.
Proper drainage is essential; stay away from places prone to water accumulation.
You must avoid location that gets strong winds, they can damage plants.
Avoid planting near large trees or shrubs that can compete for resources and cast shadows.
Raised beds are meant to make things simpler; they should be easily accessible to simplify maintenance tasks
You should consider the influence of other plants or nearby structures that can impact temperature and wind exposure to your plants.
2. Too Wide Raised Beds
Too wide raised beds can obstruct the growth of plants.
They make plant roots difficult to reach the center, resulting in soil compaction.
Apart from that wide garden beds can complicate maintenance tasks, such as weeding and harvesting.
An ideal raised bed should strike a balance between accessibility and maximizing planting space.
This ensures easier management and healthier plants.
3. Building Raised Beds Too Close
Gardening is a joy and like most gardeners, I too like to spend time in my garden along with plants.
Raised beds need to have enough space among them, so you can inspect every plant and act if there is any sign of pest or disease.
At least leave 3 feet wide distance between beds, so your wheelbarrow can pass through easily.
4. Not Keeping a Weed Barrier
While planning raised bed, you must cover the ground with cardboard to suppress weed growth.
Else, grass or weed can affect plant growth in the raised bed.
Cardboards are biodegradable, which means they get decompose with time.
Another natural way is to mulch the bottom of the raised beds with pine bark, small stones, pine straw, or grass clippings. These things suppress weed growth and help to get rid of small weeds.
5. No Plan for Water Raised Beds
Water is among the essential requirements of the plant. Most gardeners recommend it automate the process.
If you’re working on lifting buckets of water to irrigate your raised bed, then probably you aren’t inspecting your plant growth.
Use drip irrigation or a soaker hose to water your raised bed garden. It takes less time and you can ensure that plants are well-hydrated.
6. Use of Chemical Included Material to Build Raised Beds
Before 2003, pressure-treated wood had chromate copper arsenate that isn’t safe for plants. But, as of 2004, its use is stopped and you can use pressure-treated wood to build raised beds.
Apart from this, you can use lumber wood, corrugated metal, bricks, barrels, large stones, and other miscellaneous that are free from chemicals.
7. Not Caring to Use Nutrient-Rich Soil
Filling your raised bed with average soil that isn’t rich in nutrients can be one of the reasons for your gardening failure.
The soil in the raised garden should be rich in essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Adding old compost along with organic matter and garden soil will ensure the plant gets a continuous supply of nutrients.
8. Not Mulching
Even if you cover the bottom of the raised bed with cardboard, some weeds may appear. They are resilient and can travel through the wind to grow in your raised bed.
Covering the soil with mulch (hay grass) can suppress weed growth, improve the water retention ability of the soil, reduce soil erosion and maintain soil temperature.
9. Forgot to Label Plants
If you’ve planted multiple plants in your raised bed, then you might have faced difficulty to determine what you’ve planted.
All young plants look alike, so it is best to have a rough label so that even your guest can identify them.
10. Not Making Beds Deep Enough
The raised bed should be 12 inches or 18 inches deep.
Less than this and your plants may suffer to grow their roots. Considering you’re covering raised bed bottom with dried leaves or compost, you should plan for 18 inches deep raised bed.
11. Planting at Wrong Time
Planting cool-season crops in the warm season will kill them.
Even nutrient-rich soil with a weed barrier and mulch can’t help your plant to grow if the temperature isn’t ideal.
First, know the growing requirements of your plants, and then plan accordingly.
Raised beds in gardens are expensive, but they are worth it.
With nutrient-rich and well-drained soil, you can double the yield.
The only thing you must do is to avoid above mentioned raised bed garden mistakes.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting