Raised Garden Beds

A raised planter can provide fresh produce from March to December

With the trend toward fresh and natural fruit and vegetables, there is nothing more refreshing or satisfying than growing your own. Raised beds are great for growing small fruits and vegetables. They keep fewer weeds from invading, prevent soil compaction, and provide good drainage. They allow for total control over soil composition and provide more effortless work effort for planting and harvesting, causing less back strain. With better soil composition, crop yields can be up to 50% more.

You can purchase ready-made kits to build your raised bed at the Gasper Garden Center. Some are made from recycled plastic and are expandable as your garden grows. Pressure-treated wood or railroad ties are excellent materials to use in building a raised garden bed. Never use chemically treated woods to make a raised bed, as some of the chemicals can leach into the soil.

You can build your own out of concrete wall stone, natural wall stone, or untreated hardwoods if you are handy. You can find help purchasing these products at Bucks County Hardscape & Building Supply, the red contractor building at Gasper.

Before building your bed, till the ground underneath as deep as possible ― up to 16 inches ― to loosen the soil. Build your raised garden bed so that the long side faces south. Make sure your bed is as level as possible.

Next comes your soil mixture. The best combination is two parts soil to one part compost. For small beds, you can purchase bags of premium organic soil and compost like Bumper Crop. Bumper Crop combines up to ten all-natural ingredients. For more extensive gardens, buy a soil/compost mix by the yard, such as Gasper’s Organic Soil Blend (with Soil King). Gasper delivers bulk material to your home for a small fee.

When working in your garden, use a board laid across the bed, avoiding stepping on your soil and compacting it. You will want to build or use trellises or cages for cucumbers, tomatoes, or vine crops to save space.

For rows between your plants, use a strip of landscape fabric with natural mulch on top to keep weeds down. Also, Preen makes an organic weed preventer made from corn gluten. It is essential to use organic weed preventers and spray, or food-safe chemicals, on food that you and your family are going to consume. Read all labels before applying. With a good garden plan and some timely planting, your raised planter can provide you with fresh produce from March to December.

I have raised beds, perennial beds, cut flower beds. I have an island on a pond that’s just covered in peonies. I have an herb garden, tons of vegetables, raspberries. I have everything. I’m a green guy.

Steve Zahn, actor