how tall should a raised garden bed be

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Aside from the length and width of raised garden beds, it is also important that you also consider how tall should a raised garden bed be. There are certain factors that you must consider thinking about to determine the height of your raised beds. 

There’s a standard measurement needed for the height of your raised bed. However, considering important aspects when gardening, you’ll be able to figure out the appropriate height for your garden bed. This will allow necessary adjustments to avoid problems once the beds are built and you start gardening. 

how tall should your raised beds be for your vegetable gardens 

The standard height for most raised beds ranges from 6 to 12 inches while some are built to as high as 36 inches. This is common for those who are planning to plant more root crops to give the plant roots more room. 

Your raised bed’s height should still depend on your preferences. If the standard measurement is too low for you, you’ll adjust and make it taller so you can tend to your garden with ease.  

The deeper the soil means the deeper roots will grow. This also means that the bed can hold more soil and more moisture. It will keep your bed moist and lessen the need for watering. 

things to consider before deciding on how tall you should build your raised bed 

You’ll have to consider your preferences first before you can decide on the height of the raised bed you want to build. Some of the things you must consider are: 

  • Cost of the Beds 
  • Condition of Soil Under the Bed 
  • Required Soil Depth of Intended Crops 
  • How Much You Can Bend Over When Gardening 

cost of the beds 

The first thing that you’ll have to consider is the cost of the beds. If you are going to use any leftover wood or concrete blocks from a recent project in your home, then you could save more on building the beds.  

However, if you’re buying all the materials, you’ll have to consider the costs of the materials for the frame. Also, you have to think about the options available and where you can save more. 

Materials such as treated lumber may be less expensive than naturally rot-resistant woods. However, investing in naturally rot-resistant wood is much better since it will last longer than treated wood. You’ll have to be practical in deciding about the materials you’ll be using for the frame. 

Taller beds mean you need more wood or any framing material. So, you should decide whether you could afford the materials for the garden or make use of what you already have and settle with whatever height you can build for your bed.  

condition of existing soil under the bed 

It is important to know the condition of the soil under the bed to adjust the amount of good soil for raised beds that you’ll be adding. You should make sure that the bed soil is ample enough to accommodate the roots of the plants you’re growing. 

Also, this will benefit most crops as they get sufficient drainage. There should be about 12 inches of soil under the bed. The good soil below the bed will give your plants more room to grow healthy.  

required soil depth of intended crops 

When planting, you need to know the required soil depth of the intended crops. For most gardens, 6 inches of the top of the soil is where most nutrients needed by plants are found. Nutrients like fertilizers and compost are usually added from above and then tilled lightly.  

Mulches are added on the top layer especially during the growing season to keep the soil moist. This also acts as additional nutrients for the plants.  

As you prepare your garden bed, you should know the required root depth of every vegetable crop. This will help you decide the placements of the plants and which ones will benefit when planted together. More about how deep your raised bed should be when planting here

how much you can bend over when gardening 

This is also an important factor to consider since you don’t want to spend the rest of your time gardening and suffering from backache after. If you are still young and have a fit body, you may not have a problem kneeling or bending over. However, if you get back strain or have mobility issues, you have to make your raised bed taller. 

Since you’ll be tending to the garden and weeding, you should make all sides easier to access. A simple and accessible bed that you can make is one measuring at least 4 feet wide and 4 feet long. This is a basic measurement when it comes to square foot gardening. 

other things to consider when opting for taller beds 

Say, for example, you’ve already decided to go for a taller bed. There are certain things that you have to keep in mind to maintain a tall bed. Some of these include: 

  • Adding Cross Supports 

The taller the bed means that the more volume of soil it can hold. When you water the soil, the weight of the soil will exert pressure and will cause the bed to slowly bow outward. You have to put a cross-support in the middle to hold the entire bed and prevent the sides from bowing. 

  • Strong Support Under the Bed 

This is important for those building their beds with legs. Giving the same problem above when the soil is watered, the pressure may cause the legs to slowly give in and get broken in the long run. You’ll have to consider using other materials for the legs like concrete blocks to hold the entire bed on all sides and corners. 

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Once you’ve finally decided on the height of your raised bed, you just have to plant water the soil down and then add more to make sure that your bed has enough soil to accommodate your plants. You can then start planting once the soil settled in. 

Remember that if you have a tall bed, this will reduce the need for watering. So, you have to keep track of your watering schedule to prevent making the soil soggy, which is not healthy for your plants.  

You can also overfill it with soil so that when the soil compresses, you will only have to fill it with less soil. Also, since you have more soil in your bed, you have to keep amending it after every harvest and make it ready for a new batch of crops to plant.  

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