Two years ago I built 2 raised beds at our community garden that Gardens Alive! hosts. I built them for easy access to all sides since I have neighbours adjacent to my plot (3’ by 10’ by 10” deep). I used them last year for extra test seeds and plants that I wanted to see how they grew and tasted. They worked out very well for me and I got 3 seasons of vegetables and some fruits. Last fall I added the cold frame to try my hand at winter spinach and lettuce. Unfortunately, it was so cold that I never got out to check on it. As you can see, to my surprise, I have a nice batch of greens that will really flourish as the heat builds up. Great for a spring salad!
Today was very beautiful and I was itching to get out and plant something. I started some seeds for transplants. I am working on peppers right now. I remembered my neglected raised beds and knew it would be a simple task to clean them up and get some seed in. I planted a variety of lettuce, a new spinach variety, some romaine and Stuttgarden onion starts. The whole process took me about an hour. No muddy boots, no roto-tillers and no back pains.
Because the soil is above the grade of the garden, it drains very well. I am not at all worried about seeds rotting no matter how hard it rains. I was also able to choose the soil I put in, so there is no Ohio clay in there. Again, this makes it easier to work. The soil also seems to be a little warmer and I am hoping this will give my seeds a jump.
I still love to get out there and “use the big machinery” when I “farm” my backyard garden, but having a few raised beds (or containers) makes gardening in all kinds of conditions possible.