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Building a Garden

What are the benefits of raised bed gardening?

Raised bed gardening provides a head start on spring planting, speeds up plant growth, reduces the work necessary to harvest, and provides a more abundant yield than a ground garden. Few if any weeds tend to grow through the tops of beds that are 11 inches or taller, and the planter provides a natural barrier against pests.


How deep should raised beds be?

How deep (or tall) a raised bed should be depends on the rooting depth requirements of the plants you wish to grow, and whether the ground below the planter is made of healthy soil.


Can I add height to existing raised beds, or change their shape after setting them up?

Yes. You can increase the height of your raised beds by building additional board layers on top of the planters. Different shapes can also be created by rearranging and adding to existing parts. Please call (503) 802-9292 and let us know what changes you want to make and we will be happy to help you with your order.


How wide should garden paths be?

Footpaths around beds can be as little as 18 inches, although wider paths of at least 24 inches are recommended for wheelbarrow and lawnmower access. For wheelchair accessible gardens, paths between beds should be at least 36 inches wide to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.


How do I build an accessible garden?

For gardeners requiring wheelchair access or for those who have difficulty with strenuous work or frequent bending, raised beds should be 2 to 3 feet high. The average reach of an adult gardener in a wheelchair is about 30 inches, so beds with access on both sides should be no wider than 4 feet. Beds with access on one side should be no wider than 3 feet.

Can I build raised beds on a slope?

Depending on the steepness of the slope, you can expect to bury one or two boards on the higher side of the slope. Don’t worry about leveling the entire area, just level the area where the boards are to be placed.

Can raised bed gardens be set up on rooftops?

Yes. Raised beds with bottoms can be installed on rooftops as long as the total weight of the beds, after being filled with soil and watered, does not exceed the roof’s recommended weight limitations. Roof liners, vapor barriers, and drainage fabrics are commercially available for this purpose and should be installed to protect your roofing material and insure that water drains adequately and does not contribute to excess water wieght on the roof.  Consult a structural engineer before installing the planters.

How many raised beds would it take to grow enough food for my family?

The amount of square footage needed to feed a family depends on a variety of considerations, including crop viability as it pertains to climate region, how much work can be put into the garden, the diet of your family and, of course, how large your family is.

How can I grow a productive garden in a small urban garden space?

Building a garden in a confined space?  There are many ways that you can maximize your garden’s yield with a little planning and foresight.