First off, let me start this post with a disclaimer…
I am not, nor do I claim to be a garden expert. I just love growing my own food and I am continually learning things that work and don’t work when it comes to gardening. I write about my opinions and experience in hopes that I can help someone out there grow a successful vegetable garden.
Now. To start your garden, you first need to find a plot of land in your yard that gets a lot of sunlight (approx. 6-7 hours a day of sunlight in the summer).
Next, you need to decide what kind of garden layout you would like to have. All of this really depends on your yard, personal preference and what kind of threats there may be to you garden (ex. if you live in an area populated with a lot of deer, you need a fenced in garden).
There are several options as to what material to use for your raised beds. The options I have seen are: wood, composite wood, cloth and stone.
Wood such as pine can make great garden beds. The only problem is that after a few years, you are going to have to continually replace the boards as the rot away. This can be a major draw back for many people but otherwise, it is a quick, affordable way to get nice garden beds.
Pressure Treated Wood
I have heard of people who use pressure treated wood for their raised garden beds. I personally would avoid this type of wood simple because it is treated with chemicals. Based on a little research I have done (and just a little common sense thinking) I figured that if I am going to go through the trouble to have an organic garden why use a material that is likely to have chemicals leech into the soil and get into my garden plants? It is speculated as to HOW MUCH actually gets into the soil and your plants but I would prefer to just stay away from pressure treated wood altogether when it comes to gardening. We used pressure treated wood for the surrounding fence of our garden but NOT the garden beds. Here is an article I found online that you can read to help you decide for yourself about pressure treated wood: Does Pressure Treated Wood Belong in Your Garden?
Redwood or Cedar are the best types of wood to use for raised garden beds but they are also the most expensive :/ Redwood has a natural non-resistance to it as does cedar – hence the cedar roofs and shingles that you see on New England houses all the time.
Composite wood can be made out of a mixture of 60% post consumer, recycled plastic and 40% natural fibers (rice hulls and wood fiber. It can be pricey but it lasts longer than regular wood and you don’t have to worry about as many chemicals leaching into the soil. Frame-It-All sells raised garden kits made out of composite wood and cedar wood which are very easy to assemble.
A very beautiful but also, potentially very pricey option. depending on your wallet size, you can hire a stone worker to build stone walls to hold your garden vegetables. A more affordable, easier option is buying stackable cement blocks (Home Depot carriers several varieties) that you can build up to create your own custom garden beds. The nice thing about this option is you can work with different shaped beds (they don’t have to be square/rectangles) My mother built some raised beds using this material. Here is a picture:
PLACE PICTURE HERE
This is probably the most affordable option of them all. Grow bags can range from $7 to $15 each. They come in different sizes depending on what you want to grow. It is kind of like container gardening except the cloth the bags are made of allow better drainage. You can move the plants around as you please.