Recently a friend called me up and asked if I was interested in a couple of raised beds he wanted to sell. The beds were only a couple of years old, were quite deep, came with extras and were full of soil!
I couldn’t say no.

I always have mixed feelings when someone asks me if raised beds are the way to go. If I had deep, fertile soil, I doubt I would construct permanent, raised beds. Although I would still make raised beds, just without the surround. Having said that, I do like the look of wooden, raised beds in a vegetable garden. They make soil building easier. Weeding seems easier. The bed structure lends itself to add-ons such as trellising, netting, and rain proofing. In a wet spring, the beds dry out sooner so are ready for planting sooner. Most importantly, beds enable gardening where it might not have been possible to garden. Certainly, in my home garden, if there isn’t solid stone a few inches under the beds, there is gravel fill, so without permanent raised beds, I wouldn’t have a garden.

Now, if you want permanent raised beds, what should you build with? Lumber is the most common material, but anything goes. Stones, beach finds, recycled wood, metal, even plastic. You just want to make sure that the bed material is not potentially toxic should it leach into the ground as it starts to age and break down. Barring that, it all works.

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