Admittedly, I’ve been having a difficult time getting up in the morning.  Each day seems to resemble the one before –   overcast, rain, high humidity.  I know I really shouldn’t complain as parts of the country are suffering devastating wildfires and drought, but I’m a Midwesterner.  That’s what we do.  Well, that’s what I do.  Will true summer ever come?  Will my daughter stop obsessing over the weather channel in hopes that the pool will open?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, let’s talk landscaping.

Raised beds are perfect for tight spaces, questionable soil and short growing seasons.  Sounds too good to be true?  There’s more.  Studies have shown that gardeners can grow twice as many vegetables and flowers than in the same amount of flat, yard space.  Intrigued?  Me too!

The height of the sides of the bed are limited only by the sky… literally.  I mean you could build them as high as you want, but the higher the walls, the more soil you’ll need.  Consider 1-2′ especially for deep-rooted plants like carrots and especially if you have pesky vermin roaming your garden.  The higher walls will help save your back too.  Keep the width to 4′ or less, so you can easily reach the center of the beds without stepping in the planter.  Stick with rot-resistant lumber, logs, wood-look composite, brick, stone or concrete, and make sure to fill your beds with good soil.  The soil in raised beds tends to warm faster and drain more easily, encouraging healthier root systems.

Choose a flat, level site for your raised beds.  It just makes it easier when leveling the walls.  Be sure the site receives plenty of sun.

What can you plant?  The better question is, what can’t you plant?  Just be sure to organize the space well for maximum planting.  Consider planting flowers and vegetables together.


“Your first job is to prepare the soil. 

The best tool for this is your neighbor’s garden tiller.

If your neighbor does not own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”

– Dave Barry

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney