Allotments - Raised Bed Gardening
The "raised" part means that the soil level in the bed is higher than the surrounding soil, and "bed" implies a size small enough to work without the need for walking onto the bed.
A bed is often approximately 4 feet wide. The length can be whatever suits the site or gardener's needs. Wider beds can be subdivided into sections accessible from planks or stepping stones. The bed does not have to be enclosed or framed.
Beds do not have to be elevated however if they are 2 feet or more raised this offers the convenience of gardening without bending. Because a bed warms up quicker than the ground, it can easily double as a cold frame by covering it with clear plastic or glass panels.
Plants can be started early in beds with covers and there is no need to transplant them. Supports for poles and cages can be mounted to the frame for longer life and ease of installation and removal. Other benefits of raised bed gardening are:
- Higher Yields. Vegetables are planted in beds at higher densities.
- Improved Soil Conditions. There is no need to walk on the beds.
- Ease of Working. Increased ease of weeding, planting and harvesting.
- Ease of Pest Control. E.g. netting beds suspended on flexible frames.
- Water Conservation. Water only where it is needed.