Long Raised Bed With Plants

Common Mistakes to Avoid In Raised Bed Gardening

There are always a lot of mistakes that everybody makes when they start out. Mistakes are supposed to help you learn from them, so don’t worry. In reality, before you even get started, we’ll help you learn from some of the most common mistakes. You probably already know that a raised bed garden is perfect with less weeding work to have a better harvest. That said, some mistakes made in the early stages of the bed can set the stage for all kinds of problems with your crops. Here are the nine most common mistakes, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, to avoid with a raised bed garden.

Issues of Orientation

It’s a big mistake to plant your garden in the wrong spot, and almost impossible to fix with a raised bed. When you have the soil, irrigation system, and plants in place the garden box is difficult to transfer or rearrange. Set up your elevated bed with the sun in mind first. For example, if you are orienting the bed east-west instead of north-south, the plants may not get the right amount of sunlight. The vegetables need six hours of sunlight or more every day.

Placing sun-loving plants in the shade – or vice versa – is another problem that a beginner may face. For example, tomatoes need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day. In the sunniest area of your raised bed, eggplants, chiles, and other herbs will do well, while lettuce or peas will do better in gloomy placements. Plants on the southern side receive the greatest amount of sunlight, but they also need to expand less so as not to block any of the daylight from other crops.

Materials & Size

While most raised beds are built using wood, a number of ways can be made to them. Verify which materials to use close to your plants are healthy. The safety and health requirements can differ depending on the state or country.

Unsafe products, such as lumber treated with chemicals or other pressurized woods, should never be used to make your beds elevated. Older materials can contain harmful creosote or harmful chemicals in your garden. Look for untreated, FSC-accredited (Forest Stewardship Council), long-lasting, rot-resistant, locally grown, and sustainable products. This will help to perform your bed raised and look amazing for years to come. More information on choosing the right wood for raised beds can be found here. Don’t get going too high. You want just the right size for your raised beds, making them comfortable to work in and around. Elevated beds should never be more than four feet long because you want to be able to work your garden to reach the plants in the center. If your elevated bed is close to a fence, you may want to take the width down to below 30 inches. Be sure you leave enough space between several raised beds, too, for the best results. You have to be able to work easily between the beds and walk along the pathways. Leave between beds for at least two or three feet.

Using pressurized lumber landscape connections is a bit of a contentious issue. Pressure-treated (PT) lumber manufacturers want you to believe today’s PT lumber is clean, even for edible-growing garden beds. They say the lumber chemicals are locked in, so they don’t leach out except in really wet soil.

Would you really want to take a gamble on the well-being of your family,

though? It takes only one member of the family who has a depressed immune system or a young child to fall ill. There are so many other options that I don’t think it’s worth the risk to use PT lumber for raised garden beds to grow food crops. I’d also use PT lumber for fence posts and other posts on the field that would be set in concrete. And for deck construction, PT timber should be used, because it is stronger than cedar or redwood. You need to ensure, however, that any edible plants are planted at least a few feet away.

Which are the alternatives, then?

We have written on The Best Lumber to Use in the Garden, which lists all the advantages and disadvantages of different lumber you might use outside.

Then you can choose the lumber that fits your budget and needs. Concrete moss wall building with ivy Moss is fairly permanent. That’s why some gardeners say it’s the best material to use for a raised bed in the garden. There is nothing to rot away after all and these beds last a long time. The explanation alone does not make this a good idea, though. Although you’re hoping that your raised beds will never need to be moved or adjusted, there’s a possibility that your needs can change, and you’re choosing to move a bed or adjust the orientation.

You would have to smash it up with a jackhammer and a sledgehammer with concrete. Job backfired! So what do you do with concrete breaking up? Recycling or reusing is not that easy. Modular raised garden beds made of wood, bricks, cinder blocks, or stone are easier to break up so you can use the materials in a different position or shape for new raised beds again. Or reuse them in your greenhouse, in another project. Concrete will also leach tons of lime into the soil. If you have plants that like acid in the soil they’re not going to do very well.

Concrete beds often require careful reinforcement and are prone to cracking, particularly in winter, when even a hairline crack gets into some water. It can create a bigger crack when the water freezes. Not easy to remedy after that’s happened, either. Concrete is also not, in my view, aesthetically appealing unless you face it with some other substance such as stucco or veneer brick or stain it (and the stains contain chemicals that you do not want to eat).

Make them too large You must be able to access all areas of your elevated bed without having to step onto the ground. Stepping into the soil will cement it and you will then have drainage and other problems. Typically a normal maximum width is 4 feet (1.2 m), so you can reach in from both sides of the bed. If the bed is against a fence, and you have only one side entry, make a limit of 2-3 feet (0.5-1 m).

If you need more space, use multiple beds, separated by a pathway. The size of the route will depend on whether or not you need to roll through a wheelbarrow or other equipment. I used 3-foot (1 m) paths (see picture), but you might go down to 2 feet (0.5 m) if it is just for one person’s access to planting, weeding, and harvesting.

Watering & Soil

Overwatering is also a hugely popular mistake that can cause drowning and rot in your plants. The underwatering, on the other hand, is just as big a problem. If you’re not sure how much water your uplifted bed would require, take some of the guesswork out by investing in a smart controller irrigation system. Its humidity sensors should change the amount of water automatically.

To work well and save you some time your irrigation system doesn’t have to be costly or state-of-the-art. That said if you get too costly a device just pays attention to the soil. It’s time to drink when it looks rough. If by its presence you can’t tell, pick up a handful of them and compress the soil into a loose ball. If it’s remaining together, then the soil is right. Indicator plants such as lettuce, which wilt quickly when dehydrated, will also allow you to say whether your bed needs water at a glance. If you don’t expect irrigation when you create your upstairs room, using an old-fashioned watering can or a long hose, you’ll need to water by hand. Yet, when we can’t set up an irrigation system, then hold a barrel of rainwater near your elevated bed garden for convenience.

Soil develops and grows over time, similar to a living organism. With rainfall, erosion, or drainage issues, its conditions can change, and some plants can obtain more nutrients from the soil than others. It is important to pay attention to the soil type you are using, its pH and mineral levels, and what organic matter might be required to improve it.

The type of soil that you fill within your garden is essential to the future success of the garden. Never, use daily potting soil in your upstairs bed: it drains too hard. On the market, you will find some uplifted bed soils that perform much better. You can purchase an at-home test kit from your local hardware store every year to test your soil. It will help you learn the kind of soil you need, taking into consideration even the vegetables you want to grow. Check the soil before you plant and in your garden bed that has been created. Blend the soil with an equal amount of organic compost for the best results. The nutrients from the soil would be best used by your plants.

Weed Killers

It can decimate your garden by using the wrong chemicals near or directly on your raised beds. Even if you use these chemicals in your yard elsewhere, the wind will bring toxins to your crops, destroying your plants. Chemicals containing herbicides remain in the ground and poison the soil for years. Yeah, you’re going to get rid of grass and weeds, but if you’re spraying too near, you’re going to ruin your raised beds. These contaminants can become harmful as runoff water will bring them to other areas of your yard when it rains.

Stop using herbicides that are harmful. Vote for a combination of hot water and vinegar in equal parts to rid your lawn or weed plants. Simply dump the mix over the offending plants once a day until the leaves of the weeds turn brown, then pick up the rest by hand.

The paths between your raised beds are likely to grow weeds and grass elsewhere, so you can build a buffer instead of having to mow and spray them. Flattened cardboard boxes are easy to cure with a thin layer of organic mulch on top, and the products can last longer than other alternatives.

Preparation Issues

Between seasons preparing the beds leads to good, happy harvests. If you fail to prepare your soil from last year, if they grow at all, the vegetables you grow will be stunted or diseased. You will grow healthy plants by rotating your crops, instead of planting the same vegetables in the same position year after year. Avoid putting plants of the same family close to each other, or one after another in the same place. Common pests, fungal diseases, and soil fertility are one of the common problems facing various kinds of plants. To avoid a problem from spilling over into all of your plants, rotate where every plant goes every year. Following our helpful crop rotation guide, year after year ensures safe harvests.

Long Raised Bed With Plants

Raise Bed Vegetable Choices

Choosing the right vegetables in the right combination is a mistake that can be corrected later, but if you pick the wrong varieties, it will make your transition to raised bed gardening harder.

Let’s say you’re starting on a tougher veggie, like asparagus. A beginner may become frustrated waiting for the two or three years that it may take to finally produce a harvest. Or, in the wrong season, you may be planting a cool-weather crop like lettuce. Start with some vegetables that are easier to grow while learning what works well in your elevated bed, including Tomatoes Basil Zucchini Bell peppers Make sure that the choices you select are not only easy to grow but will also be enjoyed by the family. If your kids are allergic, there is no point in growing tomatoes. Choose the vegetables you’ll enjoy the most, and you’ll lose interest in the others that your garden contains.

It’s also critical that the choices you select in your yard do well. Some crops are more vulnerable to pests, don’t fit well in humid areas, or can’t tolerate year-round fluctuating temperatures. Take into account the conditions in which you stay.

Beginners may also want to start growing an all-herb garden in their first year, with easy-to-grow herbs that you can grow both indoors and out. The easiest herbs, to begin with, include: Basil Thyme Mint Parsley Cilantro Oregano


Mark where you plan your garden for every new addition or mark your rows to prevent overcrowding. Keeping track of where you are planting is easy to forget, but doing so will help you avoid replanting over seeds when you confuse seedlings for weeds.

Mark where each plant is for better results. Simply put the little plastic tag in the soil from the shop, or get your tags as imaginative as you want. Gardening is a phase in which you sometimes make mistakes. The only way to advance is to learn from these errors, and there is no harm in trying anything different. Hopefully, these tips will save you from your first mistake.