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Growing your own vegetables can be super rewarding and possibly even save you some money. But if you are living in a house with a tiny backyard you may think that this isn’t possible. Don’t use your lack of space as an excuse! You can grow so many vegetable plants in simple raised beds, even in a small space! Plus, there are actually perks of having a raised bed garden over a traditional one, like no back-breaking weeding.
You do need a section of your yard that gets sun for at least half the day, so use this as an excuse to spend the day outside and see what areas are the sunniest.
We have built raised beds at every house we’ve lived in. These come in all shapes and sizes and for those that aren’t handy you can even buy them. Our best beds were 3 feet wide and 5 feet long. We once had a sloping backyard, so we built beds that stair stepped the slope of the yard. Being three feet wide there was room to do two rows of vegetables with plenty of growth space between them.
Plus, raised beds allow you to control your soil and are really great for allowing excess water to drain out. And it’s easier to weed them (considering they are raised up from the ground).
How do you build a raised bed?
You can go super easy with landscape stones that you set in place with no tools or nails required. You can also build wooden or even metal beds. The best thing to consider is your skill level and the amount you want to spend. Most of the time our beds are made from scraps of wood we have lying around to decrease the cost.
Once your bed is built you can mix backyard dirt with potting soil, compost, and any other soil amendments you want to add. Then it’s time to bring on the plants!
One tip: don’t build beds that are so wide you can’t reach across them. You’ll want to be able to pick your tomatoes without having to climb into your raised bed!
So, what can you grow in a raised bed?
The great thing about raised beds is that you really can grow mostly anything you want in them. We’ve had some great success with tomatoes, okra, peppers, and herbs, but you can go in any direction you want. Plant squashes, corn, root veggies like carrots and radishes, lettuces, and lots more.
You can include cages and trellises to increase your space: beans, peas, and even squashes like to climb them.
Try out a raised bed garden this summer and see what you think. Simply having one or two in your backyard will give you lots of fresh veggies to eat (and you could discover that you have a new hobby)!
Note: Your soil type, planting time, and some other factors will change depending on your climate. And some seeds can be directly planted in your raised bed while others will need to be started inside with a little more care. For more specific information on starting your personal garden, you can do some additional research on sites like gardeners.com.
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