Sunday, July 12, 2009

Garden Variety: Why You Need a Raised Bed Garden

Signal Tribune Newspaper random header image

Garden Variety: Why You Need a Raised Bed Garden

July 10th, 2009 · No Comments

By Jennifer E. Beaver

This year, raised beds suddenly became the must-have accessory for the backyard (or frontyard) garden. These bottomless boxes filled with premium soil have existed for thousands of years. Now they’re hot. Why? Five reasons: Our Victory Garden urge to save when money is tight; great info and products on the Internet; an abundance of locally available plants, seeds and great soil; they’re easy– no need to dig; and in Southern California, our year-round growing season.
How great is that?
Pretty great. When we gather at my neighbor Bill’s home for backyard barbecues, we don’t talk about the death spiral of property values or the size of the local potholes. No, we discuss the height of his corn and the absolute freshness of the zukes that have just come off the grill. Bill’s two well-constructed raised beds are the envy of the neighborhood. They’re so prolific that he has plenty to share.
If raised beds had a Facebook page– and maybe they do– I’d put myself down as a fan.
You might want to become one, too. Raised bed gardening offers plenty of benefits. Like more veggies, flowers and herbs– twice that of conventional gardens, according to a University of Ohio study. Good, healthy dirt– a way to avoid our toxin-crammed, industrial pollutant-filled soil. Easy pest control. Water conservation. And gardening for all ages and abilities when you put a bottom on the box and raise it to chair height.
Interested? Start with All New Square Foot Gardening, raised bed evangelist Mel Bartholomew’s latest book, or visit
In my next column, watch for a raised bed garden FAQ. Find out where to get one (would you believe Home Depot?), what and how to plant, where to put one (even over concrete), and lots more.
Great news for those who don’t have room for a raised bed or any other type of garden: The Wrigley Garden, a brand new double-lot community space at 1950/1960 Henderson Avenue, is leasing garden plots at extremely low rates. Available to all Long Beach residents, it’s first come, first served with a sliding scale starting at only $20 per year for Henderson Avenue residents. To reserve your plot, visit or call (562) 230-7207. Stay tuned for details on the Wrigley Village Community Garden on Pacific Avenue, another great new growing space that will also feature kid-friendly growing demonstrations. Wrigley is the garden district of Long Beach.