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How to Garden Above the Ground

People most often think of gardening as something done on the surface of the ground. But there are many reasons someone might want to raise their garden above the ground. Depending on the method, a raised garden may enable a person to:

  • Give their back and knees a break
  • Make their garden handicapped accessible
  • Bypass unsuitable soil
  • Avoid altering a rented property

Just as there are many reasons to raise up a garden, there are many methods to accomplish it. If you are looking for ways to garden above ground, here’s a few ideas.

A table raises a garden to a comfortable height for wheel chair bound gardeners.

A table raises a garden to a comfortable height for wheel chair bound gardeners.

Raised Bed Gardening

In traditional raised beds, planting areas are generally permanent and several inches to a foot higher than surrounding soil. This can easily be accomplished by digging out the designated pathways and piling the loosened soil in the planting areas. The resulting planting beds can be edged with some type of barrier or simply firmed into a gentle slope. Or, if you prefer a more manicured look, you might build open bottom boxes and fill those with soil.

  • Pros: Low startup cost, few supplies required, can use local soil.
  • Cons: Heavy digging and/or modest construction skills required.

Container Gardening

Container gardens just may be the most versatile way to garden. Anything from discarded yogurt containers to straw bales, to specially made garden tables can serve as containers for your plants.

  • Pros: No permanent change to the property, easily brings gardening to a suitable height for those who can’t bend and crouch.
  • Cons: Need to make or purchase container blend potting soil and/or fertilizer (Of course, if your native soil is contaminated or otherwise unsuitable, this may actually be a “pro.”)

Keyhole Garden

In this gardening system a circular raised bed, 6 feet across is made with a keyhole shaped indentation on one side. In the center of the bed there is a column shaped compost basket where food scraps and greywater can go. The indentation allows the gardener access to this central basket. Keyhole gardens can be a very efficient way to fertilize and water a large number of plants in a small space.

  • Pros: Efficient use of space, composting constantly feeds the garden
  • Cons: Initial construction can be labor intensive

Have you raised all or part of your garden up off the ground? Send pictures to us on Facebook so we can see what you’re doing!

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