So you want a vegetable garden, but don’t have a large area to till up for the project? Your “soil” is hard as rock? A good way to compensate for such lack of space and rocky soil is by gardening in raised beds. Doing so helps you overcome problems with our less-than-perfect soil.
A raised bed for vegetables can be as simple as raking the soil into flat-topped mounds (berms) several inches higher than paths. Or, for deeper beds, you can box soil with landscape timbers (raised bed).
Raised beds, especially in Miami-Dade County, offer a number of distinct advantages, particularly for growing vegetables:
¾ Digging is not needed.
¾ Helps plants grow better. For root crops such as sweet potato, carrots or malanga, it is much easier to provide needed space for the edible plant parts to grow.
¾ Replenishing soil is easy to do.
This helps to overcome the build up of disease or nematodes. Depleted soil can be quickly removed from a raised bed and replaced.
¾ Ease of cultivation, especially for those with limited mobility.
¾ Lessens the risk of plants becoming water logged, particularly in areas
with poor drainage. This limits the chance of root rot diseases.
¾ Reduces soil compaction and prevents damage to soil and plants from foot traffic.
¾ Saves resources; fertilizer is applied only in the beds, not broadcast
over the entire garden area.
¾ By using peat-based and organically enriched soils, the pH is in the “ideal” range for most plants.
There may be a few disadvantages to using raised beds, the major one being cost if the bed walls are to be durable.
One other consideration is that additional irrigation may be needed. For this reason it is advisable to install some type of drip irrigation system to efficiently water your plants.