Why You Should Elevate Your Garden

Raised beds and containers make it easy to grow your own fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowers—no matter what size yard you have.

Raised garden beds

Whatever size yard you have—even if it’s merely a sunny balcony—you can raise veggies, herbs, and flowers. “Raised beds and containers are a great option for someone who doesn’t have a lot of yard space to start a garden,” says Rachel Durkan, a horticulture specialist for Jefferson County.

Planting your crops in raised beds or containers offers several benefits.

1Better soil

You create the noncompacted soil mix (complete with healthy amendments like compost) that goes in your garden beds, so you don’t have to fight the stubborn clay that is so prevalent in Colorado. “We have notoriously bad soil for vegetables,” says Durkan. You also have much better control over drainage than you would with plants growing in the ground.

2Earlier planting

Because it’s above the frost line, the soil in a raised bed warms up sooner in the springtime, giving you a head start on your planting.

3Easy maintenance

You aren’t going to get as many perennial weeds in a raised bed—and you won’t have to bend down as far to reach them.

4Multiple options

From small pots to old tires, from repurposed metal stock tanks to wooden frames, just about anything can be used for a raised garden bed. However, Durkan warns against wood treated to resist decay with things like copper and fungicides, because they can leach into the soil and affect your plants. If you’re not sure if the wood has been treated, coat it with a nontoxic, water-based sealant or add a sturdy plastic liner.

5Portability

Does your yard get too much, or not enough, sun? Want to protect your precious plants from battering hailstorms? Unlike a plot dug into the ground, many containers can be moved around to a covered porch or even inside. You can also place heavier containers on a plant caddy with wheels and just roll them where they need to go.

Ready to learn more? Check for gardening classes at your county’s CSU Extension Office or see the class schedule at Denver Botanic Gardens, including “Crops in Pots” on April 20.