Utah is always plugging the slogan “Life Elevated” so why not elevate your garden too! Raised bed gardening is a great option for Utah growers, especially those in areas with poor soil. Raised beds modify the soil and improve the growing environment thereby allowing earlier planting and increasing production.
There are many things to consider when deciding to plant in a raised bed over a traditional in-ground garden:
Advantages of Raised Bed Gardens
- Attractive appearance
- Ease of weeding
- Early germination of garden plants
- Access for gardeners with limited mobility
- Ability to grow vegetables in areas with difficult or contaminated soils
- Minimal soil compaction
- Dry out faster / need more frequent irrigation
Fall is an excellent time to build raised bed. The temperatures are cool and often the ingredients needed for the mix/filler are on sale at nurseries as they wind down for the season. Having the bed built and filled by winter will also allow an early jump in the spring and perhaps even extend the growing season with a simple addition of a low tunnel or row cover across the top of the newly built bed.
Beds can be constructed out of a variety of materials including lumber, concrete blocks, stone or straw bales. One way to cut cost of construction is to try and source used materials, but be cautious when using old lumber–USU Extension does NOT recommend using chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber.
Raised beds should measure 3-4 feet in width and at least 6-12 inches in depth to accommodate the rooting depth of most vegetables.
This new video from USU Extension covers the steps for constructing a raised bed from cedar.
For information on fill mixes, irrigation and more — read the USU fact sheet “Raised Bed Gardening”
Still struggling with design? Visit USU Extension’s demonstration gardens to view different shapes, sizes and materials for raised bed gardens.
USU Botanical Center- Raised Bed Edible Garden
- Address: 80 East Sego Lily Dr. Kaysville, UT 84037
Wheeler Historic Farm – USU Demonstration Teaching Garden
- Address: 6351 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84121