4 Raised Bed Styles For Gardening Above Ground

by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener 

Gardening skyrocketed in popularity in 2020. With more people interested over time, folks with minimal space for a garden are looking for techniques that work for them. Growing above ground is the way to go for many people without space for in-ground gardens. There are many raised garden techniques to try. Some you might not have heard of yet! Today we will discover which above-ground gardening styles are the best for your space.

Let's get started!

Raised Beds

raised beds

Raised beds are an obvious choice for anyone wanting to grow above ground. This tried and true method is ideal for in-ground garden spaces without proper soil health requirements. If your soil is rocky or of poor quality, build a raised bed from 5 inches to 2 feet tall. Fill each bed with compost and rich growing material for the desired effect. Raised beds are easier to manage in small spaces. This method also decreases weeds and pests because of the new growing medium. Raised beds also allow for better drainage to take place, which prevents root rot. Higher yields are possible in raised beds because all of these factors combined to create the perfect environment for plants to thrive.

Raised beds make garden work easier on the knees and back, making it a more accessible garden for everyone. To learn more on how to start your own raised beds, click here.

Raised Row Gardens

raised row

If you have the space for an in-ground garden but lack healthy soil, raised row garden beds may be perfect for you. This method takes much less work than building a raised bed will. Build up mounds of nutrient-rich growing medium like compost and plant away to your heart's content. The runoff from this method will eventually benefit the rest of the previous low-quality soil underneath. Nutrients from each raised row will become part of the soil as a whole. Additionally, the elevated beds will be safe from overwatering. Raised rows will also save you the time, money, and energy you might have spent creating raised beds while giving you similar results. For more on the raised row method, click here.

Straw Bale Garden

straw bale garden

Straw bale gardens are an unusual but effective choice. Strawbale gardens are automatically a form of the raised beds. This garden method doesn't need to be placed on good soil at all. Instead, the bales of straw are transformed into the growing medium itself. Preparing the bales for growing in will take two weeks but will save you so much time in the garden for the rest of the season. Bales of straw are much cheaper than a typical raised bed—Prep each bale by watering in a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every day leading up to planting. Once the bales are decomposed, switch to a regular fertilizer and begin planting once the bale's interior temperature is back to normal. Plant directly into the hay bales and grow plants that tend to be smaller varieties. The tight structure of the bales is the perfect strength to hold the root systems of each plant.

Choose your location carefully with this method! Once the hay bales are placed and prepared, they are there for good! Corn is the only plant that doesn't grow particularly well with this method—trellis other varieties like normal with this method for the best results.

Container Garden

container garden

A lack of green space is no reason not to garden! Grow bags, hanging baskets, and patio containers are all making gardening more accessible to everyone. Especially when you are a first-time gardener, there are ways to start a container garden on a budget.  Containers are perfect for beginners because they create a more controlled environment for each variety. Starting fresh in a container means less of a chance for pest damage and disease. If your container garden has any issues, they are easier to control one pot at a time! The fun part here is choosing your container! Anything can be a container for gardening as long as it has good drainage holes. Again, taller varieties like corn and vining vegetables will be very difficult to grow in a container garden. Choose smaller varieties like dwarf or determinate tomato plants, greens, and bush beans.


While spring fever sets in as you plan your 2021 garden, consider these methods for your space. Which are you most drawn to?

– Kaitlynn from MIgardener


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