You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

Sean Spicer giving daily White House briefing

Raised bed gardening can elevate your space

Experts tell how to get started

Do you dream of gorgeous flowers, but have an apartment-sized yard? Or are you short on time but hungry for homegrown veggies? If so — or if you just want an easy, eye-catching plot — raised bed gardening may be for you.

We asked local experts for some do’s, don’ts and tips on getting started.

Make your bed

Raised beds can be constructed from a variety of materials — stone, wood, metal. Mark Morris of Grandma’s Gardens in Waynesville says red cedar is the most popular type.

Although raised beds can be constructed from scratch using wood and corner pieces, many find using a raised bed kit to be a big time saver. “It takes about 15 minutes to put [a raised bed kit] up,” Morris said. “There’s a wide variety out there — they’re very popular with people who live in apartments and small houses or who don’t want larger gardens.”

“Raised gardens are a new ‘old’ trend that is starting to really catch on to a new group of people,” said Tina Gilbert of Bonnie’s Nursery and Garden Center in Springfield. “They are a great way to go because you are in complete control of the exposure the garden will get and in complete control of the planting medium. You can build them literally anywhere.”

Morris said that raised beds can be had at a variety of price points, but that those looking to plant can find quality beds for around $250. If you want to try building your own, he said, “One of our new products is a set of metal corners that can accept a 2 x 10 (foot) board.” Many of the corner sets include decorative touches and retail for about $75.

Start planting

First off, you’ll need a good soil to keep the plants nourished. Gilbert suggests “a rich compost/soil mix,” but before putting soil down, you may want to guard against pests. “Putting a barrier down before adding your soil mix helps in not allowing critters to dig up and under your plants, causing damage,” she said. “Screened fencing works well for this.”

“You want to make sure that you pick a really organic-rich soil, nothing really nitrogen heavy,” said Emily Benton, also of Grandma’s Gardens. “You can also use [the plant foods] Plant-Tone or Osmocote to feed the plants throughout the season.”

Although many types of gardens can be planted in raised beds, the unquestioned king of the raised bed is the vegetable garden. “A lot of my customers … grow vegetables and herbs in their raised gardens, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant being some of the most popular,” Gilbert said.

Benton agreed that tomatoes and peppers are great choices, and said, “You mainly want upright things” — as opposed to vines, which can be tricky to grow. “A lot of people are getting into herbs: basil, cilantro, lots of dill and fennel. You can cut herbs as you need them, and they’ll replenish themselves. Cilantro will actually die if you don’t cut it back.”

Another tasty suggestion, Benton said, is strawberries: “Some people are doing beds of just strawberry plants.”

Easy maintenance

One of the biggest perks of raised bed gardens is ease of care. They can act as a barrier to pests and weeds, and, due to their higher elevation, can be easier to tend. Raised bed gardens are often a perfect solution for children and seniors.

Small veggie gardens are a great way to get kids involved in gardening, away from video games and even eating their veggies. “If you can get kids involved hands-on, they will be more interested in it,” Benton said.

Be sure, as with any garden, to keep the veggies, especially tomatoes, carefully watered, Benton cautioned. Improperly cared-for tomatoes will often end up swelling and splitting. For a sustainable, easy watering solution, she suggested placing rain barrels beside the garden.

Overall, raised bed gardens are a fun, easy way to garden. “I have heard nothing but positive remarks about raised beds,” Gilbert said. “I find that when a customer tells me they are starting one, they usually end up with one or two more the next year.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Frostbite danger: Late treatment can lead to permanent damage
Frostbite danger: Late treatment can lead to permanent damage

Red cheeks and tingling fingers shouldn’t be considered a normal part of time spent outside on a frigid, winter day. Instead, these should be thought of as the beginning signs of something potentially dangerous. “Frostbite is a real condition that can be a threat to anyone who spends extended periods of time outdoors in cold weather,&rdquo...
Sleep problems? Try these changes in your routine
Sleep problems? Try these changes in your routine

Kettering Health Network is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare system. The network has eight hospitals: Grandview, Kettering, Sycamore, Southview, Greene Memorial, Fort Hamilton, Kettering Behavioral Health and Soin. If it has been a while since you slept like a baby, you are not alone. Many adults struggle to spend enough time in dreamland,...
How to make sure you get a better night’s sleep

Chronic lack of sleep is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and can affect mental health. Sleep requirements vary with age, with children needing more than adults. Current recommendations are seven to nine hours for ages 18 to 64, and seven to eight hours for those 65 and older. Many factors can influence sleep cycles, including diet, exercise...
Flu prevention: Still time to get the flu vaccine
Flu prevention: Still time to get the flu vaccine

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email: It’s already January, and the flu still hasn’t become a major issue yet, so there is still time to get your family vaccinated. » More on children’s health: Does free play have benefits? The...
Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart to play in Cincinnati
Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart to play in Cincinnati

Two powerhouse artists have joined forces to bring yet another big-ticket concert coming to the region this year: Sir Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper.  The two will play Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Tickets range from $26.50-$146 each, plus additional fees....
More Stories