Homegrown Horticulture


With winter’s frosts becoming more and more infrequent, we firmly set our sights on spring. As life blossoms around us, now is the perfect time to exercise that potentially green thumb. The soil in East Tennessee can vary greatly depending on your location, especially if you live within the city limits. One way to stack the deck in your favor is by building raised garden beds. Whether you plan to grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables, raised garden beds give you the unique opportunity to better control your growing conditions. In addition, these beds make it easier to isolate your new vegetation from invasive weeds and other undesirable elements.

First, consider the areas that you have at your disposal. Depending on what you would like to grow, the placement of your garden beds should almost always be a consideration. As a general rule, build the beds in an area that will receive plenty of sunlight (between six and eight hours a day). In terms of design, these beds can range from relatively basic and straightforward, to much more elaborate configurations. A quick internet search will provide no shortage of building plans and supply lists. However, pay close attention to the materials that are used. Pressure-treated lumber is generally considered safe for beds, but for those who want to stick to untreated wood, consider using woods that are naturally resistant to rot such as cedar. In addition, allow at least six inches of depth in your beds to provide room for budding root structures and restrict the width of your beds to four feet to make tending to your plants more manageable. Lastly, be sure to consult the staff at your local garden center to find the right mix of soils to ensure the healthiest environment for your new garden to thrive.

Apart from the fresh air and the satisfaction of seeing your labor bear fruit, building and tending your own raised beds can provide a nice supplement of healthy treats to add to salads and meals throughout the spring, summer, and early fall.

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