Building Raised Beds in Spring Snow – Duluth News Tribune

ROCHESTER — Raised beds can make gardening easier. You can make them any size for any living space – from large outdoor beds to small containers for small spaces.

To research

shows that if you grow vegetables, you are more likely to eat them. So gardening — even if you have a single tomato plant on the porch — is one way to potentially help people work toward their five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

My husband and boys helped me make a raised bed during a spring snowstorm. It was a fun family project and even our dogs helped out.

I wanted raised beds for two main reasons; to avoid having to bend over all the time to tend the plants and to create an inviting space where I could sit in a folding chair and sip coffee in the morning.

University of Minnesota Extension (UMN)


notes that raised beds allow better control of the composition of the witness soil, that they have better drainage than dug beds and that they warm up more quickly in the spring. So you can get a head start on planting.

We built our beds with wood that was already on our property. But be careful. The UMN proposes to use untreated and rot-proof wood. Cedar is a good (but expensive) choice. Railroad ties or other treated woods may contain chemicals, such as creosote, copper, aluminum and arsenic, which can be toxic to plants and people.

If the raised beds are deep, you may want to consider adding leaves or sticks before adding a mixture of soil and organic matter. This way you won’t need as much land.

I’ll give more tips on what to use to fill your containers and raised beds in the next installment.

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