Raised flowerbeds are wonderful for any garden and perfect for small/limited gardens. There are so many ways to make a raised flowerbed. We decided to take a moment and share a few ideas with you.
There's no magic to it—a raised flowerbed is simply soil (or planting medium) that has been lifted off the ground. Raising a flowerbed can be as basic as forming a mound of soil that is higher than the ground around it or as complex as building a structure that holds the soil above the ground. There are a number of advantages to raising your garden. They are easier to manage, they have less problems with pests and, depending on how high your flowerbed is, they can make it easier to reach your plants (especially for those with physical limitations).
A little bit of lucky timing—Joey, from our IT department, showed me a raised tomato and herb garden his family created. They used cinder blocks turned on their side to frame their tomato bed. They filled the bed with soil and planted tomatoes and then they filled the holes in the cinder blocks with soil and planted herbs. This is a perfect example of how a flowerbed can help you organize and maintain your garden.
Aaron, also from our IT department, built a raised garden table for his father last year. His table was constructed of wood and was several feet off the ground, allowing his father to stand while working on his garden.
There are plenty of kits for flowerbeds plus many garden centers sell stones and lumber designed especially for flowerbeds. You can also create a flowerbed using items around your home. Rocks and bricks are great for lining a flower bed. Convert an old table to a rasied flowerbed by adding a little more lumber to it. An old tire can make an interesting small flowerbed.
Whatever form your flowerbed finally takes, you will quickly see the value in the little extra time it takes to put the bed together.
Using hay bales for your raised flowerbed
Leisa, from our main office, offered a different spin on a raised flowerbed. She had seen numerous articles on the Internet instructing how to use bales of hay to create a raised garden. There seems to be as many variations on how to grow a garden in hay bales as there are articles. I'll simply share how Leisa set hers up and suggest you do a little research on the Internet to determine the best route for you to take should you decide to try it.
It takes several weeks for the hay bales to be ready for planting, so make sure you give yourself time to establish the flowerbed. Leisa started out with nicely formed hay bales—their strings holding each tightly together—and lined the bales up into rows. For about four (4) weeks she watered the hay bales every day. She then added fertilizer to each hay bale and continued watering for another week. The fertilizer will generate some heat as it begins creating compost from the hay so you need to make sure you give the bales at least one week to cool off after fertilizing or your plants may burn, injuring their roots and limiting their ability to grow. She planted tomatoes and other vegetables directly into the top of the hay bales, added tomato cages and trellises for plants needing the support and then simply cared for the plants as she would no matter where they were planted. The rich growing medium created by the decomposing hay and the fertilizer gave her the best crop she has ever gotten from a garden.
Remember, as the hay bales turn to compost they will generate heat. Though the heat should be very minor, it would be wise to keep the bales in an open area and away from your home.

Raised Flowerbeds