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What are the pros and cons of a raised bed?

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PROS: Raised beds are ideal if you have a sloping site or the soil is heavy clay or very sandy. They look smart and allow for easy crop rotation. They keep the soil a few degrees warmer, enabling an earlier start in spring and later cropping in autumn. If you are new to gardening, they are more manageable. Raised beds are easier on the back too as you won’t need to do as much bending.

CONS: If you want to build enough deep raised beds to keep a family of vegetables the cost of the building materials can be high, especially if you use untreated timber such as macrocarpa. You’ll be forever topping up the soil as it settles and beacause they need to be deep to sustain root crops such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beetroot, the soil will be expensive too. Another downside is that raised beds dry out quickly and can overheat in summer. If not built well, fruit tree roots may cause timber to split or bow. If your soil is OK, it’s better just to mark out low beds and define their edges with timber or bricks instead.

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