Raised bed gardening is a way to plant using a containment unit. You can fill this containment with various planting media that you can adjust as needed. Some people choose to plant using a raised garden because the maintenance is easier and more practical.

You can use various planting media. However, basically you will need rotten twigs, some fertilizer, and soil. You can easily get the materials around your house, so you can save a lot of money. Also, this growing medium requires less water. 

Moreover, a raised bed garden also perfect for you who don’t have a lot of space for gardening. It will make your garden even look neater and more organized. Also, there are various type and design that you can choose based on your desired style and budget. 

You can affordably raise garden beds at home. In this case, you can adjust the planting material and media that you use with the budget you have. Besides, the results can be as good as expensive raised garden beds if you are good at managing and maintaining them.

Here is how to fill a raised garden bed for cheap that you can try.

Core Gardening

Core gardening concept to create garden beds
Core gardening concept to create garden beds

To affordably raise garden beds, you can try the core gardening concept. This method is by making core holding water that resembles a sponge so that the planting media can flow the water evenly. Some of the benefits of using the core gardening method are:

  • Less watering: Using this technique, you will need less water to water the plants. Also, it is useful when the dry season comes. Furthermore, you can also put mulch on the soil to save more water.
  • Fewer weeds: Because you don’t need to be water it all the time, the ground surface can stay dry. Thus, the chances of weed seeds to grow are also fewer. Therefore, you can save on the cost of eradicating weeds.
  • The stronger root system for plants: A dry soil surface will also encourage plant roots to grow deeper in search of nutrients. Thus, the roots of your plants will be stronger and healthier.
  • Reducing plant diseases: The cause of some diseases in plants is too much moisture at the surface of the soil. It is because uncontrolled moisture can spread mold, leaf rot, and powdery mildew.

Furthermore, how do you affordably raise garden bed? To make it yourself at home, here are some steps you can follow.

1. Make Some Trenches for The Cores

First of all, place the cardboard or newspaper at the bottom of the bed. It will prevent the growth of grass or weeds that may be present.

After that, place the soil on a cardboard/newspaper, but do not touch the bottom of the bed. Next, you can build a trench in the bed as deep as 8 to 12 inches and 1 to 2 feet down in the middle of the raised bed.

2. Fill the Core

Next, you have to fill the core of the raised bed with organic materials. In this case, the best material you can use is some used straw bales.

After that, add old twigs, leaves, and grass. Then, mix and place everything to fill the core of the raised bed. After that, press it to 4-5 inches in thickness.

3. Watering the Core

Don’t forget to water the entire core. The purpose of this step is to make a sponge down the centre of the bed as a water reserve.

Besides, you can skip this process because it is the key to making this affordably raised garden bed.

4. Fill the Entire Bed with Soil

Fill all parts of the bed with soil and compost with a ratio of 50:50. Use organic garden/topsoil to produce quality planting media. If you feel that the prices are too expensive, you can make homemade compost. In other words, whatever material you use, make sure it suits your budget.

5. Add Additional Nutrients

Finally, you can add fertilizer. You can use organic granular fertilizer or fish fertilizer. For the record, you need to keep your bed dry at all times and add compost to the soil at least once a year. 

Hugelkultur

Gaden bed made with Hugelkultur technique
Gaden bed made with Hugelkultur technique (permaculture.co.uk)

Hugelkultur is a way to make planting media by burying rotting debris under the soil. In this process, you will need a large number of rotten twigs, sticks, and pieces. Also, the benefits of using affordable raised garden beds are as high as the growing media we discussed earlier.

The texture of the sponge that you make from the collision of debris and soil will be able to hold water well and nourish it.

Thus, the roots of plants will be stronger and healthier. The difference with the previous method is that the material you need is huger and requires more time to decompose.

Furthermore, here are some simple steps you can follow to create a Hugelkultur raised bed and how to fill a raised garden bed for cheap that you can try.

1. Create the Hugelkultur Bed

Prepare a raised garden bed with a depth of about 16 to 20 inches. Then, collect rotting logs, twigs, and debris to be the basis for your growing media later.

Prepare the rotting logs
Prepare the rotting logs (permaculture.co.uk)

After that, place rotting wood and other debris 10 to 12 inches thick in the raised garden bed. Moreover, you can also put leaves and bushes on it.

2. Water the Organic Material

Don’t forget to water the pile of organic material above. The aim is to accelerate decay while storing water reserves in your affordably raised garden bed. Just like the raised garden before, Hugelkultur is also able to hold water for a long time.

3. Fill the Raised Garden Bed with Soil 

Finally, you can fill the remaining space with the soil. In this case, you can use the exiting topsoil that you took when digging the soil to make the raised garden bed.

Besides, you can also add the topsoil with compost to make it more fertile before put it on the top of your raised garden bed.

Ruth Stout

Ruth Stout is a woman born in 1884 in the United States. She also has the nickname the “Mulch Queen” because of her prowess in gardening and creating planting techniques that are very useful. In other words, she is the inventor of the power of mulch which utilizes spoiled hay.

As mentioned earlier, the Ruth Stout method utilizes spoiled hay to create healthier and high-quality planting media. It is because hay breaks down faster and provides nutrients to the soil. In addition, this growing media also requires less water.

The thing you need to know is that hay contains more weed seeds. However, the Ruth Stout method uses a thick layer of hay, at least 8 inches, so it can prevent the weed growth process. For those of you who want to try to affordably raise garden beds, here are the steps you can follow.

1. Prepare the Area for Raised Garden Bed 

Basically, you can build this garden bed on the ground without using a barrier. However, if you feel you need to add a side, you may also add it.

Therefore, the first thing you need to do is prepare the area that you will use to build this raised garden bed. After that, dig a little surface of the land with the area you want.

2. Add Compost to the Raised Garden Bed

After determining the planting area, you can add compost or fertilizer to it. Thus, the soil where you plant the seeds will be more nourished. In this case, you are better off using organic products to produce a higher quality and healthier growing media.

3. Add the Seeds You Want to Plant

After adding fertilizer or compost, you can put the seeds you want. Choose seeds that are easy to grow in your area and match the season you are planting. In this step, you can spread it throughout the raised garden bed, between layers of compost. 

4. Add Spoiled Hay to the Top of the Seed

The last step to make a Ruth Stout raised garden bed is spread the spoiled hay. Place the spoiled hay on top of the seed that you planted earlier.

In this case, the thickness of the hay you need might be around 8 to 12 inches. After that, you can wait for your seeds to grow while occasionally watering them. The amount of water you need to provide depends on the type of plant you choose.

That’s how to fill a raised garden bed for cheap that you can try. With those ideas, you can affordably raise garden beds, and it’s a great solution if don’t have large gardens. Besides, you can also try to make various designs according to the style you want and the budget you have.