Five methods to improve drainage of raised garden beds

Do you live in areas with thick and dense soil? Planting anything worth eating in these types of soil is a difficult task. You may find yourself farming every year because the nutrients in the soil are depleted. Or you may find yourself adding amendments every season, but with almost no improvement. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

A situation like this requires a raised garden bed. Not only can you build your own soil on difficult to cultivate soil, but you can also reduce problems such as erosion, and most importantly, poor drainage.

The filling cost of raised garden beds is not high, even if you want a high-quality, nutrient rich culture medium to plant plants.

Here, we will introduce the concept of building raised garden beds to increase the drainage capacity of the garden. We will first study the importance of drainage, and then discuss how to develop a healthy raised garden bed garden with good drainage.

Why is drainage important?

You need good drainage in the garden to ensure proper root development. Good drainage and sufficient soil ventilation should be carried out simultaneously. This not only provides space for plant roots to move in the soil, but also provides more mobility for nutrients and microorganisms. The high exchange of nutrients leads to overall healthy plants.

Through good drainage, your soil has the opportunity to retain more water and nutrients, allowing them to provide your plants for a longer time.

This can also prevent potential erosion caused by planting food crops and cultivation. Similarly, good drainage is crucial for supporting gardens on slopes and hills!

Another benefit of good drainage is the ability to guide and collect any runoff. In many regions, having the ability to save water means you are covered during drought periods.

What causes poor garden drainage?

The type of soil type you are using is the key to garden drainage. Heavy clay often contains a large amount of water. If you have clay, you may have poor drainage, and building a raised garden bed will help you develop a garden with better drainage.

At the same time, you do not want highly sandy soil to drain well, so that you do not have nutrients to feed plants. In this case, please correct with water retaining elements that support healthy plant development. Raised garden beds can help with poor drainage in soil that contains too much water and soil that cannot hold any water.

Some plants require a large amount of water to grow healthy and strong, while others require very little water. Many plants are prone to root rot if left in water for too long. Excessive water is one of the main causes of plant death. Too little water will produce the same result, but the situation is different.

How to test drainage

There is a simple way to test your soil to see its drainage, preferably before building a raised garden bed, rather than waiting for it to be filled. Dig a ten inch deep hole in any area of the garden. Fill the hole with water and wait for all the water to sink into the ground.

Then, fill the holes with water again. If the water does not disappear within about ten hours, the soil's drainage is very poor and not suitable for most plants.

Build raised garden beds to improve drainage

The most common method of providing appropriate drainage for plants is to create a raised garden bed garden. A raised garden bed is simply a structure that maintains the soil and keeps plants away from the ground.

Soft soil allows roots to grow freely, and drainage will prevent them from rotting. After watering the plants a few times, you may need to add more soil to compensate for sedimentation. A raised garden bed garden does require some work, but the result makes it all worth it.

Prepare a garden for a raised garden bed

Grassland has caused more problems. If you want to build a raised garden bed on the grass, please use a tiller or stirrup hoe to clear the grass first. Then cover the exposed ground with a layer of straw, cover, cardboard, or rock.

These can prevent grass from regrowing through the soil and entering your garden bed. They can also prevent potential erosion by placing raised garden beds directly on the ground.

Although it is not necessary to ensure that the bed is level, it can greatly help maintain moisture and drainage. You can place the raised garden bed on the obstacle of your choice and check it with a level to see if it is worth it for you. Use existing soil, rocks, or even sand as needed to level your bed on a weed barrier.

Fill your raised garden bed

The huge cultural method involves building soil on a layer of large logs, and then filling the gaps with smaller branches and branches, leaves, and compost.

Most importantly, it is usually a rich growth medium. A good way to save money when building a raised garden bed is to shine brightly on the bed.

With tremendous decomposition, beneficial microorganisms and fungi will cultivate wood, and you will constantly replenish the soil. However, one thing to remember is that in the first season, the soil in the bed will settle by about 6 inches.

When adjusting the soil for the next growing season, you need to add more things to the top instead of using bagged soil or composite materials.

Alternatively, you can fill your bed with a high-quality raised garden bed mixture. Most soil companies have mixtures specifically formulated for raised garden beds. These have the correct drainage materials, nutrients, and water retention materials needed to grow most vegetables. You can also prepare your own organic raised garden bed soil.

Although this is more expensive than using locally sourced branches, branches, and leaf raised garden bed materials, it is definitely feasible, and you don't have to refill your bed like using huge or sheet covering fillers at the end of the season.

Improving drainage of raised garden beds

So now you have tested your raised garden bed soil. If you find that it doesn't drain well, what should you do? There are many different ways to improve drainage on the bed. Before adding anything to the garden, please conduct a soil test to ensure that you do not overeat.

Addition method

To improve the soil structure on the bed, you can add compost. This provides some nutrients for the soil and provides some acidity for the more basic soil. Composting protects exposed topsoil and helps maintain moisture (if this is what you need).

Finally, composting can increase the circumference of sandy or ultra-light soil. If you plant various plants that may prefer lower acidity soil, try not to add too many at once.

Add some perlite to the soil if it tends to hold more water than needed.

A very simple way to improve bed drainage is to cover around plants. This can maintain moisture and improve soil structure during soil decomposition.

Flaky coverage

Another interesting way to improve the drainage of raised garden beds is to directly cover the top of the soil. Of course, this is best done when preparing for the growing season, whether before or between planting on the bed.

You need at least a few months to break down the cover and compost. During this period, keep it moist and then plant it inside.


You can use a manual cultivator to cultivate the soil and ventilate between plants, preferably between seasons. If your hand tiller cannot damage the soil surface, you can use heavy tools such as a wide fork.

Insert the wide fork into the soil and gently lift it. Ensure that you have not damaged the roots of existing plants on the bed. After inflating the soil, if necessary, amendments can be added.

Zero tillage horticulture

You may want to know whether tillage method or no tillage method is better. If your soil is properly aerated, you can practice zero tillage gardening.

At the end of the season, leaving the roots on a raised garden bed and cutting off the top of the plants for composting or as a cover will improve drainage. The roots provide ventilation for the soil. You can destroy the soil structure by repeatedly removing plants from the roots.

In the cool season, planting cover crop with raised garden beds can prevent the loss of topsoil. They also provide nutrients for the soil and provide a source of ventilation and cover for crops when you cut and discard them.

When cover crop grow in the soil, you can feed beneficial fungi and microorganisms to improve the overall soil condition.

The soil temperature is more effectively regulated, and weeds have nowhere to grow. Remember to chop cover crop when they bloom 50-80%. This will prevent the seeds produced by used flowers from germinating.