Raised garden beds are excellent choices if ever you experience poor-quality soil in the garden, or if you want to lessen the effort you put into growing vegetables. I’m sure that if you are a beginner, you have a ton of questions centered around raised garden beds, such as, ‘what should I line my raised garden bed with?’
This may sound confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing from there! So read on to learn more about building raised garden beds efficiently.
Why Line Your Raised Garden Bed?
It is recommended that you line your raised garden bed, as it has more pros than cons. With a liner for your raised garden bed, it can insulate soil against intense temperatures, along with keeping moles and gophers out and preventing weeds from coming in. Furthermore, it allows water to drain efficiently without taking any soil with it and prevents leaching of chemicals to your soil.
To be transparent, there are also some cons I would like to mention, such as how raised garden beds are completely airtight and the watertight liner material might not give your soil the drainage it needs. It may also be easy to damage liners as you dig or replace the soil, and you will have to move all soil in the raised bed as you replace old liners. For those who have wooden raised beds, liners can encourage water to come in contact with wood, causing it to rot quickly.
But if you avoid using wooden raised garden beds and can deal with the extra effort, then liners are a great way to go.
What Should I Line My Raised Garden Bed With?
There are various options to choose from when you are deciding what you should use to line raised garden beds, such as:
1. Landscape Fabric
When using landscape fabric, it would prevent weeds by denying them the sunlight that is required for them to grow. They are usually made from recycled materials or plastic, which can be found in garden supply centers or online stores.
These types of liner materials are somewhat breathable, allowing air, water, and other nutrients to come in. When lining raised beds with this material, allows the soil to drain and prevents weeds from growing. This is best for those who focus on giving plants proper drainage but it won’t be strong enough to keep moles and gophers out if they are an issue.
Canvas is a type of durable material made of cotton, hemp, or linen, usually used for awnings, shoes, and tents. They are also great for gardening applications as liners or grow bags.
Being a durable material, they are tougher and last longer compared to landscape fabrics. Furthermore, it is somewhat water-permeable, allowing decent drainage when used as raised bed liners.
This is a great option for those who want proper drainage and to protect their plants from moles and gophers.
Plastic liners are a great choice for those who want waterproof garden liners for raised beds. They are also a good option if you have very dry soil and need to retain moisture by preventing ‘normal drainage. You may even be resourceful and use old pool covers or plastic tarps as raised bed liners!
These materials are waterproof, so they won’t permit proper drainage when lining the bottom of the raised bed. It’s best to use this plastic to line a raised bed that’s made of older wood, and line it around its sides rather than the bottom. After that, use water-permeable materials when lining the bottom.
Doing two liners will allow water to drain out from the bottom of the raised bed while preventing chemicals from getting to your soil from the pressure-treated wood.
Another thing you can do is to invest in plastic garden liners made out of polypropylene fabric, which permits better drainage. Be sure that the plastic materials you choose are nontoxic.
4. Hardware Cloth
Hardware cloth is a type of mesh material that you often find in rolls from hardware stores. You can use these materials to line the bottom of raised beds for preventing moles and gophers from digging below. You can find hardware cloth that is treated so it doesn’t rust or tarnish, though be sure that you get nontoxic liners made of stainless steel that hasn’t been treated with other chemicals.
When you use hardware cloth with canvas or landscape fabric, it prevents pests from coming into your garden and allowing water to drain properly without bringing soil with it. If used with plastic, you can discourage pests from digging holes in the bottom liner.
This material is the best option to keep gophers and moles out while still allowing proper drainage.
While you can use cardboard or paper for raised bed liners, this can decompose quickly. While they do decompose quickly, they can provide moisture-retention benefits that mulch can provide!
If you do choose this material, select nontoxic ones that are listed for organic use. Some are made as bed liners that prevent weed growth and provide biodegrades that give more nutrients to your growing plants.
This material is a good option if you’re looking for something more affordable and eco-friendly. You can use any plain cardboard or even newspaper for recycling.
Wrapping It Up
While lining your raised garden bed isn’t necessary, it provides a lot of pros that outweigh any cons it has. There are different kinds of materials you can use to line your raised garden bed with, and what you choose depends on what your plants need most. You can either purchase these liners online and in gardening stores, or you can even use household items you have at home, such as burlap sacks, newspapers, old pool covers, and more!
If you plan to line your raised garden beds, look into these materials to know what your plants will benefit from most.