Getting the Most from In-Ground Expert Gardener Garden Beds

For many gardeners, planting directly in the existing soil is the traditional, most cost-effective way to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs. While raised beds are popular right now for their heightened convenience, ground-level in-ground beds have some excellent benefits too when properly prepared and maintained. Expert Gardener offers quality wooden frame garden bed kits that sit at ground level to provide an attractive and productive in-ground gardening solution.

Benefits of In-Ground Garden Beds

Some important benefits of planting in garden beds that are level with the ground instead of raised beds that are higher up:

  • Cost savings – In-ground beds don’t require purchased soil fill, retaining materials or complex construction.

  • Natural appearance – Sitting flat on the ground gives beds a seamless look as part of the yard.

  • Space efficiency – No need to leave walkways around beds since the frame borders are flush with the lawn

  • Weight support – Heavy materials like stone or concrete can be used safely for edging or pathways right up to the bed perimeter.

  • Microclimate – Plant roots stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter protected underground.

  • Nutrient exchange – Plants can take advantage of nutrients already present deep in the native soil.

  • Drainage: Water soaks into the ground deeply, but dense clay soils should have better drainage.

With some TLC to enhance the soil, in-ground bed gardens can be just as productive as elevated beds.

Key Design Elements of Expert Gardener In-Ground Beds

Expert Gardener ground level garden bed kits are carefully made to be easy to use and last a long time:

  • Attractive cedar or redwood frame construction surrounds the bed perimeter. Rot-resistant woods prevent decay.

  • Frame boards attach together at corners with durable metal brackets to maintain the bed structure.

  • Frame height of 8 to 12 inches is ideal for bordering beds while keeping them accessible and low profile.

  • Boards extend below ground level to hold shape. Some kits include charcoal stake pins for extra stability in soft soil.

  • Available in common bed lengths like 4×8 feet up to 8×20 feet to suit the space available.

  • Can combine multiple kits in custom layouts to create raised vegetable garden configurations.

  • Optional landscaping fabric retains soil and blocks weeds along the frame walls.

The finished wooden frames neaten up garden bed edges both aesthetically and functionally.

Preparing the Soil Base for In-Ground Garden Beds

While convenient, planting in native soil has some considerations:

  • Test soil composition and chemistry to identify any deficiencies needing correction.

  • Till or double dig compacted clay-heavy soil to a depth of 10-12 inches for better drainage and root penetration.

  • Work in generous amounts of aged compost, manure or leaf mold to improve moisture retention and nutrition.

  • Incorporate peat moss or coconut coir to lighten heavy clay soils. Mix in builder’s sand for improved drainage in soggy soils.

  • Adjust pH between 6.5-7.0 by applying lime (to reduce acidity) or sulfur (to lower alkalinity) according to soil test results.

  • Level and smooth the soil base, removing any stones or debris. Rake along the frame walls for a flat, even appearance.

With some TLC, native soil can offer plants a perfectly balanced growing medium right in the ground.

Choosing the Right Plants for In-Ground Garden Bed Growing

Almost any type of garden plant will thrive in an in-ground bed. Some smart options include:

Leafy Greens – Lettuce, spinach, kale and other greens produce heavily in the cool, moist soil. Densely plant in blocks, rows or broadcast sow.

Root Crops – Carrots, radishes, beets and turnips develop long straight roots with careful soil prep.

Legumes – Bush beans, peas and soy beans fix nitrogen into the soil and can be succession planted.

Nightshades – Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes are summer favorites for in-ground beds. Use disease-resistant varieties and rotation.

Herbs – Basil, cilantro, dill, parsley and more provide a constant harvest of fresh flavor for cooking.

Flowers – Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and calendulas add vibrant color while attracting pollinators.

Heavy Feeders – Corn, melons, squash and other big eaters appreciate the nutrient availability and drainage.

Caring for In-Ground Garden Beds

Proper ongoing care of in-ground beds keeps plants actively growing:

  • Mulch beds with 2-3 inches of organic material like shredded bark, leaves or straw. Replenish annually.

  • Water beds 1-2 inches per week as needed, aiming for consistent moisture. Avoid runoff and puddling.

  • Feed plants monthly with balanced granular fertilizer or compost/manure tea applications.

  • Scout for pests like slugs, snails and cabbage worms and treat organically at first sighting.

  • Weed regularly to prevent competition for water and nutrients. Pull weeds after rain when soil is moist for easy removal.

  • Monitor for disease and isolate/remove affected plants immediately to prevent spread.

  • Edge along frames periodically with a half-moon edger to prevent grass encroachment.

With attentive care, in-ground beds yield just as successfully as raised versions!

Unique Accessories to Enhance In-Ground Garden Beds

Accessorize basic in-ground garden beds with useful and decorative add-ons:

Plant Labels – Identify vegetables and flowers with reusable metal, wood or plastic tags.

Trellis – Install short trellises along one side or corner of beds for vertical growing space.

Edging – Border beds with natural stone, brick, concrete or metal landscape edging.

Fabric – Line inside of frames with landscape fabric before filling to block weeds along walls.

Fencing – Protect beds from animal invasion with decorative bamboo fencing or mesh netting.

Stepping Stones – Arrange flat stones as steppers across beds to avoid walking directly on soil.

Archways – Span a narrow bed with a rustic bamboo arbor or more permanent wooden arch accented with climbing flowering vines.

Dividers – Use short fences, lattice panels or obelisks to divide large beds into sections.

Creative Design Inspiration for In-Ground Garden Bed Layouts

The planting layout possibilities are endless with in-ground garden beds. Get inspired with these creative ideas:

  • Frame beds on a slope with terraced retaining walls in between.

  • Arrange long narrow beds end-to-end with mowed grass walkways in between.

  • Edge beds with clipped ornamental grasses for texture and movement.

  • Outline beds with logs or timbers buried partially underground for a natural look.

  • Combine square and rectangular beds for a geometric modern design.

  • Shape beds into circles, crescents or free flowing kidney bean shapes.

  • Site beds near entertaining areas for easy garnish harvesting.

  • Grow different themes in each bed like salsa ingredients, salad fixings or stir fry veggies.

With imagination, a basic in-ground garden bed becomes a landscape showpiece.

Enjoy the Beauty and Bounty of In-Ground Gardening

If the idea of purchasing and filling raised beds has you hesitating about creating garden beds, don’t overlook the potential of in-ground gardening. With a bit of planning and preparation, the existing soil can offer plants a perfectly balanced growing environment. Frame kits from Expert Gardener provide decorative, functional edges to contain and neaten up garden beds. The end result is a cost-effective, natural-looking garden bed that grows productive, beautiful flowers and vegetables to enjoy all season.

I Put together the “Expert Gardener” Raised Garden Bed!!


How to level ground for garden bed?

Dig out the uneven soil and pile in the middle of the area. (It would be best not to dig right after rain so that the ground is too wet, and not when it is too dry as well) At the lower side of the garden bed you may have to rake some soil there to make it higher.

Do raised garden beds need to be level?

No, it’s not mandatory. However, the horizontal garden bed provides the best conditions for your plants to thrive. If the land is uneven, it should be a little sloppy, not too sloppy. The terrain where you want to erect the raised garden bed is crucial.

How high should soil be in a garden bed?

Ideal Soil Depth The height for a raised bed can vary depending on the types of plants you’re growing; shallow-rooted plants need around 6 inches of soil, while shrubs, perennials, and creeping fruits or vegetables require at least 12 inches.

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