Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Pro's and Con's of Raised Bed Gardeing"

   By this point I am sure that you have planned your garden layout and picked the plants you want to grow and even ordered the seeds. The sit you have picked should have at least 6 hours of daylight and you should pick a place close to a water supply. So have you figured out if you want a conventional or a raised bed garden! Here are the differences between them both.
  A conventional garden is one in which a large area is planted in rows at the ground level. It's probably the type of garden you are used to because that is mostly what we grew up with.Though these gardens have been the norm in our region for years past, many home gardeners are switching to raised bed gardening which is much easier, less expensive, and less time consuming. Conventional gardening takes more time out of busy lives. Conventional gardening requires more fertilization, compost, weed and insect control, as well as back breaking tilling of soil and picking of vegetables. I won't spend much time  getting into the pros and cons of conventional gardens as there are so many benefits to gardening in raised beds.
  Well what is a raised bed garden and what are the pros and cons. A Raised bed is just what the name suggests it is, it's a garden raised up off of ground level. It can be as high as you want it, they can be created from anything that will hold dirt and as small or large as you like. I will go over some of the pros and cons but if you would like to see how to build one cheap, go to my post "Urban Garden in a little space for less than $100.00"
   Here are some of the pros and cons of raised beds:

  • The soil in a raised bed is much richer in nutrients because you have used rich compost and topsoil.
  • Raised beds warm more quickly in spring, allowing you to work the soil and plant earlier.
  • You can also cover them with and make a small greenhouse with them and extend your growing season even more!
  • Raised beds drain better.
  • The soil in raised beds doesn't get compacted, because they are constructed with accessibility in mind.
  • It's easy to tailor the soil for your raised bed to the plants you plan to grow there.
  • After the initial construction process, raised beds require less maintenance than conventional garden beds.
  • Less weeds and those that do show up, you won't have to bend over as fare or get down on your knees to pull them. 
  • Building the raised bed at the right height makes it very good for those loved ones in wheel chairs to be able to still fully garden.
  • It is easier to control pests.
  • Higher Yields: Because of the better soil used in raised bed gardens, they tend to have higher fruit and vegetable yields than traditional row gardens.
  • You can also plant closer together, getting more plants per square foot. Why? Because you don't have to worry about rows to walk in, therefore you can push the plants much closer together. Sqaure Foot Gardening
  • Accessibility: One of the best things about raised bed gardens is their accessibility. You can easily reach every single plant to water, inspect, and pick the produce. Keep this in mind when planning how big to make them. 
  • People disabled, even in wheelchairs can continue to garden! Raised beds are a perfect solution for making a large garden plot handicap accessible. The elderly and people with physical challenges can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of tending a garden. From planting, to nurturing, to picking and eating the ripe vegetables and fruits they have grown, gardening can give people a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This is very important to persons with disabilities. The health benefits of being outside in the fresh air and sunshine should also not be overlooked. With some careful planning, and a few raised beds, all but the most severely handicapped, can enjoy working in a handicap accessible garden.
  • Money saver! Seeds are expensive. In a traditional row garden, you scatter the seeds, then thin the plants as they grow, wasting seeds. In a raised bed garden, you plant only the amount of seeds you need. Properly stored, the additional seeds will be good for another year or two, saving you money on next year’s garden.
  • Longer growing season:  Gardening seasons depend on the temperature of the soil. It will warm up more quickly than the ground under the lawn. In addition, it’s relatively simple to make a cold frame for a raised garden bed to extend the gardening season further.
  • You can make them look pretty cool! Raised garden beds look neat and tidy. In addition, if you’re a creative person, you can make some pretty cool looking gardens. Your garden could easily become the focal point of your yard.
   With all the Pro's I can't see many con's! Unless it would be if you ever decide to move them. I just got done moving two of mine. They were both small and since I had just built a new larger one, I could just move the dirt from the old one to the new one and then move the two old ones. Other than that I love them and I grew up like most of us in the conventional back braking gardens. I guarantee you if try on small raised bed you will be as addicted a me!

Job 8:16 "He grows green in the sun, And his branches spread out in his garden."


  1. I've been trying to convince my husband to convert to this style of gardening, and I hope this timely post of yours helps me sell the idea to him.

    1. As you know I grew up on 300 plus acres, 2 farms running together. We usually had 3 big gardens at once, 1 was for the potatoes, 1 for the corn and the other for everything else we grew and canned. I will have to admit this is much easier and the Pro's out weigh the con's. Good luck to you to you Charade!

  2. I'm hoping we can do raised gardening, too, but I'm not sure hubby is sold on it, yet.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. I am amazed at the amount of produce that comes from these raised bed gardens. They don't take up much space at all but they produce more than enough for our household and then some.

    1. We did get a lot last season didn't we? And they are 3 times the size this year!

  4. I wish I could talk my husband into trying some raised beds!

    Thanks for linking up with Rural Thursday!

    1. Thanks for having me! Here in a few weeks, I want to have a give away! So I may ask for help, I am new to all of this!

  5. I was wondering what kind of cons you'd have!

    My husband was reluctant to try permanent beds because he loves his tiller and he loves to till. Last year we started to study permaculture and he's seeing good reasons to try this. Ours aren't so much raised as terraced, but the more compost and mulch that goes into them, I'm sure we'll be building up all four sides. :)

    1. That's actually another form of raised beds. I was reading a book by Jerry Baker, I don't know which one! But they were using that same method as one of the examples of raised beds. He was using the lasagna method to start. I guess one con is to raised beds is that you have to grow up on trellises more but that's not a bad thing either.
      But doing it the way you all do it, helps make it to were your husband can do things he enjoys also, and really isn't that what it's all about, doing the things you love and enjoy?

  6. I love using my boxes and the Square Foot Gardening concept! I grew cucumbers on trellises last year and felt they had fewer problems with pests because there wasn't anywhere for them to hide! :) Being in the desert, the boxes are working very well to hold in the moisture.

    1. I bet they do work much better in the desert! Thanks for stopping by Candy, I really enjoy your blog!

  7. Great post. It is amazing how everything I grow, grows better in my raised beds. Though I never thought about them warming faster. Yes, they do! And yes, moving them is a pain. We've done it! But at least the bed is all assembled. ;-)

    1. Something else I am gonna try this fall with them is a greenhouse over top of it. I would like to try 365 day a year gardening!

  8. The "draining well" "Pro" is a "Con" during a drought. A great book, "Gardening When It Counts" explains how plants in well prepared, traditional rows adapt to drought conditions by digging deeper for water, something they can't do in a raised bed. The author was a big raised bed guy until he began subsistence gardening in Australia and he nearly starved using raised beds.

    And the "Pro" of the soil being better is simply a myth. It might be better FASTER, but I will put my row crop dirt (my rows are in delineated "beds", but still on grade), against any dirt you can buy and haul in to your box.

    I grew 872 lbs of watermelon form THREE heirloom seeds during a drought last summer and I never watered even ONCE. The trick is double digging with a spade in your backyard or subsoiling with a tractor for lager plots every three to five years.

    Raised beds might be "pretty" but you'll starve in a drought with no extra $$ water supply $$ if this is a real means to produce food.

    If you are just raising organic arugala in your "Martha Mansion" garden, then good on ya, but if you are intending to EAT, you might think a little bit more about the B side of your Pro list.

    Good luck and any garden is better than no garden!

    1. I know what you mean, I grew up on a 300 plus acre farm, where we had 3 football field size gardens going at once, one for corn, 1 for potatoes and the other a mix for canning. Raised Beds aren't for that type of farming but they can be if done correctly. People have used whats call "mound gardening" for centuries, another form of raised beds without a container type side. This allows for better soil to be brought in and the soil to heat faster, resulting in earlier planting.
      Things I do to make my garden experience almost free is, Compost my own soil, Collect rain water in 55 gallon plastic drums,haul horse manure for free from a friends, I have never bought dirt to fill my beds And I also can grow year round with a green house cover.
      I have done it both ways and per square foot, I can grow more veggies then a row garden. One thing is to grow your vines upward on trellises.
      But to each their own, its all about what you enjoy and love, and getting out and enjoying the things God has given us! Thank you for your input and please come back!

  9. Excited to find and follow you as I am ready to start my first garden and hope to learn from your blog. Hope you will visit me too.
    betty@ southern grace

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  12. Just before building my raised beds I read about Hugle Kulture - the practice of mounding or burying old logs under soil and growing on top of them. I did try one mound - it was hard to contain the bed and keep the soil on it - but filling my raised beds with old logs, branches, chicken litter straw, and manure before adding compost and topsoil has worked really well. I had 4 of these beds for the first time last season and am adding 2 more this winter. Raised beds do need more water and I watered these first time beds often but I'm expecting that as the wood decomposes and worm/ bio organism climate gets established it will compensate by holding moisture.