GARDENS: Raised Beds vs. In-Ground
Posted July 12, 2020 in Real Estate Trends
Garden planning is not unlike interior decorating; you get to choose the style and shape of your furniture and arrange everything just the way you like it. We use a page of graph paper and plot out a drawing of where each vegetable will be planted for proper crop rotation. Three years ago, we decided to build raised garden boxes and give that a try instead. Now with having a garden both ways I have some thoughts to share.
Raised beds give you the opportunity to haul in fresh soil mix rich in nutrients and vermiculite. I recommend a blend of 60% topsoil, 30% compost and 10% potting soil. If unavailable at your local garden center a 50/50 blend would work.
Raised beds can help keep some pests and rodents out of your garden! Your pooch will be much less likely to dig in (let alone climb into) a raised bed.
The contained environment of a raised bed makes them perfect for water-conscious irrigation and can help mitigate weeds!
Raised beds and prefabricated container gardens can be quite beautiful. Add a pop or color to your property, whether sustainable redwood, steel, or any number of other options and then surround your raised boxes with playground chips or gravel for mud-free walking paths.
While raised beds and prefabricated container gardens can often come at a higher initial cost than planting in-ground, they can save your back from leaning, hunching and kneeling. We built our beds 24” tall with a kneeling/sitting board around the edge that comes in handy when weeding.
After having the raised garden beds for the last three years I have found that in-ground planting can offer more plantable square feet. That said, we are on acreage and have a tractor with a tiller that helps make an in-ground garden easier.
Our natural ground has a healthy soil full of microbial life. Some of the till-ins we add throughout the spring are steer manure, coffee grounds, banana peels and eggshells.
Keeping pests, diseases, rodents, and even larger animals (DEER!) out of in-ground gardens can be a real challenge. We have an 8ft fence surrounding our 100’x150’ garden space to keep out the deer.
It does take more effort to manage soil moisture with irrigation. I am thankful for our well!
In-ground beds have the potential to look more “farmy,” and that aesthetic isn’t for everyone, though it suits this country girl just fine.
The biggest benefit, to me, for the in-ground garden is the ability to till it under at the end of the season and have a fresh start each year!
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