Raised Garden vs Ground Garden
Raised garden or ground garden, that is the question. Everyone pretty much knows what a traditional ground garden is, you work the ground, you plant, and you wait, you weed, you wait some more. Today we hear more and more about using a raised garden or container gardens as opposed to traditional gardens.
I have heard many people say that a raised garden bed is nothing more than a BIG flowerpot put on top of dirt or another surface such as your patio. This is partly true and partly false. BIG flowerpots would be considered container gardening, raised beds do not have bottoms and are basically dirt placed on top of more dirt sometimes confined to an area by walls. Thus raised garden beds allow the benefit for plant roots to grow further into the ground.
But which is really the best way to go? The fact is it’s all about the soil and the placement. Good soil is alive, there are three types of soil, clay, sandy, and silt. The best gardening type would be a mixture of all three, sadly not too many of us get to start off with that, soil is often a work in progress. If your soil isn’t happy and healthy, you are going to be looking at an empty garden. Now as far as placement goes, ideally we all want an area that gets plenty of sunshine, holds enough rain but still drains and is rich is nutrients.
Both a traditional ground garden and raised garden bed has their own individual pros and cons, for example, if you live in a colder climate a raised bed would allow you to begin your planting season earlier because the soil in a raised bed warms up faster. On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate, ground garden beds require less watering than raised garden beds, so that may be the way to go.
Another thing to consider is the area in which you plan to place your garden, does the area hold too much water when it rains? If so that can be a good reason to go with raised beds. Is the soil poor or extremely rocky? If so then that another point in favor of a raised bed.
Traditional Ground Garden Pros:
- Nothing to build, so it is cheaper to start than raised beds.
- No soil to buy, if your fortunate enough to have a yard, the ground is free.
- Doesn’t need to be watered as often.
Traditional Ground Garden Cons:
- Weeds quickly creep in from pathways between rows.
- It is much easier for children and pets to step on plants.
- You have to bend more to work; this can be a problem for those with bad backs or as we grow older.
- It may be difficult to work ground without a tiller or tractor.
Raised Garden Pros:
- Easier to keep weeds out of beds.
- Provides the best drainage making it an excellent choice for wet areas.
- Prevent garden soil from compaction due to being walked on.
- Soil warms up faster in the spring.
- More control over the quality of the soil.
- Easier on your back.
- Keeps plant roots from getting waterlogged in wet areas.
- You can place rat wire on the bottom of your raised beds if you have unwelcome furry friends such as voles, or gophers who are confident you are growing veggies just for them!
- But my personal favorite reason is that it keeps my veggies out of my neighbors dogs pee-zone!
Raised Garden Cons:
- The cost to build or buy and start. Not only will you need building material but also good quality soil.
- Needs to be watered regularly.
- Eventually, wood rots, unless you use pressure-treated wood, not such a good idea from my viewpoint.
- Carpenter ants and other such creatures seem to like my raised beds as much as I do.
I happen to love both styles of gardening. I mean what’s not to love about the smell of fresh dirt or the feel of rich dirt between your fingers not to mention the taste of the vegetables you grow?