Sunday, September 05, 2010

Raised Beds Or Row Gardens

We are trying to decide how we want to do our garden this time in our new home.  In times past, we have had both raised beds and traditional gardens.  There are pros and cons to both.  Raised beds in my opinion are more beautiful.  They have the look of large flower boxes with beautiful things growing inside of  them. 

Raised beds are also great for growing large quantities in small areas.  You can also control each individual bed easily.  Did I mention that they are beautiful?

What are the negatives of raised beds?   They can be expensive to install.  There is also a lot of work to getting raised beds first started.  Depending on the material used for the beds, there is also the cost and time of replacing the wood on the beds later down the road. 

We have a large area just past the drive way and before the cow fence that we have decided will be our garden for next year.  The previous owners already had a garden there and they installed a water spigot which is very helpful when gardening.  The area is large and narrow, but there really isn't much else that could be done with it except have a garden or mow it. 

We could have the neighbor plow it up and make a traditional row garden.  Space isn't an issue for us.  We have plenty to plant whatever we desire.  We could still use drip tape and water in that manner.  This would be the least amount of upfront  money as well as the least amount of work.  Our traditional row gardens have always yielded plenty in the past.  The only real problem with it was that I had a hard time keeping up with it.  I can't run the tiller myself so it required Michael or one of the boys to till between the rows to keep up with any weed issues.  They weren't always available to do that when it needed to be done.  I also had to have one of them around to till up an area if I wanted to plant something new.  My raised beds were much easier to work.  I could work with out Michael for the most part if I needed.  I spent many afternoons   planting new items in the garden while Michael was at work.  The other great thing with raised beds is that the rain didn't stop me from picking in my garden.  I could walk easily on the grass beside the beds and harvest freely.  I didn't have to worry about sinking in the mud in a traditional row garden.  In the end, gardening is about harvest.  While I like it to be beautiful, I still need it to function well.  I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars just for the beauty factor. 

Do any of you have any suggestions concerning this garden issue?  What has worked well for you?  Have you had raised beds in the past and decided to go back to traditional row gardening?  If so, would you please let me know your reasons? 

grace and peace,
julie

5 comments:

Carmen C. said...

Julie, we have had raised beds for years but I found some larger plants such as zucchini didn't do well, I think they didn't have enough space, so this year we still used the beds but put the bigger things in a regular garden. My suggestion would be to start next year with a regular in ground garden, then you can add beds later when money permits. I read the blog of a gal named Gina at homejoys.blogspot.com who puts down rows of newspaper in between the rows, then grass clippings on top, this cuts down on the weed issue and can all be tilled under in the fall for fertilizer. Which ever way you go, I know it will be beautiful as your gardens always are:)
P.s in 3 days I will be at Ft. Benning hugging my boy!!!!!!!!!

Paige said...

Julie,

You can actually accomplish something in between....We've always done "raised beds" by having the garden plowed like a traditional garden, but then raking dirt from pathway areas into the bed areas. Then we always used a mulch of some sort for the pathways--usually grass clippings, though we did put down tree mulchings from the power company. It makes the plowing easier in the spring. Also it's cheap since there are no bed walls to buy or maintain. And by not having grass in between the beds, there is a lot less weeding to be done to get the creeping grass out of the beds.

Best of luck! Hopefully, we'll be gardening next spring too! :)

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

I like raised beds for lettuce etc. but role garden for everything else. Invest in a Mantis tiller so you can do the tilling yourself. They don't look like they would do much but they are amazing for there size.

Tim

jwcreath@gmail.com said...

Check out Ruth Stout on You Tube. Three short (approx. 9-10 min) videos.

Darleen

TnFullQuiver said...

Thank y'all for your comments! We really appreciat it...and Carmen...enjoy that boy of yours!!!!
grace and peace,
julie