Why I Prefer Raised Garden Beds

| 5/5/2020 9:27:00 AM


In the past I have always had a vegetable garden “in the ground”. A couple of times we have just dug up lawn and made garden beds right there by adding cow manure and minerals. But in my latest garden I decided to try raised garden beds and I definitely prefer them to in-ground beds. Here’s why I prefer raised garden beds.

Better drainage and potential to hold moisture

My raised garden beds are made from roofing iron. I bought four raised garden beds from the local tank maker. They are about 3 ft (1 m) wide, 6 ft (2 m) long and 3 ft (1 m) high. I filled them in layers. Firstly using about a foot of our local clay sub-soil to seal the base. Then a layer of wood chip, saw dust and logs of different sizes. The aim of this layer was to mimic a concept called “hugelkultur” which uses buried wood to hold moisture in the garden.

I added polypipe with holes drilled on top of this layer, to use a concept called “wicking beds” which is based on watering into the root section rather than the top of soil. Wicking beds are usually lined with plastic, but I didn’t want plastic in my garden, so I used the clay layer to sort of seal the bottom of the garden bed and the wood layer to absorb the water.

The final layer was soil and manure from our cattle yards. This layer drains well and is good for planting seeds and seedlings directly.

Overall, the layers give me the equivalent of an in-ground garden bed dug to 3 feet deep (I’ve never been able to dig that deep before!). I can control the moisture in the bed by watering directly into the wood layer in hot dry weather, but they will also drain well if we get a lot of rain.

5/22/2020 8:03:02 AM

Being a southern US gardener, I have done both. Raised beds definately do not do as well here in SC, unless you want to water daily. The beds get too hot, stressing the plants. Water evaporates quickly.

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