Raised Beds vs In-Ground Garden
Whether you choose to plant your garden directly in the ground or in raised beds you will enjoy the benefits of homegrown produce. But your decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many pros and cons to each selection and you should take the time now to decide which is right for you. I have tried both and prefer the raised bed method. You can follow my step-by-step guide to building a raised bed frame here.
Raised Bed Garden
The biggest reason that I prefer the raised bed garden is because of weed control. I have had to battle the weeds in the walkway more than in the beds themselves. It is also easier to harvest your produce when you can just walk around each bed rather than having to walk between the rows of your in-ground garden.
The drawback to raised beds is the limited space available to plant. The cost of the raised beds can also be a factor to consider. You not only have to buy the wood and materials to construct the beds, but you also have to buy soil to fill it.
Tip – DO NOT put dirt from your land into your raised beds, no matter how rich and beautiful it is.
You will notice in the picture above that we have 1 area at the bottom left that we left open to plant corn. We later decided to put another raised bed there because we have an in-ground garden on another part of the homestead. We had a pile of dirt from a project and my husband convinced me that we should just fill the new bed with that dirt. As a result, I have been battling bermudagrass in it every year and it is almost unusable.
Pros & Cons of a Raised Bed Garden
- Easier to keep weeds out
- Easy to harvest from all sides
- You can easily cover new seedlings
- Pretty to look at
- More costly to build
- More permanent
- Doesn’t provide room for deep root plants
- Limited planting space if you need a large yield
There are definite benefits to planting your garden in the ground. For instance, if you have fertile healthy soil you can start a garden with minimal start-up cost. You may also want to plant a large garden capable of producing enough vegetables that you can sell extra at a local farmers market. There are some crops that require space for deep roots like asparagus, okra, and tomatoes. And then there are other crops that need lots of room to grow, like watermelon and squash. That doesn’t mean that you can’t grow those crops in raised beds, it just means that there may be some additional challenges. You can also use a tractor or plow to do much of the labor to prepare your garden to be planted. However, the downside of putting a garden in the ground is keeping it free of weeds and invasive grass.
Pros & Cons of an In-Ground Garden
- Plenty of room for a large garden
- Ease of plowing with equipment
- Room for deep roots to grow
- Retains water longer
- Hard to keep weeds out
- Have to walk in the dirt to harvest
- Difficult to protect new seedlings
- Animals may share your crops
Which will you choose?
I love my garden. I love knowing that my food is free of pesticides and chemicals. So whichever method of gardening you choose you won’t be disappointed. Each method has pros and cons so it’s up to you to decide which one will work best for your situation. I learn something new every year. That’s the great thing about gardening. It’s a new project and a new gift each time.