Raised Beds vs Row Gardening

Raised Beds vs Row Gardening

Ask most gardeners which method of gardening is better, ie, raised beds vs row gardening and you will get a plethora of results. Some will swear by the old open ground or rows and more recently others will suggest that raised bed gardening is hard to better. It depends on who you ask and I suspect that those hardened gardenrs who have used the row or drill methods will unwavering swear by this system that they have used for years. But on the otherhand, ask a newbie or someone who has just started their gardening adventures and are using the rasied beds and they will tell us differently. Its horses for courses as the old adage goes and as we go forward and become more experienced and educated in gardening circles, we will see a shift towards raised beds as the preferred method.

There are considerable differences in how we go about preparing and getting each system of gardening ready for planting and we will look at each and discuss the pros and cons in some detail. There has been a lot written in journals, books, ebooks, videos, CDs, DVDs and more, with each publication stating its own preferance , so its a question of what method we are happy to go with. Planting our vegetables in the ground, ridges, rows or drills is natures way, some would say, whereas the raised bed gardening method is more technical, structured and organised.

 

Row gardening

 

Row gardening…how-to;

 

If we look at how farmers and agricultural growers work with their machinery, its so easy to make the rows and that Row gardening 1system works well with them for certain crops. The drill or plough makes a row or mound of the soil and then the seed is planted within. The row allows soil to be built up and support the crop or vegetable as it matures and grows towards maturity. This soil structure will force the rain water to flow downwards and thus keeps the seed relatively dry during the growing period. We have then, as residental back gardeners have taken our cue from this system and adopted it for our own purposes. Instead of using machinery in our back gardens, we do this work manually and that can take a considerable amount of time and effort.

 

Maintenance and labor;

 

The soil has to be tilled and turned with a tiller, spade or fork and allowed to dry and settle. After that task has been completed, we then make rows, ridges, mounds of the soil and get our garden ready for the sowing of our vegetables. A ridge or mound is a similar practice whereby we would have 3-4 rows of soil in one row and this idea is, in all but in name a raised bed. It just does’nt have the timber frames sorrounding it. This garden system would be just as suitable for growing purposes and will ably assist in our gardening chores.

As for maintenance, there is considerable work involved here in keeping the garden in shape. Some gardeners put down straw between the rows and this keeps the weeds at bay, so that will eliminate some of this work.

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Raised beds in style

 

Raised bed gardening;

 

I prefer this system of gardening and that is probably evident at this stage, as this website is pretty much all about raised beds, how to construct these and how to maintain these bed frames from sowing, right through to harvest. The beauty of raised beds is the organisation, size and shape, the location and other such benefits that the rows or drills don’t bring to the equation. The soil is ready for planting much earlier than the ground, row or mound system, due to the fact that the soil is in a raised construction and as the weather becomes warmer, so too does the soil and that factor allows for much earlier planting and sowing.

The maintenance of raised beds is so little in comparison to the other system and that extra time and labour saving allows us to concentrate on the more important issues associated with gardening in general. We have written earlier, a post on raised bed advantages and this can be read here.  With the raised bed method we can plant seedlings much closer together, resulting in a greater yield and an overall better produce to boot. As we can see from the images of raised beds, there is much more structure to our gardening, its much more organised and we can plan ahead in stages by adding extra beds to our gardens.

 

Raised beds in order

 

 

Other advantages of raised beds;

 

The beauty of raised beds is that we can upsticks and move our raised beds from one area to another, if we are not happy with the original placement. If we dont have a suitable area for gardening, we can also locate these on a concrete yard, deck or  timber patio. We can decide on what size, shape, height or depth we want these to be and if needs be, which is a welcome argument, say depending on our budget. The most important benefit of the raised bed garden is the growing period, which is much longer and greater than the open row ground method. We can sow much earlier in the springtime and at the harvest end, that is also extended. The order and function of these raised beds is such that its so easy to walk around these rectangle boxes, they can be a focal point of our backgardens and if these are built to a high standard, we can wow our neighbours and friends and tease them a little by their grandeur, elegance and style.

Once again, I hope that this post enlightens and informs us on that ongoing argument as to which system of gardening is better. As ever, feel free to offer your opinions and have your say on any matter relating to the above, via the comments section down below.

Happy gardening to all,

Cheers           Phil Browne.

 

” Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes “

Walter de la Mare

6 thoughts on “Raised Beds vs Row Gardening

  1. You bring up some very good points about raised bed vs row gardening. I really like the fact that there is less work in the raised bed gardening and that you can plant earlier in the year, by using the raised beds and that you can have a higher yield. I have been wanting a garden but it’s too much work, but with your raised beds that you talk about it would be so much easier and would look good in are back yard. What kind of soil do you use in them for gardening, are is there a mix of soil that you use.

    1. Hi there Connie

      Many thanks for dropping by and reading this post, its greatly appreciated. I am glad that you like what you read in this article and also that you have found the information useful. As you will have read there is a lot of work in row gardening, with the preparation, especially. Whereas the raised beds are pretty much a garden in a box, they are less laborious and have considerably less maintenance, throughout the year.

      Once you have these constructed and assembled, filled with soil, they then become much more manageable.

      As for the soil, we can use the soil that we have in our backyards or backgardens, for sure. We can always enrich this if we think it’s of poor quality, by adding some organic fertiliser or good quality compost, which we can get at our local garden centres.

      Thanks again for stopping by,

      happy gardening

      Cheers     PB

  2. I had never really thought about doing a raised garden. But it does make sense, and I like the fact that there is a lot les work involved. I can see where you would have an extended growing period, as you would not have to worry about the ground temperature as much. Would there also be less bugs in the soil because it is raised?

    1. Hi there

      Many thanks for dropping by and reading this post on raised beds vs row gardening. I am glad that you have found the information useful and beneficial. Yes raised beds do make gardning much easier and there is a lot less work, that’s for sure.

      The issue with less bugs and garden pests wont dissappear unfortunately, with the use of raised beds. We still have to deal with these the same as if we were using the open ground or rows gardening method.

      Many thanks again for stoppiong by,

      Happy gardening

      Cheers        PB

  3. We built some raised bed gardens this year for my mother. She had always had row gardens for the past 50 years but now they are getting harder to manage. By raising the beds, she was able to more actively maintain her garden without as much strain on her back.

    1. Hi there paul,

      Many thanks for dropping by and reading this post, its greatly appreciated. I agree with your assesment in that, its a lot easier to do our gardening with raised beds, for sure.

      As you rightly pointed out, there is less maintenance with raised beds compared to the row gardening. I hope your mother likes that side of having this method of gardening and hopefully it will be less work and also less stressful.

      Thanks again for stopping by,

      Happy gardening,

      Cheers   Phil Browne.

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