Row gardening is what we think of when we imagine large farms; acres of land with endless rows of soil mounds. It’s an optimum strategy for large spaces and machines used to cultivate, plant, and harvest, but it’s not great for the average backyard. Backyard gardens come in many shapes and sizes — in-ground, small rows, hanging, wall, and raised. Each has advantages and disadvantages:
• In-ground gardens can be any size, but require a lot of work vis-à-vis clearing a space, loosening soil, and designing a layout.
• Rows look clean and neat, but row gardening uses your limited yard space inefficiently by necessitating walking rows. (more on this)
• Hanging and wall gardens have aesthetic appeal and save space, but are hindered by soil depth and load-bearing ability.
• Raised bed gardens however, solve each of these ‘woes’. They can meet your preference in size and height, are designed to maximize plant spacing efficiency, and have aesthetic appeal.
Some raised garden bed kits can be assembled in minutes without tools. For design appeal, varied plant root depth needs, and back relief — tiered garden beds offer an aesthetic and practical approach. Some raised garden kits also have a watering system. The point is, raised gardens appeal to the best of any home gardening interest for amateurs and experts alike.
Raised garden beds are beautiful to look at. They separate your fruit and vegetable plants from everything else, creating clean lines of wood and clusters of plants pleasing to the eye. Because they are versatile, multiple beds can be set up in an area to create patterns and further diversify the sharp lines, cleanliness, and aesthetic element. One of the most important aspects, however, involves their organizational benefits.
Square foot gardening plant spacing, the process of planting by area as opposed to rows, goes hand-in-hand with a raised garden bed. Outfitting your raised garden with a grid, divided out into roughly square foot sized squares, gives a raised bed gardener the guide for spacing plants efficiently. Within each square foot, gardeners plant according to the plant’s spacing needs which are highlighted in square foot planting guide.
Raised garden beds lend themselves to easy organization, and space maximization. As previously mentioned, row gardening can be efficient for large scale areas, but not on a small scale. Square foot gardening in a raised garden bed can support more vegetables because of the spacing style — they’re all designed with a dimension of 4ft or less so the middle of the garden is always reachable. Using garden grids in raised beds allows gardeners to plant vegetables with different spacing requirements, successfully growing an abundant and diverse garden. Not to mention the benefits of being raised. Raised beds promote root growth through soil especially since they are filled with non-compacted soil and soil mixes.
When gardening in-ground, pressure from the surrounding earth, rain, and time will harden the soil. With compacted soil, it’s a carefully struck balance between too much and too little drainage. Raised garden beds are filled with ‘new’, nutrient rich, aerated soil. The fresh soil and open bottom of a raised bed provides quality moisture retention with an easy outlet for excess water.
Loose soil is important for root vitality. It can’t be too compact, lest the roots can’t continue their journey and become stubs. Gardeners that use in-ground gardens have to dig up the soil to ensure it stays loose. With raised garden beds, soil is poured in and will naturally retain a loose stature.
Raised bed gardening, when compared to other options is ideal for the backyard or urban gardener. With the variations in height, size, proclivity for high yield in condensed space, and aesthetic value raised bed gardening should be on your mind for gardening success!