Raised Bed Gardening – Not Always A Good Thing

A gadzillion (gadzillion is a word..right?) words and post have been published about the benefits of raised bed gardening and square foot gardens.

In truth raised beds are best suited to cooler and wetter climates than weather conditions found in Americas West and Southwest.

Pros of Raised Bed Gardening:
More control over the location of the garden
Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants
More efficient draining
Can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping
Easier to keep out weeds
The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season
Better ability to keep out ground dwelling pests

Cons of Raised-Bed Gardening:
Can be more expensive to get started
Require careful planning to make sure there is enough room for plants that need to spread out, and to ensure that you can reach the middle to tend the plants
* Because raised beds drain so efficiently, they will also need to be watered more often and my require an irrigation system

In the west and southwest water is a valuable, often scarce commodity. Areas with little natural rain fall, daily temperatures at or above 95 degrees and humidity levels often dropping to 10% or 20%, tap water is an expensive way to water your garden.
Raised beds will often require watering 2 or even 3 times a day to prevent dry stressing plants.

Amending garden soil by digging in or tilling in large amounts of compost and planting directly in the amended soil very well may be a better choice over raised beds. You will over time develop a quality garden soil that holds moisture. Couple this with extensive use of mulch water needs will be greatly reduced and over heated soil temperatures can be moderated.
* This years mulch will be tilled into the soil as an amendment for next years garden.

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7 responses to “Raised Bed Gardening – Not Always A Good Thing

  1. Raised beds in hoop houses allow us to grow cold season crops in Michigan 9 months out of the year! We love them for this purpose! 🌱👩‍🌾

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s colder here and wetter here … and I’m planning a raised bed with disabled gardeners ! A river runs alongside so water is not a problem with an extraction permit. Let’s see what can go wrong!


  3. Your pros and cons are good. I’m happy that we built raised beds. We live on rock in Arkansas. I’m getting long in the tooth. We built an irrigation system using well water. I’m glad you’re making people think before they go to the effort of building raised beds. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for visiting my little blog.
      Your right, with shallow soils raised beds may be not only a good choice but your only viable choice.
      Happy Gardening


  4. Good points, Nasdaq do not use them for perennial bulbs if you live in my area way up north. The never survive freezing because they are above the frost line.

    Liked by 1 person

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