Before I begin, let me say that I am a big fan of perennial and raised garden beds. They don’t have to be excessive to be an incredible way to garden, but sometimes that’s exactly what we come across. People start extolling the benefits of raised beds and end up over-ventilating, perhaps even unconsciously over-ventilating.
In fact, raised beds have only a few specific advantages, even when compared to tillage systems.
Less floor maintenance – this applies to every fixed bed : A small area is as intensively cultivated as an entire piece of land, while we are actually cultivating our own land. And even if we have to comb our beds with rakes and cultivators, regular plowing only scrapes the top 2 to 4 inches (shallow plowing).
A healthier soil structure and composition is a major benefit, although other no-till cropping systems also benefit from the advantages of an active and living soil. With raised beds and container gardens, however, there is always a risk of soil compaction, depending on how the soil is filled in, planted and covered with mulch.
Throw most of the other claims about raised beds out the window.
Some of these claimed benefits of raised garden paving are based on certain types of restricted ground and some ground fills. Some of these are actually management practices where there is no difference in contribution between raised beds, other permanent beds or growing systems.
Claim – Raised garden beds limit bending.
Yeah, but what difference does it make? Beds that are only 10 to 15 cm high don’t offer much in the way of savings.
Statement – Better for children/parents and limitation of pests.
It depends on the height. It only takes 8 to 12 inches to discourage some animals. Baby footballs, rodents and rodent burrows and Labrador tails are still a threat, however, even at an elevation of 16 to 24 inches, slugs don’t care how high you go, and if not in a row, mole/slug invasions are always a problem.
Application – Only the beds should be refreshed/fertilized, not the entire plant.
Fertilization is based solely on what we use to fertilize – finished compost spread over or on the entire planting bed/soil, permanent or seasonal/annual compost trenches or tubes, or granules and liquids (or coffee grounds) that are usually applied directly to or around the plants instead of watering them.
Conversion is only an advantage compared to arable plots, where the whole garden area is cultivated, compared to permanent raised beds or compared to farmers who only cultivate strips with paths in between.
Point – Less water is used for irrigation because you are not watering the entire yard, but only the flower beds/plants.
No. I can walk around with a garden hose, filling reservoirs or placing gutters exactly where plants should be in rows and flowerbeds, and I see as many people spraying off on raised bed paths as I see in nursery gardens.
Item – Raised beds use less water because it doesn’t run off.
Full cover, mulch, drip mats and compost can reduce irrigation and runoff problems that occur in gardens with row crops. In fact, raised beds and containers require more water if the soil roots cannot penetrate them, especially if they are densely planted and not provided with mulch and/or irrigation.
Raised beds and containers can be very efficient in the use of water if you use a specific design, such as planters and irrigated beds and carbon-rich layers as seen in castles on hilltops and in Africa. However, unlike a similar floor surface, beds and containers dry faster.
This does not necessarily mean greater water consumption (although water conservation is equally related to other practices such as planting garden beds compared to cultivated land). Most raised beds are just not deep enough for dense planting. The soil does not hold everything at once, so you have to water more often.
Affirmation – There is less weeding.
It depends entirely on the source of the soil and the construction. If there is no weed barrier at the bottom of the bed, weeds will easily grow through 6 to 12 inches of soil. Once the weeds are there – blown in, under or in the ground – it takes a lot of work to remove them.
(Plant density and mulching methods have a much greater impact on weeds and weed control).
Straight – Easier placement of trellis/track cover.
Only if your loft is built with the necessary infrastructure. Otherwise, a raised bed, a fixed bed on the ground floor or a refurbished floor, I do the same job.
*There are tricks/techniques that can speed up and facilitate the cultivation of soil and cultivated land.
Statement – This extends the season. & “There’s better drainage.”
Combo, because the answer is the same: This is the case, although there are growth factors here as well. Elevated soil layers warm up faster and dry out faster (which may indeed be a draw or a loss rather than a win). However, I can push the tow bar or pull the ATV rack, which allows me to stack on the bed to warm it up and also to empty it earlier. Wool and plastic blankets generally have an equal or greater effect on season extension.
A real scam: Raised beds and containers are more likely to allow nutrients to run off during heavy rains because of greater drainage…. Unless you have sandy soil. In this case, raised beds are the best solution for retention and drainage.
Shh… If you’re dealing with a lot of sand or high room temperature, try a flat plastic sheet and/or use an African keyhole, lasagna garden or layer of mound culture fillers like tree trunks, cardboard and leaves. They will all retain and slow down the water to give the plants a better chance, but leave out the excess.
Point – Raised beds grow more per square foot.
No. Big Ag in the garden we can plow and plant the same area of 30-36 or 40-48 beds, fertilize this area equally strongly, and use the same standing plant that produces more plants per square foot.
Item – Companion planting is possible with raised beds.
It’s the same thing: This is also easily possible in soil layers and tillage systems. I can even do everything mechanically… in one go on any bed, even with the right equipment. It takes only 2 to 15 minutes to fill each hopper with different seeds and adjust the seeding plates or drip plates to seed at individual densities and depths.
By planning, I can even plant around/on companions mid-season and keep them in place throughout my crop rotation, from beets and kale to tomatoes and squash to kale and spinach.
Myths of the elevated bed cheat
There are also some drawbacks that pass for the all-time gospel about raised beds, compared to turning a garden into garden soil. This usually means that raised beds are expensive/predictable to create and expensive to fill compared to arable gardens.
Maybe. Not necessary. We can build a raised bed, infinitely high, that we pull out of the surrounding soil. (It will get high if we add mulch and compost and mow or burn cover crops).
Wrapping the leaves of the neighborhood will produce leaf mold (compost) that we can use either as the main planting medium (mulch and annual cover crops and add leaf mold) or for the top of our flower beds as a rich mulch that performs some great functions.
Building and filling… Poof, it’s done.
Installation costs : Like a plow bed – rake (hard gravel/hay/garden), gloves and bags.
Installation time : Like a bed that stinks.
Cavitt: You should wait for leaf mold if it is your planting base or main addition. This can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months, depending on the temperature and the number of germs and small critters that were initially present.
Of course, the beds run down the sides without a slope, so we have to be careful when planting or weeding at the edges, and they have to be formed regularly, even several times a season if we grow with a lot of rotation or if we have a lot of rain.
*When we look good or need an edge, we can use free materials, such as pallets or even branches and rough tree trunks for beds with edges. Time is passing. No charge is necessary.
I’m actually a fan of raised beds.
I even believe in raised and permanent beds for medium to large vegetables and the production of some high-calorie crops. But I also believe in honest evaluations.
Besides, when we blow things up, they come out easily. After their arrival, people are unlikely to believe anyone on this topic or from this source. It is human nature, and healthy skepticism is warranted at this point.
This is particularly tragic in this case because the results of healthy, living soil and a reduction in time/labor to manage only the soil we have to work are enormous.
This is all the more true if we are interested in self-sufficiency.
This article was not prompted by the fact that attics do not have to be excessive to be valid and viable. All the ways we can achieve the same benefits, in any mode of production, at any scale.
Container gardens on balconies to cultivate arable land, protect soil from compaction, provide microbial habitats, reduce irrigation and drainage, control pests and nutrient deficiencies, increase disease resistance, and save time and labor.
These techniques, especially when combined, help us to make the best use of space and resources, whether we use them on long, thin boxes or mounds in the highlands, or whether we set up whole squares with a farmer or a plough. The end of days or daily life is also huge.
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