Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should I use raised garden beds?

Raised beds look so pretty.  I'm addicted to pictures of raised garden beds (as my Pinterest boards attest).  

But when it comes to my vegetable plot, are they helpful?  Should I use them?

The main reasons in favor of raised beds are:

  - Soil warms faster 
  - Better drainage 
  - Easier to focus soil amelioration
  - Help keep out weeds 
  - They look fantastic

And the downsides are:

  -  More work and cost to build
  -  Increased water usage
  -  Warmer soil may be a disadvantage in warmer climates 

Although we have heavy clay soil, which needs a lot of loving before it will be fertile, I've decided to skip the raised bed.  Drought is a major factor in Southern California, and water conservation should be easier with an in-ground plot.  

To find a happy middle ground, I'll be making a vegetable garden zone that is edged off from the rest of the yard.  This should help prevent the spread of crawling weeds and help focus the soil amendments where they're most needed.  

In-ground beds can be beautiful too! 

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