Raised garden vs. Ground Garden - time involved

azbookwormFebruary 20, 2011

My better half and I are discussing pros / cons of raised garden vs ground gardens.

When you have a ground garden, all you would have to do is Till the garden and you can start over.

When you have a raised garden, there is more human labor involved in turning the soil via rake, hoe, shovel, etc.

For those who have both, just how much human effort is used when switching from one planing to another?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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I dunno.I did a ground garden and it was really not as easy as one might imagine, for reasons probably more particular to Phoenix and my own yard situation. First, I had to remove/rake an area of decorative rocks to make space for it in my backyard. Hopefully you don't have to bother with that,though.

I think the worst thing is, if you've got a bunch of caliche to remove, it can be labor intensive. However, once you remove it, it is a done deal. If you have any caliche, btw, I highly recommend watering it first, otherwise it's even harder to chop through.
The other thing is, the soil can be awfully thick and muddy, and is alkaline/salty, so depending on what you're trying to grow, you may need to amend it anyhow.

PS. Be very aware of drainage. The land beneath my garden area is just a little sloped, which actually works well for drainage. Even though we don't get that much rain, I believe you want to have an area for your garden that will get rain, but not be flooded. Also, be aware of the amount of sun, any barriers, shade, etc. All of these things will play a factor in how/what you can grow. Good luck!

PS. One more thing...weeds. I've been lucky so far, but I'm sure once the spring hits this will be a challenge!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:09PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

bookworm, I think the main question is: what kind of soil is in your ground? That will drive the question of should you dig and improve that soil or just build on top of it?

I have two raised beds and several sections of 'in-ground' gardens. We just put the raised beds together last fall and decided on raised over digging down again because I knew we could get Singh Farms compost to fill the beds and thought that would be easier than digging that dang rocky hardpan. Another advantage: I can [fairly easily] move the raised beds if I want to. Which I did shortly after putting them in. Hubby finallly built the deck for the hot tub and the beds were too close.....so I shoveled the dirt in both beds over a few feet, picked up the frame and Shazam! new location.

Bottom line: if you have a lot of rocks and caliche where you want to locate the garden, get a few planks of Doug fir or pine, screw in some L-brackets, trek over to 101 and Thomas for good compost and you're good to go.

Hope this helps and keep us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:18AM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

Both and I agree, the raised beds are more labor

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:06PM
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i used that half log style edging for my raised garden.. does the job and looks pretty neat

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I am forced to have raised beds to keep the ground squirrels out as I live in a remote area. I garden in an old leaky horse tank made of galvanized steel. The sides are high enough that the ground squirrels cant jump or climb up. DH has promised to build me a greenhouse of old stuff left here by the former owner, but who knows how long it will be before that is operational. A retired man just doesnt seem to have as much time as a working man did. Go figure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Conversations with whomever

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:44AM
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We have a decent sized raised bed and have been happy with it. I'd suggest spending the extra money and time and you should be glad yo did in the long run. Soil management and harvesting is much easier if you use the 4 foot wide rule. Look up square foot gardening and get Dave the Garden Guy's books and you'll see why.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 2:23PM
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I have both raised beds and in-ground. After the initial labor of building and filling the raised bed, it's no more and no less work than the in-ground beds.

I don't till any of them, I just dig new holes for seedlings, or make grooves for seeds.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:23AM
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Being from So. Cal we had great soil for gardens but not here. A gofer wouldn't even like this soil. Rock, clay, caliche you name it is there. We tried the first year and it was a disaster. We went with two raised beds. 3' high 4' wide and 8' (no bottom)long made from pressure treated lumber,(they say you can use it now)long deck screws on the ends and just to make sure it does'nt bow at the sides, used rebarb as stakes on the outside. The whole thing is great, no weeds, easy to water, seeds start easy it was worth it and I would do it again.
Total cost for the 2 about $30.00 thats with a small truck load of dirt and steer manurer.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:20PM
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