Community Philosphy Blog and Library

HOMEGROWN Life: Raised Beds versus Rows

 

HOMEGROWN-LIFE-LT-GREEN-150x150There are many types of vegetable gardens out there, from the traditional rows – one plant wide row with walkways in between – to raised beds (and wide beds) – to more natural, loose organic gardens. I try to stay away from rows because they are much less space efficient than the other two types. With rows, you end up devoting a lot more land to walkways, which isn’t a good use of space if you’re trying to maximize your harvest. They do make harvesting easier and are better suited for using equipment, which is why some people still use them.

junior-in-garden

At our old house we used raised beds, which have many benefits. You can lay hardware cloth (metal mesh) and weedblock under them to keep out gophers, voles, and weeds. They are the perfect solution for problem soils, whether you’re dealing with heavy clay or lead contamination (use filter fabric underneath to keep soil from migrating into the bed.) They can be used on slopes as terraced beds, just make sure you have proper supports to hold the weight of the soil.

garden 6-26-07

Organic, loose garden beds are a personal preference for many people. Lines are not straight and the plants are not organized into rows. I do really enjoy the looks of these types of gardens because they are productive while also being very aesthetically pleasing. There is usually more mixing of plants since rows are being utilized, which can be very beneficial in regards to companion planting and confusing pests.

edging

We currently use wide beds. Raised beds are cost prohibitive at our scale and rows don’t produce enough. A 4′ wide bed can produce 4 times more produce than a row of the same square footage. Plants are closer together (no walkways in between) which means less weeding when the plants get larger and shade the soil.

Of course what you choose to go with is totally up to you because it really is personal preference. As much as I love the organic flowing look, I’m just too OCD to try it.

MORE GARDEN HELP FROM RACHEL:

Rachel-Dog-Island-Farm1Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!

PHOTOS: RACHEL

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One Response to “HOMEGROWN Life: Raised Beds versus Rows”

  1. I was wondering if you would be interested in a guest blogging opportunity with Gardening Know How? If so, please e-mail me for more details! Thanks, and hope to hear from you soon!

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