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Raised Bed Gardening or In Ground?

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Raised Bed Gardening or In Ground?

Old 02-24-2014, 07:15 AM
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Default Raised Bed Gardening or In Ground?

I'm finding myself with more time during the week as the children are in there late teens and all that running is coming to an end.

We are eating more veggies.
Was thinking of doing a few raised beds or should I just do it in the ground?

What are the pro's & cons of each?

What size 4 x 8' ?
Old 02-24-2014, 07:48 AM
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If you have the space for in ground then do that otherwise go raised bed.
Old 02-24-2014, 08:25 AM
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We did boxed beds, worked well, but not cost effective. Unless you have the wood and soil. At the new house we brought in some soil and mixed it with the current soil/sand. Worked as well, less money, but more weeds I guess. Up north, I would just go in the ground. Set up a water system, that makes it much easier, too.
Old 02-24-2014, 08:29 AM
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Look up a book called Square Foot Gardening.
Old 02-24-2014, 08:34 AM
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The main reasons for raised beds are: poor soil, poor drainage, wet area, aesthetics, convenience, containment, that's what I can think of so far. I had hundreds of feet of raised garden beds that I eventually dismantled and left slightly "hilled". Personally, I wouldn't have raised beds unless there was an absolute need (just my experience).

4'X8' is small, but very workable. There's tons of info on the Internet regarding small gardens. BTW, it's time to get the bed ready.
Old 02-24-2014, 08:50 AM
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By the time you amend the soil, add mulch, etc you will effectively have a raised bed regardless of whether you build a retaining wall/border around it. I would not go any wider than the distance you can completely reach by accessing both sides. That wound up being about 3.5 ft for us by 16 ft.

In town and for no other reason than looks we used landscaping timbers but the new beds will be uncontained raised beds with narrow walking paths between them.
Old 02-24-2014, 08:54 AM
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I have raised beds. Currently have 6 5'x10' beds. I did raised because I am on hard clay with tons of tree roots. I tried to work the existing soil and it was worthless. That said, my set up is not cost effective. I have spent more on lumber, trucking in soil, and amending the leached top soil that I bought than if I had bought from the local farmers market. But, I love it. A few suggestions. Do not do as I did and go 5'x10', it makes it difficult to get to the stuff in the middle. Stick with 4'x8' and you should be able to reach every thing. I used, untreated 2x10 Southern yellow pine and it lasts about 3 years. I may try red cedar next time. I built very simple boxes with 2x4 corners to attach the 2x10. Next time I'll use 4x4 material, the 2x4 rotted in a year so the corners are all seperating. You should get any soil sampled from your local Agricultural Extension office. I wasted my first year with no sampling and the yield was terrible. I didn't realize the top soil I purchased was completely void of any nutrients. Also, I have saved some money by planting by seed vs. buying seedlings or plants. I have had some success with this but still can't do tomatoes and peppers from seed. Finally, make sure you are prepared to water a raised bed a lot more than in ground. They drain very quickly. No matter what it has been a ton of fun for me and my hope is that this year I will break even or even save some money since everything is in place. Good luck.
Old 02-24-2014, 12:00 PM
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We work 3 4x8 raised beds at out home. They are very cost effective and very productive, though our main crops are lettuce, Argula, kale, tomatoes and squash. Our year round lettuce production is amazing, we haven't purchased lettuce in over a year as well as other things, we pick off it every night. The key to raised beds is to line them with plastic- way more efficient for the moisture and the wood in the bed material lasts longer. Our soil is compact clay, so we can't plant there, but I really like the beds no matter what- you can control pests and the soil quality much better with raised beds. Our beds are over a year old, 1x6 construction cedar and 2ft tall, they still look new and should last about 5-10 years.
Old 02-24-2014, 12:21 PM
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On top of not having to bend over and soil issues don't raised beds allow you to start your beds earlier if you're in cold climates?
Old 02-24-2014, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
The main reasons for raised beds are: poor soil, poor drainage, wet area, aesthetics, convenience, containment, that's what I can think of so far. I had hundreds of feet of raised garden beds that I eventually dismantled and left slightly "hilled". Personally, I wouldn't have raised beds unless there was an absolute need (just my experience).

4'X8' is small, but very workable. There's tons of info on the Internet regarding small gardens. BTW, it's time to get the bed ready.
I would have to agree. Had them for a few years and went back to at grade. I do have crappy soil in that area but mixed in horeshit fish remains and compost over the years and it is now pretty decent.
Old 02-24-2014, 02:20 PM
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I made a raised 4X8 planting bed for my wife last year.......inground beds are not an option given our hilly yard and the lack of sunlight in the few flat areas. We were shocked how much that small plot produced during the growing season.
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