Raised beds have their uses. They save stretching and bending. Still, conventional gardening is cheaper, low maintenance and more versatile. If you have no physical limitations, conventional, straight in the ground gardening is an option with many benefits. All it takes is a shovel, a little compost and a willingness to get your hands dirty.
Conventional gardening saves money in several ways. Here’s just a couple examples.
No beds to build
Building garden beds takes time and money. Certainly, you can use re-purposed and/or cull lumber. Still, it’s not that easy to find it in exactly the size you need or want. Lumber can be quite pricey if you’re talking about the type that holds up well to the weather. Skipping the bed build and planting directly in the ground saves you money.
Buy less soil
Gardening requires nutrient dense soil. Raised beds have to be filled at least 10 or 12 inches above ground level. That dirt can cost you a fortune. With conventional gardening, you can simply amend existing soil with compost or planter’s mix. It will take some effort to “dig it in”. Still, the money you save will be well worth it.
Most conventional gardens are located in the same spot every year. This provides the following benefits:
After the first year, there is much less planning in a conventional garden. After all, the location is already set. You remember where everything was last year. You know how well it did. You know what needs to be moved and where it should be moved to. It’s a done deal, with less prep time than you have when using raised beds.
Raised beds have to be constructed. Ground must be dug under them. As mentioned before, there is a ton of soil to bring in. Filling a 4×8 garden bed takes at least a half yard of soil. That’s a lot of wheelbarrow loads. Then, there are the amendments. With conventional gardens, you can simply till in last year’s produce or compost and be done with it.
Works well for any vegetable
Not everything grows well in raised beds and containers. On the other hand, people have been growing all kinds of different vegetables in conventional gardens for centuries. If it’s a plant, you can pretty much put it in a conventional garden and it will thrive. Not so for those raised beds. Some things simply don’t do well there.
Raised beds don’t hold up as well in storms. For instance, if part of your conventional garden floods, you don’t suffer a huge loss. You just lose the plants. With raised beds, your whole bed and all the soil in it might be lost in a flood and have to be re-built.
More from Jaipi:
Gardening in Spring Weather Fluctuations
Save Money in the Garden with Simple Changes
Growing Garden Hideouts for Kids