In Raised Bed vs Container Gardening, and the Winner is…Raised Container Gardening, Part One we discussed raised bed container garden borders and planting mix. As was mentioned in that blog, raised bed gardens require less time and labor than a traditional in-ground garden; but, they still require a fair amount of your efforts.
Now that it’s taken the better part of two weeks or more to construct a raised bed garden it’s time to prepare it for planting and decide on a fertilization program. Do all plants require the same amount or type of fertilizer? Generally yes, but not always. One of the many advantages that container gardening has over raised bed gardening is that each container could have its own growing medium mixture and fertilization program. Container gardening also requires less planting mix than raised bed gardens.
Raised container gardens usually require your presence and your labor several times a week. You’ll spend the bulk of your time weeding. While steps can be taken to minimize the weeds, they will always be a nuisance and if not controlled, a nightmare. Constant battles with weeds are what led me from in-ground gardening to designing a variety of labor free gardening systems.
With containers, weeding is rarely a problem. You start with a good sterile planting mix and other than an occasional sprig or two you’ll pretty much stay weed free.
Most raised bed gardens are a foot or less above the ground so they can be hard on your back. A container can be twice as tall saving you a little physical wear and tear. Most raised bed gardens are, to put it delicately, an eyesore. Containers, not so much, or can be put in an inconspicuous space. Soil born diseases can be a problem in any in-ground or raised bed garden. When a raised bed garden gets a soil born disease there is but two choices. You can remove every grain of diseased soil or abandon the garden altogether. If, and I’ve yet to see it, a container was to get a soil born disease, you need only to remove the soil from that single container, clean it, fill it back up with fresh planting mix, and replant.
And the winner….in this cage match, fight to the death, the battle between raised bed gardens and container gardens is clearly, in most cases, container gardening…..that is before a raised container garden sprints into the ring. A raised container garden combines the best features of raised bed, container, and square foot gardening into one easy to maintain, centrally located, garden. It can provide a durable aesthetically pleasing “container” for your containers and raise the working height of your garden. It can serve as a deterrent to rabbits and ground dwelling insects. If you add a watering system, it can become a compact self-contained garden ideal for anyone with space, time or labor limitations. By reducing or eliminating bending, weeding, tilling, and giving it 360 degrees of accessibility, it can be an ideal unit for seniors and people with disabilities. In our next blog, How to Build an Inexpensive Raised Container Garden, we’ll discuss building your own raised container garden. You can also view some on our website, usvictorygardens.com.