Backyard Gardens – Raised Bed or In Ground Garden?

As the nicer weather approaches, you may be thinking of starting a garden to grow produce this summer.  Gardens come in lots of different sizes and styles.  Some people prefer the traditional method of simply clearing space and planting directly into the ground.  Others prefer to use a raised bed garden to plant in.  Both are great options and which one you choose is based on personal preference.  Let’s discuss the differences to help you choose the one that will work best for you.

In Ground Gardens

First up are the traditional in ground gardens.  These are typically the least expensive to start since you can grow where you already have space and you don’t always need to purchase any additional start up materials.  To begin, you will need to remove any grass or other debris in the area you choose for your garden and be sure to thoroughly till/mix up the soil to allow you to start planting. Tilling can be done by hand or by renting a small hand tiller.   You may need to add some compost, peat moss or other enhancements if there is a lot of clay or hard soil. Check with the staff at your local garden centre for recommendations on the best combination to add in based on your soil. Once you have worked up the ground, you are ready to start planting!

Raised Bed Gardens

Raised bed gardens are more work and more expensive to start out.  They are essentially a large container garden. They are a box with no top or bottom that sits above the ground that you fill with soil and plants.  For those with back issues this might be a great option since they can be built as high or low to the ground as you prefer.  They can be built using either a pre-designed kit or by purchasing everything yourself.  When building the garden be sure to either remove grass under the bed or kill it by covering it with layers of newspapers before adding the soil.  Make sure to fill the bed with good soil and compost to get started.

Once your beds are ready, you will want to plan for and plant your garden. 

One of the easiest methods to plan your garden is to use the square foot gardening method of planting.  It provides a guide to know how many plants, depending on their size, will fit in your space to prevent overcrowding or under planting.  Additional information on how to square foot garden can be found here

Now get out and start your garden!


Dig Deeper! (Get it?)

How Does Your Garden Grow? – basics of home gardening for food

Container and Vertical Gardening – how to garden in a small space