This week someone asked me why we grow in ‘raised beds with grass in between.
There are a couple of reasons actually. First of all, I do it that way because my Dad does it that way. And I think he does it that way because he saw a picture of a garden laid out that way in the 70s and it stuck. I also have practical reasons for growing that way.
- Mounding the bed a little does help with drainage and the soil thaws a tad earlier than the surrounding earth.
- Digging up only the area I plan to grow in allows me to manage the soil in those rows specifically for what I plan to grow there that year. For example, if I plan to plant broccoli in one area, am going to add more crushed eggshells to that row in the previous fall to boost the calcium. If I need to mix some sand into the carrot row for 2017, I can generally plan how much sand I need since every row is the same size.
- I don’t step on the soil the veggies and herbs are growing on. Each row is 4 ft wide at the edge so I can reach the whole row from either side.
- I don’t lose topsoil. I keep the rows mulched year round and only the growing areas need to be dug into each spring.
- I am never stepping in mud and I never have to weed anything between rows. The grass around the beds is springy and easy to walk in barefoot all summer.
- I don’t have over crowing/shading issues. At most, the plants are planted in two rows in one bed so nothing is smashed together, shading each other out or growing on top of each other.
There are a lot of reasons in ‘raised beds’ surrounded by grass. Mostly because it seems like the easiest way to grow. Sure, I have to mow between the rows but it’s not too hard to do. At the end of the day, I like how it looks and I think it grows better plants.