In ground or above ground garden?

This wasn’t a tough question for me. Our soil is very clay and our land was overgrown with trees, shrubs and bushes. Plus, I had my mind made up at the start of my interest in gardening that I would have a raised garden bed because of how much easier it is on the body which was important to me because I have back problems. Pulling up roots and rotating the dirt wasn’t an option considering the time it would take to get the natural soil suitable for plants- and I know little about amending soil (I will learn that at some point). Keep in mind at this point the seeds were growing indoors and they had no home to grow in outdoors so we were on a time frame. So the raised garden bed was decided on and built out of fir 2x10s stacked 2 high. Ideally redwood would’ve been our top choice but its expensive. We’ll get a few years out of this wood.
The spot that the bed would be built was easy to decide on. Starting in August when we first looked at the property we paid attention to the sunrise and sunsets and which areas got the most sunlight. It was obvious that one location would give the ideal sun exposure. This was also the most easily accessible area and in plain view from our back windows.
Now the next problem- how to protect the valuables from the thieves in the night? Funds were low so building a decent fence to keep deer, bears, and rodents away wasn’t going to cut it for the first year. The alternative? A no longer used dog run. A 7′ high, 14′ long and 5′ wide chain link dog run with a door would shelter the veggies.
The bed was built but looked like a coffin, not a garden with no dirt. The original plan was to buy a soil amendment and mix it with equal parts of our own soil. This should’ve been easy seeing as we have 20 acres of land. BUT the land isn’t flat and no spots that were digable were easy to get to with a wheelbarrow. All in all we spent about $100 on soil..ugh.
Fast forward a few weeks-At this point, partway through the first growing season I’m pleased with our choice of the raised garden bed. Its easy to access and not 1 weed yet! The downside to this first season has been really narrowing down what actually gets a spot in the small garden. As a first timer not confident in my growing skills I would be much happier if I could throw in more than just a few of each plant in case something goes wrong. I don’t like putting all my eggs in 1 basket. I actually decided to keep some things in pots on the deck so I could have a few extra plants. I’m starting to debate whether we will build another next year or go for a traditional in the ground garden plot. The raised bed ate up a bit of money and I’m not sure I want to fork over more next year. We have enough time that if we start soon, we could get a decent plot going and hopefully fix up the soil to something livable.

About Rhi

Rhi enjoys spending time with her family and working on the homestead. During spring and summer she is often found tending to her garden, and mini-orchard.

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