Container Gardening or Raised Bed Gardening?
I have written about the joys and glories of raised bed gardening, particularly Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening method. It comes with a lot of benefits, such as requiring less weeding and having easier- to-drain soil then beds existing on the ground, in the native soil.
But a couple weeks ago, I was looking up pest information in an old container gardening book, and some other information caught my eye. The information about plants in containers being less susceptible to slugs and snails. The information that you can better provide for the watering and fertilization needs of individuals plants when they grow in containers (especially tomatoes).
In addition, my back has gotten tired lately of bending down and twisting around to check my babies for aphids. The idea of having plants up at knee or even waist level appealed to me more and more. And after having several baby spinaches liberally chewed upon – despite the diatemacecous earth I have been diligent about spreading around my greens – not having to worry about slugs and snails has become even more appealing.
There was only one thing standing between me and my desire to transition to container-grown veggies and fruits: my husband, Jerry. After all, pots and potting soil cost money. Although I have a few pots, and can take some of the soil from my existing raised beds because they are filled with potting soil and finished compost, eventually I would have to spend a good chunk of change to fulfill my new container gardening vision.
Since during the past year or so I’ve made a few spending decisions that ended up not bearing any fruit, I wasn’t sure if I should even bring the subject up with Jerry. Besides, we’d already spent all that money buying landscaping bricks to use as the perimeters of the raised beds.
A few days ago, I discovered Smart Pots, and got even more turned on to container gardening. Later that day at the park, I confessed to Jerry that I’d been thinking about the change. One reason, I explained, is that I want to start a fall garden this year (thank God for warm climates!), and as I would still have plenty of plants in the raised beds providing food, I wouldn’t have much room to plant my fall plants there.
Jerry accepted that logic, so I went a step further.
“You know, I’d really rather grow spinach and lettuce in pots, because then I don’t have to worry about slugs.”
Then I started singing the praises of the Smart Pots, how they’re lightweight, made of natural material, allow for root aeration, etc. (I discovered the next day that Smart Pots are comparable in price to plastic pots, which was even better.) A few minutes into our conversation, Jerry said, “I’ve always liked the idea of using containers for growing vegetables.”
Turns out, if I had let him had a say back when I first asked him to build the raised beds, he would have pushed for containers. Mainly, he likes the fact that you can move them around. He even came up with a couple of ideas of how I could grow lettuce inside in the summertime.
Isn’t it great when your spouse agrees with you long before realize it? I prefer it to arguing and persuasion any day.
Eventually, around 85% of our crops will be grown in containers (I want to keep melons and pumpkins sprawling on the ground). Organic gardening is a must for anyone serious about eating nutritious food. Raised bed gardening will save you a lot of headaches. But in the final analysis, the ease of container gardening wins the day (for me, anyway 🙂