The 2020 chapter about the revival of the American victory garden was one most of us didn’t see coming. As we’ve all hunkered down to ride out the pandemic, the idea of homegrown food has gone from romantic to downright pragmatic. While the catalyst for the rise in home gardening is undoubtedly different now from the 1940s, questions from new gardeners remain consistent. 

What can I plant in my climate? Where can I find unique seeds? What type of irrigation is best? 

One thing that has changed is that you can find answers to most of these queries in a matter of seconds: a whole wealth of knowledge is available at your fingertips.

Raised bed gardens can provide in abundance like these beds teeming with organic veggies and pollinator plants.

As edible gardening experts, we’re no stranger to these questions. One of the most common queries we receive, and one of the most popular resources on our website, is where to plant your new garden. It’s a pretty literal question: where, as in, in the ground? Or in raised beds? 

California Farm and Garden (formerly Urban Plantations) has essentially made a whole business out of answering this question for the last 12 years. The importance of adequate design and planning before installation is key to the success of each garden.

We’re here to shed some light on this age-old inquiry: should you plant your new vegetable and herb garden directly in the ground or in raised beds? Both options have their pros and cons of course, and the answer will vary based on your personal vision and goals for the garden, the available space, your budget, your health, and more. 

Without further ado, the CA Farm and Garden guide for Southern California’s new home gardeners. 

Pros of Raised Beds

Let’s start at the very beginning, what exactly is a raised bed? Simply put, a raised bed is any type of prefabricated container that can hold soil. These are often made using wood, concrete, metal, or stonework. The variety of mediums available give gardeners a customizable and unique way to display their proud work and offers flexible options to compliment your garden’s aesthetic. As opposed to a flat layer of plants in the ground, raised beds can be installed with different heights, sizes, colors, and shapes for a multidimensional experience.

More importantly, raised beds give gardeners an excellent chance to reap immediate and long-lasting edible success. Fill raised beds with new, organic soil teeming with beneficial microbial life, and mix in a custom blend of amendments to establish your plants in a healthy environment from the get-go. You won’t be wasting time wondering if the soil is too sandy, too overworked, or too rootbound, and you won’t have to put together a multi-year plan to regenerate the soil. Raised beds give you full control over the soil environment your veggies and herbs will be living in.

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