I Don't Really Get Raised Row Gardening - Can Someone Explain?


Meadowlark

Gardner, Angler, Adjunct Professor, and Rancher
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1... so why does the soil below or beside the mound never seem to matter? Fact is, it does matter in my system. I utilize the entire plot. Sometimes I have double rows, sometimes single, sometimes fallow ground where cover crops are grown for soil building and insect control. It’s all used, 365/24/7


2. The most frequent method I see being used is cardboard at the bottom of the bed and/or wood chips in the walking rows. I never use cardboard or wood chips. Sometimes I will use straw around tomatoes but nothing else. When the garden needs weeding (which isn't often using cover crops) , I simply run the tractor w/cultivator…zip, zip very quick, very little work.

tractor cult.JPG


3. One of the most frequently-touted advantages to this system is the lack of work. You never have to dig. But won't the sides of the hill erode pretty quickly? Yes, they will in my climate but raised rows easily last through a growing season. It takes less than 5 minutes for me to build a 85 ft row…either single or double. That row lasts through the entire growing season or the selected crop.


4. …But doesn't that sort of defeat the financial benefits it has over raised bed gardening?

I say use it all. I say build it all continuously. I use extensive cover crops. Never use artificial fertilizers and only very rarely bring in compost. I don’t need to…the garden soil will rejuvenate itself with proper rotations and cover crops.

cover peas 2019.JPG


5. Not sure what the right answer is here.

For me, its all of the above. Grow soil building cover crops, shred them, till them into the soils…marvelous to watch Nature do the work.

6. Does it really extend the growing season at all?

No, not in my climate zone 8. I garden 365/24/7. My onions recently survived a bout of 8 deg weather…unheard of here in Texas but they along with many other veggies survive the big freeze here just fine. I don’t worry about extending the growing season…much ado about nothing here. Rather I carefully plant the right veggies for the right times.

All in all, I don't understand why you don't just apply all these methods (walking rows and growing rows, mulching the walking paths, mulching with organic matter on the growing rows, etc.) to a flat garden.

Raised rows are extremely beneficial here in East Texas. We get rains that are simply unbelievable and without raised rows many crops would be damaged or destroyed. It is so easy to do raised rows with a tractor and a few attachments. Rotations are critical. Cover crops, some in summer, some in winter are also critical...and super easy.

I strive for 90%...that is 90% or over of all veggies we consume come from my garden. Feeds us and several friends. Very little work. Very rewarding.
 
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alp

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For me, its all of the above. Grow soil building cover crops, shred them, till them into the soils…marvelous to watch Nature do the work.

This is what I want to do. Shame I don't have the heat or humidity to accelerate the process. I'm going to grow some cosmos sulphureus and cut, chop and drop when they die.
 
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