Raised rows vs flat rows are one of the most common discussions among gardeners. Each method has its own advantages as well as disadvantages, as raised row gardening is very popular and can be an interesting project to take on.
When you make raised rows in a garden, you’ll have to make sure they are well-built raised beds.
In this article, we will explore the differences between the two gardening techniques so you can make informed choices as to which one suits you best.
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|Features||Flat Rows||Raised Rows|
|Soil||No need for additional soil||Soil warms up faster|
|Cost||Cost-effective||Can be a little costly|
|Water||Not water effective||Efficient water system|
|Work||Less work needed||Requires additional work|
What the Difference Between Raised Rows and Flat Rows
A raised row is exactly what it sounds like – a row of plant materials raised from the garden soil level. The raised row is higher than the ground surrounding it. A flat row is also how it sounds like—a row of plants that is flat on the ground.
What are Flat Rows Best For?
Flat rows can be used for any type of gardening layout. The flat rows method involves less effort, lower cost, and is generally easy to start and finish as a project. This technique can be used for ornamental plants, vegetables, and crops.
Flat rows are typically made by new gardeners who have yet to fully master the art. This is because this method is faster to accomplish, with an instant visual appeal. This is even more obvious when flowering plants and ornamental bushes are placed in single flat rows.
What are Raised Rows Best For?
Raised row gardening provides better drainage, utilizes a better watering system, and lessens the chances of weed infestation and soil contamination. This method is better suited for gardeners who prefer to raise and harvest crops. Advanced techniques such as row planting can be done in single rows or through wide rows in conjunction with raised rows.
Raised rows are often made by more skilled gardeners. Since the technique requires more effort, gardeners often rely on experience to plan and implement the raised row design for the garden.
Raised rows make excellent garden structures for crops, especially big plants such as corn, cucumbers, squash, and carrots. These types of plants have long vines and extensive roots that need adequate space to grow freely.
– What are the Advantages of Flat Rows?
Flat rows actually have many benefits since they are a more convenient way to grow plants. We have compiled a list of the various ways flat rows can work for your garden:
- As flat rows require rot-tillers or a tractor machine at most, this method requires less equipment and less effort.
- When you are using the flat row method, all the soil you need is already there. Even if you do not add any type of soil amendments, the natural soil in your garden area will still be adequate.
- You can simply replace the previous crop with a new crop when you use flat rows. Even when the weather is bad, you will just as easily rebuild any damages.
- Your only expense for this one is probably the crop you are going to plant. Although, you may want to put aside a certain amount in case you want to add some soil amendments to improve the quality of the soil.
- Installing an irrigation system is far easier with flat rows. Simple irrigation systems can fit right in with your flat rows since you can just lay them right on the ground.
– What are the Advantages of Raised Rows
Raised rows make a wonderful choice for gardeners who are interested in experimenting with other methods of row planting. Here, we have made a list to highlight the benefits of using raised rows for growing crops and plants:
- Raised rows often have soils that end up getting warmer than the soil on flat rows. This is due to the lesser amount of contact that the soil of the raised row has with the deep cold of the flat ground.
- Raised rows have many advantages over flat rows, especially when the land is located in an area with high rainfall throughout the year. The physical construction of raised rows allow better drainage that promotes improved plant health.
- When you water plants and crops on raised rows, the water tends to travel downward toward the ground and away from the elevated rows. This encourages the plants to absorb and retain more moisture in the mulch, causing healthier and deeper root systems.
- The space between raised rows allows you to move around the area without fear of trampling your plants or crops. By giving you the freedom to move, you can easily notice any weeds that may impede crop growth and quickly remove them without disturbing your plants or crops.
- Bacteria and fungi create some of the most devastating damages to plants and crops. Raised rows lessen the chances of bacteria and fungi infestation by allowing more airflow into the area.
- Raised rows are the most ideal for growing root crops, such as beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips. The loose soil in the raised rows encourages easier and quicker growth of root crops.
– What are the Types of Row Planting
There are many types of row planting techniques that can work for flat and raised rows. Two of the simplest types are the single rows and the wide rows. We will explain them further so that you can select which one is suitable for you when you make garden rows by hand:
– Single rows – A single row is an easy and convenient way of planting your crops. The whole process mainly consists of placing seeds in a single row in a parallel line. This method is ideal for vines that grow vertically, such as peas mounted on trellises. The single row approach can work for corn crops and tomato plants.
The single row structure makes pollination easier while the spreading habit of the tomatoes ensures better support during the fruiting and harvesting seasons.
– Wide Rows – Wide rows work best when your area is not that large and you prefer to make the best use of it. Wide row planting involves placing your vegetables and crops in blocks and strips up to five feet wide.
Wide row planting is ideal for vegetables and crops that can be harvested over a longer period of time, such as green beans, and leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, and kale. Wide row planting is not very suitable for corn because the planting-to-harvest period is relatively short.
Another advantage of wide row planting is that your plants tend to grow more densely together, reducing the chances of weed infestation. The dense growth also provides shade, reducing water evaporation from the ground and keeping the soil moist and cool. For gardeners and farmers who are located in warmer regions, wide row planting is a great choice to increase yield.
– What are the Walk-Through Rows
Now that you have a better understanding of the kinds of planting rows you may need, you will have to consider what to do with the area in between your planting rows. These walk-through rows will be empty spots, so it is completely essential to use them to our advantage.
The most logical choice is to use these walk-through rows as mulching areas. Start by placing thick layers of straw, dried leaves, and wood chips or barks. Wood barks are highly recommended by many gardeners because they last for years and work extremely well.
Using these as mulching material encourages better water absorption and retention for the soil, along with keeping weeds down to a minimum. The mulch will also help your vegetables and crops develop healthier root systems.
Another approach is to use landscape fabric, plastic, or newspapers for beds built on untilled grassy areas. You can place the straw, leaves, chips, or barks once you have placed your ground cover of choice.
It is important to mulch between garden rows to ensure that your vegetable plants and root crops remain as healthy as possible without any pest or weed infestations.
As we have covered in this raised rows vs flat rows article, the two methods have similarities yet have obvious and glaring differences.
You can immediately tell that the flat row method requires less work, costs less, and is easier to start and end as a gardening project.
The raised row method, however, encourages better soil drainage, utilizes a more enhanced watering system, and reduces the occurrence of weed presence and infestation.
Additionally, there are other ways to heighten both styles of rows. Single row planting is ideal for plants that can be planted and harvested in a short amount of time such as corn, tomato, and leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce.
Wide row planting is better suited for vegetables and crops that can be harvested over a longer period of time, such as beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas. You can even make walk-through rows if you wish to. Whichever way you wish to set up your garden, you now have a better idea of how to have a wonderful gardening journey!