Choosing Your Planter Type
It seems like the answer to so many of life’s questions is: “It depends.” Unfortunately, the quandary of raised beds vs. pots is no different. There are so many different methods of growing plants, and it really depends on your space and your growing method.
We’ve gathered the points we think are most compelling in favor of each choice. Hopefully this will help you make your decision on what’s best for your grow.
Reasons to Choose Raised Beds
Maximize Your Space
Get more plants per square footage with raised beds. This is the most popular reason people have switched to raised beds for their greenhouses and indoor grows.
Maintain Better Soil Microbiology
Many methods of growing, including “living soil” or “no-till” growing methods, are based on having increased organic soil microbiology. Raised beds provide an optimum scenario for this because your soil takes longer to dry out. Supporting a thriving microbiology is very hard in small pots – anything less than 45 gallons of soil will dry out rapidly. If your root zone completely dries out, you have potentially killed some valuable microbes, taking a step backwards.
The bigger your soil mass, the longer the moisture retention. You will have to water smaller pots more often than you would a raised bed.
Get Bigger Plants and Higher Yields
In a raised bed, there is more room for the roots to expand! Each plant’s root system can interweave with the others for overall larger root growth. And bigger roots mean bigger plants.
Potentially Save on Materials and Labor Cost
Smaller pots can require transplanting, which takes time and more pots. Also, each individual root system in a fabric pot might require its own unique care and maintenance. The plants in a raised bed share a root system and soil mass and can help take care of themselves like a community.
Reasons to Choose Fabric Pots
Save Money on Soil
A big downside to raised beds is how much soil you have to buy to fill them. Keep your soil costs down by using fabric pots.
Protect From Mold or Disease
If you’re growing in fabric pots, and (God forbid) one of your plants becomes diseased, you can remove it easily and your other plants are not threatened.
Dump Your Soil and Wash Pots
Fertigation and other methods of feeding require you to dump your soil at the end of the cycle and start fresh. Fabric pots can be dumped easily and washed in the washing machine.
Be More Flexible With Your Layout and Space
If you’re not dead set on the layout you’d like for your grow, or you think there might be a possible move or lease change in your future, pots are a much safer way to go.
Have Better Access to the Plant
You can work 360° around each of your plants if they are in pots. In a raised bed, you often only have access to two sides of each plant.
Test New Soils or Plant Strains
If you are going to try something new, try it in a couple fabric pots to make sure it works out.
If Your Plants Don’t Like to Share
Prolific plants might be better grown in fabric pots – especially if your intention is to grow several types of plants together in one raised bed.
If you’d like to talk about any of this more, feel free to contact us! We have a couple people on the team that nerd out on this stuff and would love to talk with you.