The most common methods of gardening are direct rows in ground, pots/containers, and raised beds. Throughout our property I have done a little bit of it all and I continue to learn more every year. When it comes to gardening it can help to read, listen to podcasts, talk to neighbors in the same zone as you, or take classes. I have to say that the MOST of what I have learned though is through practice. By practice I mean “try it and see if it works”. I am still very much a beginner but I don’t mind because – I LOVE the learning process.
In this post I will talk about when and why I used different gardening methods. I live in the Santa Cruz mountains. My zone is 17 but I have so many micro climates on my property the zone is more like 17-ish.
In the ground:
When it comes to my perennial flowers and native plants once they are established I move them from the large container into the ground or if I buy them already somewhat established in a medium (1 gallon) -large (5 gallon) container then they go straight in the ground.
All of my smaller plants I keep in pots until they are big enough to go in the ground. I have found this is what works best for me with my soil.
I typically only purchase plants that are deer resistant and drought tolerant given where we live.
Once the plants are in the ground I find it’s best to water them (even drought tolerant plants) fairly consistently as needed during the non-rainy season for the first year. After that I only water them very rarely or on very hot days.
There are 3 main things I do in pots: Vines, small plants, and decorative.
I have an area with an arbor and another area with a pergola that instead of planting in the ground I chose to use large containers on either side. For one area I had no choice because there is no ground to plant. For another area it was more of an aesthetic choice.
I have a few flowering perinnials that I choose to keep in pots around our home for decoration and enjoyment.
The last and most common reason I use pots is for tiny plants. I do this often with tiny succulents. I continue to move them into slightly larger pots until they are ready for the ground.
In Raised Beds:
I preserve all the space in my raised beds for edibles (mostly vegetables with some herbs and strawberries). The only non-edibles I have is a few companion planting pollinators in the corners of some of the beds like Lupin (strawberries best friend) and Marigolds (repels harmful bugs).
I do this because it’s much easier for me to control the ratio of topsoil, compost, and amendment in raised beds. I also love the look and feel of raised beds.
What is your favorite gardening method and what types of plants do you use with it?