A good gardening technique that has worked well for us in the past is lowered beds. Our summers in North Texas are generally hot and dry so we need to get creative with our gardening techniques. With lowered beds, we have been able to save tremendously on watering and our plants have thrived. Last year I shared here about lowered beds and as we are getting ready for a new season, I was reflecting on the pros and cons of the lowered beds.
I always hear a lot about raised beds, but I had not really ever heard anything about lowered beds until my husband told me about them. The raised beds don’t work for us in our hot climate. The lowered beds are built below ground level and since the soil temperature is lower, it helps the crops grow better in hot weather. The rain collects in the lower places so it helps maximize the limited rainwater.
The lowered beds have worked for us except for last summer. We had so much rain that the ground just really could not take it. We tried to replant a couple of times, but not much survived in the garden. It was definitely a fluke of a summer for us and in that case, the lowered beds worked against us. However, I know many struggled with their gardens in North Texas last summer. Normally we just don’t have anywhere near that amount of rain. We were definitely caught off guard.
Besides lowered beds not being a fit for wet weather, the other issue with them is that they are labor intensive. It is necessary to remove the top four to six inches of soil because that is where all the mulch goes. The soil below that has to be amended with whatever organic matter is needed. This will be the new top soil. This method will help retain moisture and keep the ground cool. It is a bit of work, but it does pay off in a hot and dry season.
I shared a little more details about the lowered beds in a previous article and we share some other hot weather gardening tips as well. You can find the article here.