Containers vs Raised Beds, What are the Pros and Cons?

March 16, 2018 5 Comments

Containers vs Raised Beds, What are the Pros and Cons?

I get this question a lot. Why would someone want to choose one growing container over another and how does it affect work flows and plant growth? Here's a quick comparison of the two options in an easy to read format.

Containers:

Pros: 

Easy to move around

Easy to transplant out of into another container

Better for isolating or culling a plant

Typically uses less soil per plant

Easier to deal with pests and disease problems (soil can be removed)

Easier to sanitize room for indoor environments

Cons:

Less space for root growth, which can be a limiting factor

Potential for root girdling or getting "root bound" in non-air pruning pots

Typically requires more watering and nutrient management

Labor requirement is drastically higher due to the need to bring soil in and out of facility and transplant consistently to larger size containers throughout plant cycle

Harder to water evenly and manage properly

Raised Beds:

Pros:

Root space is not a limiting factor

Soil can be re-amended right in the bed for the next cycle

When re-using soil, it can be amended at lower rates than containers, allowing for quicker turn-around on cycle

You can run more of a "no till" style grow, allowing for better soil structure and soil ecology over time

Much less costly since you are re-using soil every cycle (some of our growers have gone over 4 years in the same soil)

Less environmental impact due to less runoff and no disposal of potting soil back into the environment

Easier to trellis and scrog the plants for an even canopy

Easier to setup irrigation and water; also less watering needed

Cons:

Harder to sanitize rooms since raised beds are usually permanent (some designs have them on rollers or pallets)

Higher initial cost due to needing more soil

Risk of certain pests can be tougher to manage organically (root knot nematode, root aphids, etc...), but not impossible

 

Personally I think raised beds offer the best solution in most instances, though I realize this is a tough transition for container growers. We are currently working with growers who have been re-using soil indoors in beds for over 5 years with minimal inputs. If this is something you are looking to trial in your indoor garden or facility, don't hesitate to reach out to me directly at tad@kisorganics.com and I'm happy to help!

 

 





5 Responses

Tad Hussey
Tad Hussey

September 10, 2018

Dan,

Feel free to shoot me an email and I’m happy to answer any questions. Thanks!

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

September 09, 2018

Tad, I would also be interested in knowing about your beds. I am a newly licensed mmj grower in Ok and am researching for myself and 2 other growers.

Ryan
Ryan

April 09, 2018

I have had my KIS dirt for over 2 years now. Currently my spot has raised beds on rollers and some pots. I put a 2 foot plant in a 7 gallon container and before the end of an 8 week cycle, usually around week 6, I see a lot of leaf yellowing. The plants in the beds however, stay a vibrant green from start to finish. Yield is also affected as a result. The containers get a compost tea with added nutes about every week and a half and for the raised beds only every 3 weeks of tea with no added nutes. In my experience the beds beat out the pots by far. Perhaps a 10 gallon is needed in order to maximize the benefits of working with this soil. May be issues due to run off in the pots as I don’t currently use saucers.

Tad Hussey
Tad Hussey

April 09, 2018

Adam,
Sent you an email to contact directly. The beds in the photo are custom fabric pots sitting on blue plastic pallets. Prices are on our website but give me a ring and we can chat further about your project.

Adam I Marteeny
Adam I Marteeny

April 08, 2018

What are the raised beds in your picture made of … Geo beds? On blue shipping pallets of some sort Etc. If u could explain that whole set up would be great I’m in the process of converting our Rec. Facility in portland to semi till beds and gathering input. Want to do it as cost effective as possible… I want to know prices on your water only bio char mix that we can fill outle beds with as Well… Thanks have a great day!

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