If you have recently purchased a polytunnel, or are considering buying one, you may be asking yourself whether you ought to grow in raised beds or directly in the ground. Both are very valid options but here are some good reasons why raised beds may be the way to go:
The number one reason to build above the soil surface in your polytunnel is to add fertility to improve existing soil. If the soil on site is not ideal, raised beds will likely be your only option. Even if your soil is fine, however, raised beds will also make it easier to add fertility and build resilience in your soil ecosystem.
Whether or not you suffer from any mobility issues, easier access to your growing areas and less bending or kneeling can make things a lot more enjoyable for gardeners. Working in a polytunnel day in and day out can take its toll but raised beds can make things go just that little bit more smoothly and lead to fewer aches and pains at the end of the day.
Raised beds can also make it easier when it comes to pest control in your polytunnel. Raising plants up out of the soil can help you to more easily create barriers against, for example, mice, or slugs and snails. It can also make it a little easier to stop pest problems and nip them in the bud before they get too severe.
It is obviously not the main consideration, but neatly edged raised beds can give your polytunnel a cleaner and tidier appearance and help you keep everything ship shape and Bristol fashion. Appearance is not everything, but keeping an orderly space can also help to prevent the spread of disease in your plants.
Raised beds with solid brick, or stone edges, for example, can help add thermal mass to your polytunnel, which can make a big difference to the temperature maintained at night. Just a small difference like this can aid tender plants and prevent frost from damaging your crops in the coldest months.
Raised beds in your polytunnel could cost more money than simply growing in the ground, but they do not have to cost the earth. By using things you have to hand already, you can create raised beds even on a very small budget.