When it comes to growing, nothing is black and white. No grow space is identical, and as individuals, we choose different growing styles and methods, so the container you pick often comes down to a combination of what works best for you and your plants.
Here are some of the points we use to help answer the big question. Will you grow in pots or beds?
Reasons to choose pots:
Use less soil saving you money – One of the main reasons people end up going for pots is the sheer amount of soil that’s needed to fill a bed.
Flexibility with the layout – Fabric pots are the way to go if you’re not sure how the layout/design of your grow room, after a cycle or two you can still freely move stuff around.
Temporary grow location – Now this can be for a number of reasons but we will save you the graft, moving 1000L of soil is hard work, so we recommend only setting up beds in a location that is permanent.
Water more often – Growing in fabric pots with less soil will need more frequent watering compared to growing in fabric beds.
Easy access around the plants – 360° access to your plants when in pots means it much easier to spot problems, carrying out general maintenance like stripping, watering and training is made much easier.
Test new products or plant cultivars – If you are going to be testing new plants or a new product, why not see if they work in a smaller testing space with a couple of fabric pots before using them in your main space.
Typically needs more nutritional supplementation – Growing in a smaller pot means your feeding approach is going to change to a less but more frequently top dressing, for larger rooms this means more maintenance.
Special nutritional requirements – Some plants can be prolific meaning they have special dietary requirements, such as a heavy calcium feeding cultivar. This can be problematic if your intention is to grow a variety of plants together in the same room.
Reasons to choose beds:
Maximise your space – Get more plants per square footage when growing in a bed. This is the main reason larger facilities in America have switched to raised beds for their greenhouses and indoor grows.
Maintain better soil microbiology – The reason people have taken to growing in the ‘No-Till’ method is because of the increased microbiology in which hydroponic systems are void. Using the raised beds means your soil drys out much slower which means the microbes have a much easier time becoming a thriving community, this method of growing relies on this heavily.
Water your plants less often – Once optimal moisture levels have been met, moisture retention for most living soils is high meaning it is much easier to keep on top of it with raised beds. With a thick mulch layer, a light mist with a pump sprayer is sometimes all that is needed. Do not mistake this for easy work, watering living soil is an artform.
Give plants more access to more nutrition – Raised beds generally mean a lot more soil per plant so your soil technically has more organic matter to access, break down and cycle into plant-available nutrition. What plays into this is the fact with the higher volume of soil, the optimal environment that microbes need is less likely to sway out of kilter. Making more of that organic matter available for your plants.
Help your plants communicate with each other – It’s possible for your plants to communicate when they share a soil system through something called the mycelium network. This may help your plants fight disease together as a unified force.
Typically needs less nutritional supplementation – In a raised bed you are going to find it much easier to keep on top of your plant’s nutritional needs, top dressing less frequently but at full application rate. Once every 2-3 weeks is more than enough.