Ground versus Container
While hydroponics sounds like a nice idea, some people are more used to the traditional forms of gardening. They like to get their hands dirty and watch the progress of the plants that they grow. I can definitely relate to the satisfaction of that process!
However, when planting in soil, you often come up with the question: should I plant in the ground, or should I use containers like raised beds or pots?
So before we get into the details, let us try to understand one essential difference. After all, it cannot be just about having a ground to work on versus working inside a small container. When you are planting in the ground, you are making use of the topsoil. This is essentially dirt.
When you make use of a container, you are not using dirt. In fact, the soil used in containers is technically artificial soil.
The distinction can differ based on the container and the materials you use, but essentially, this is a distinction that you need to be aware of.
So which one is better?
If you have a large plot that is exposed to the sun, has a rich soil, and a proper drainage system for the soil, then you should choose the ground to plant. This is because you not only spend less on getting raised beds and adding soil and other materials into them, you also already have all the groundwork done for you. One thing to note here is that if you have soil like clay or sand that does not provide many nutrients, then you are better off trying to use a container. You can, of course, make sure that the clay and sandy soil is ready for planting, but that takes some extra steps. If you are not planning to invest the time in soil preparation (and maintaining that soil), then you might as well choose to plant inside a container.
When you are working on a raised bed, do note that you still have a considerable amount of work to perform in the beginning. However, once you have gotten the basic preparations ready, then your work for each season is less. What you are trying to do with a raised bed is create an artificial environment to make sure that your plants grow properly. The best thing about raised beds is that you can choose the height of the beds based on the plants that you want to grow. This makes it easier for you to remove weeds. If you have a short raised bed, you might extract weeds without much trouble. This might not be possible when working with ground. You might have to exert a lot of effort to remove weeds from the ground.
Finally, you can grow your plants in pots. There are a surprising number of people who prefer these small containers for their planting purposes. One of the main reasons is that pots occupy little space. This way, you can use them to grow your favorite plants and use them as decoration. If you are decorating, I would not suggest bringing them inside the home. With the dangers of pests and fungi, you might have a little health hazard within your home. Pots allow you to grow the exact number of plants that you want to (owing to their small size). Additionally, pots are easier to move around. So if you need more sunlight, you can easily transfer the pot to another location. Moreover, you can maintain pots easier than the ground or raised beds. The major drawback about pots is that the plants can dry out faster. This means that you need to make constant checks into the water level of the pot. Furthermore, once the soil has been used for a plant, you may not be able to use it again. Pot soils tend to lose their nutrients after they have grown a particular crop. But this might not be a hassle for those who are not planning to spend considerable time on gardening but would still like to enjoy the process. I also recommend pot planting to newcomers. This will help them get a feel for the process. Plus, it is much less expensive than the other two methods.