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Garden Design: Three Methods

Updated on June 19, 2012

3 gardens

Gardening is a joy. The time is spent outdoors in both sun and rain and while there are frustrating days there are many more rewarding ones. As the season passes and the plants grow, all manner of beings drop by to visit.

This will only happened, if you use organic methods and no not poison the ecosystem. You are part of the great dance that is constantly twirling in backyards, fields, forests and even abandoned urban lots.

I enjoy growing things, how I grow is what is important not what I grow.

Organic or natural is the how, the what varies but includes, flowers, herbs and vegetables. This year there are three garden plots under my care, and because I was able to work these three, I decided that each one would grow things by a different method; containers, raised bed and no till. Now to be fair, neon of the three involved digging or tilling.

The soil here is clay and requires some work and considerable amending so fro both the raised bed and container garden, I purchase an organic soil mix.

The no-till relied on compost and mulch, the compost was from the backyard composter, so I got to recycle some of last winter’s meals into producing this Fall’s side dishes.

The Container Garden:

This is a shared garden that is located in a neighbour’s backyard. We split the cost of all the materials, soil, plants and containers which we purchased from a local facility very cheaply.

The soil we bought from a locally owned plant nursery and it is a professional mix specifically designed for container gardens. In addition, three of the containers have a peat moss and compost mix.

Peat moss is not a readily renewable resource but coir (coconut fibre) was not available. This is an experiment; while I have used a similar combination for houseplants, this is a first for tomatoes.

I enjoy experimenting and learning through doing and with three plots on the go, the opportunity is there.

The No Till Site:

This garden is located in the backyard of the house were we currently live. It is behind the garage and receives some protection from the wind and gets more than adequate sun. I used cardboard, straw, compost and mulch to build this bed.

Herbs, sunflowers, beans and a variety of cutflowers are planted there.

Raised Bed

This garden is in the backyard of the house we are moving into. The bed is made from scrap lumber and I purchased the soil at 99 cents bag from Home Hardware. The backyard is gravel so it was necessary to buy soil.

There are squash, marigolds, phlox, cucumbers and tomatoes in it.


Of the three methods, the raised bed is overall design I would choose and will expand the set up when we move. I like container gardening and it is ideal for small space. I also like the no till method and building soil. Composting is a way to improve the health of the soil and although I do not want to dig, I do want to work directly with the earth, so in reality my next year’s garden will combine no-till and raised beds.


no-till Bob Ewing photo
no-till Bob Ewing photo
raised bed, Bob Ewing photo
raised bed, Bob Ewing photo
container garden, Bob Ewing photo
container garden, Bob Ewing photo


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, thanks for taking the time to comment, happy growing.

  • toomuchmint profile image

    toomuchmint 5 years ago

    Great hub! It's interesting to see the three types of garden side-by-side. I'm a big fan of the no-till garden type for herbs and micro-greens. I've run into problems with big vegetables like cucumbers and squash. Luckily, I love herbs so the no-till garden works great.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, I am not a fan of digging, too much work and destructive.

  • profile image

    Nolimits Nana 8 years ago

    Another good and informative gardening hub, Bob.

    Like you, gardening is my joy, and I'm trying various methods. Have my tomatoes and cukes in containers this year, with good succcess. Most of my gardens are raised beds, since our soil here is thin and rocky, and we've needed to bring in soil.

    We've also done sheet mulching, where newspapers were laid down, and soil, compost and mulch put over it. Saves digging!