Written by ELA LINDSAY
Vegetable gardens come in all shapes and sizes, as do the gardeners who tend them. And although home gardeners might have differing skill levels, there are lots of do-it-yourself raised vegetable planter kits that just about anyone can build.
Raised beds can be adapted to any size plot of land or placed in tiny outdoor spaces, such as patios, balconies and decks. And all of them offer simple solutions to backbreaking garden work.
Gronomics.com has a wide selection of raised-bed garden kits, such as its Vertical Garden, a unique design with a small footprint of only two square feet. This multi-tiered unit includes a drip-line irrigation system, so you can enjoy growing more veggies using less water—a perfect feature for drought-prone Southern California.
Then there’s the modular and rustic Garden Wedge, which is not only attractive, it’s wheelchair accessible. It’s ideal for small spaces but can be adapted to larger areas with an extension kit.
For those seeking one-stop garden solutions, the Elevated Grow Shelter from MyPotsandPlanters.com includes a raised bed, greenhouse and pest barrier—all in one. The 4-by-4 self-contained growing system—100 percent made in the U.S. —comes with a reinforced PVC outer cover to protect plants from wind and heavy rain, insects, birds and animals. It also stands at a good working height to prevent strained backs.
For those who only have a foot or so of space to work with or a limited budget, Grow Bags from Raisedbeds.com offer a cost-effective and unique environment for veggies. These bags hold 34 quarts of planting mix and are shallow enough for growing salads, yet deep enough for peppers, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes.
If you’re new to the world of building raised garden beds or you want some general how-to information, check out the website Greenlandgardener.com for ideas and products, as well as recipes for the produce you’ll be growing in your new beds. Its Raised Bed Garden Kits come in multiple configurations that are also available in recycled composite material or natural cedar.
Also, Vegetablegardener.com features ideas and photos from other raised-bed DIY gardeners.
But there’s nothing to stop the creative do-it-yourselfer from turning any large container, such as a vintage claw-foot tub or even an old desk or dresser, into a planting bed. Add some drainage, soil, seeds or seedlings, and you’re good to go.
Those who are totally baffled by the gardening scene or who need a quick refresher course to update their skills might consider taking a class at the Williams-Sonoma shop at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks—great for newbie and veteran gardeners alike.
Either way, a few unique planting solutions for your large or small planting space can yield a satisfying harvest of fresh vegetables. And the beauty of using any of these systems—or using your imagination to create your own—is the little-known fact that many vegetables actually thrive in containers.