10 Best Raised Garden Beds | March 2017
- may be left unstained to achieve patina
- extremely solid construction
- includes optional plastic bed liner
- easily cleans with hose
- heavyduty locking tongue-in-groove sides
- perfect for flowering plants
- retains warmth so great for root growth
- unit can be stacked for a deeper garden
- easy snap-together assembly
- cover installs or comes off in seconds
- perfect for use in hotter, dry climates
- doubles as a child's sandbox
- rough-hewn rustic look
- eliminates bending over while gardening
- handcrafted in the u.s.a.
- naturally rot- and insect-resistant wood
- top tier perfect for deep roots
- great for organic gardens
- has a natural fiber liner
- durable plastic feet
- winner of the 2012 green thumb award
Raised Without A Raised Option
Not everybody grows up with the luxury of gardening at their fingertips. When my parents bought the house I grew up in a few years before I was born, the real estate people stipulated that they really shouldn't try to grow any food in that yard, and that if they did they shouldn't eat it.
Apparently, many years prior, the ground in my backyard was treated with some kind of chemical so noxious that it wouldn't be safe for gardening until around the time I turned 18. By then, we'd long given up on the prospect of growing anything in our yard.
As a result of my underexposure to gardening, I've long battled with a set of black thumbs. I've killed bonsai trees, cacti, bamboo, and pretty much every other species of plant that seems indestructible to most people. It's a curse long left over from the evil in the soil where I grew up.
It took a lot of studious effort and a few of the raised gardening beds like the ones on this list for me to break my streak, and a few years ago I finally harvested a nice crop of tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, cucumber, cherry peppers, and squash.
Not only can raised garden beds like the ones on this list give you an opportunity to grow food or flowers where the soil is inferior, they also allow you to grow items where there is no soil, like a small patio attached to an apartment, a brick-laid backyard like the ones you see in major cities on the American east coast, or even on a rooftop.
In addition to giving you the ability to grow food almost anywhere, raised garden beds take a tremendous amount of strain off of your back and legs. I remember seeing my grandmother struggling on a little gardening pad to stay comfortable as she worked over her garden on her hands and knees. She's still with us today, probably thanks in part to the tremendous amount of homegrown veggies she would eat, but her back is curved like a question mark.
Instead of bending over the dirt, you can tend to a raised garden from the comfort of a simple chair, making for a much less stressful gardening environment and ensuring that you can keep at it for years to come.
Give Me a Little Space
If you'd asked me back in my black thumb days what the most important thing was for the long term health a plant, I'd have said water. I would have been close, but plants can hold onto the water they drink up from the soil for a little bit of time, and mother nature has a pretty reliable way of watering them when you forget, unless you live in southern California.
I might have said the soil or sunlight, and I would have been close again, but not quite on the mark. For the long term health of a plant, the most important thing a plant can have is space. When you take a look at the seed packets that provide you with the building blocks for your garden, each one has a recommended spacing to it that I'd always tried my hardest to ignore.
Like a good American capitalist, I wanted to maximize my yield, so I'd put as many seeds in the ground as I could reasonable fit and tend. The results were usually pretty bad. It's not that the plants didn't sprout, or grow, or produce food; it's that they didn't flourish. Given more space, my yields actually would have been higher, as the plants could have spent less time vying for sun and root positions and more time bearing fruit.
You want to get your hands on as big a raised garden as your space will allow. That way, you can give your plants the room they actually need to breath and expand. If you have enough space to go a little smaller with each bed, but to get more than one, that's even better. Whatever you can do to increase your gardening area is a good thing.
Once you've measured out the space and figured out what you can fit, you'll still have a few options to choose from on our list, and among these you can hold working height and the general aesthetics of each at a premium. If you want to work comfortably from a chair, go sit in the chair you intend to use and measure a comfortable working height, then compare it to the beds on this list. After that, you can figure out which of the options would be the most eye-catching and make your purchase from there.
Onward To Victory
Prehistoric evidence suggests that humans have been gardening for the better part of their existence. The gardening of those days was something called forest gardening, which took place along wet river banks and served to propagate advantageous species of trees, shrubs, and vines that bore edible fruits.
Roughly 12,000 years ago humans created the first garden enclosures, cordoning off outdoor spaces from invasive animals and unwanted fellow humans. Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings give us early glimpses into more ornamental gardening methods that reach back into the 16th century BCE.
For sustenance, individual gardens didn't have much of a place in the average person's home until the victory gardens of WWI and WWII. During those war years, the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and others all encouraged their citizens to grow their own food so that they might feed themselves in the event that a shortage caused the military to redirect the citizens' food supply to its troops.
Even after WWII, having endured the Great Depression that took place between wars, most suburban households in America maintained small gardens as a ward against another potential economic collapse, and the way our current economy is functioning, it might not be a bad idea to bring the practice back.