How to Choose the Best Raised Garden Bed Kit (2018 Update)
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How to Choose the Best Raised Garden Bed Kit

Best Raised Garden Bed Kit
Raised garden beds (aka garden boxes) are excellent for growing vegetables in a small space. They are easy to maintain, prevent soil compaction, have fewer pest problems, extend the growing season, and you can use them regardless of the soil quality in your area.

The idea of raised bed gardening is not a new one. It’s a method that’s been adopted by many gardeners far and wide across the world simply because it’s so effective.

In this article, we’ll explain what makes this method of gardening so great and what you should bear in mind when purchasing your next raised garden bed kit. Then to help you reach a decision as to what kit’s best for you, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of some of the more popular kits selling at the moment.

Benefits of Using a Raised Garden Bed

A raised garden bed is the ideal solution for growing small patches of flowers or crops. They’re relatively inexpensive to buy and don’t take a lot of effort to set up. Using a raised garden bed is good for so many reasons. Here are just some of them:

Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed

Good Aeration

Roots need good air circulation to be able to absorb essential nutrients. If soil becomes too compact, the roots are unable to breathe and the plant will fail to develop. Adequate aeration is also important for maintaining a healthy balance between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria which helps to enhance the fertility of the soil.

Adequate Drainage

Having adequate drainage for your plants is another essential aspect of gardening. While most plants grow pretty well in moist soil, too much water is bad for them as it affects the roots’ ability to breathe. Bacteria and fungal diseases are also more common in conditions that are constantly moist.

Having a raised garden bed ensures adequate draining all year round, even in heavy rain. The looseness of the soil allows the water to seep right the way through, as opposed to just running off as it would with compacted soil. Then, any excess water simply drains away.

Room for Roots

It goes without saying that the roots have a much better chance at spreading out if in loose soil opposed to soil that’s been compacted. Having a raised garden bed will allow that.

Better Weed Control

Whenever you grow anything outside, the chances of weeds popping up among your crop is quite high. However, the loose soil in raised garden beds makes it much easier to pull out any that may spring up. And, the fact that the seeds are planted so close together in a garden bed means that when they do grow there will be less room for any unsightly weeds to creep through.

Fresh Soil

Freshly dug, loose soil is far better for your plants to grow in than old, compacted soil. Also, not all soil in your garden will be same. In some areas you’ll find chalky, alkaline soil, whereas in other areas you’ll have soil that’s very acidic.

Having a raised garden bed allows you to have whatever you soil you want for your crops. You can even have separate beds for different crops to be best accommodate all their different needs.

No Need to Dig

One of the best things about having a raised garden bed is that unlike a vegetable patch on the ground, there’s no need to dig up any turf. You can simply place your raised bed on your existing lawn, fill it up with compost and you’re ready to plant your little seedlings.

Better Pest Control

Having a garden bed that’s raised off the ground will deter many creepy crawlies from finding their way to your crops. For those really stubborn pests, you can always use a wire netting at the base of your bed to stop them getting through.

Extended Growing Season

Gardening in a raised bed definitely has its advantages when it comes to cold weather as they will thaw out a lot quicker than the ground. This means you’ll be able to plant your seedlings nice and early, giving them a good head start.

Bigger Yields

You’ll get much better yields when using a raised garden bed opposed to gardening on the ground. This is due partly to the fact that there’s good soil aeration, but it’s also because of the intensive culture of gardening in this way. Crops are planted much closer together in raised beds and grow with their leaves almost touching. This reduces the chance of weeds growing through and taking over.

Raised garden beds

Portability

Raised garden beds are great in terms of portability. If for any reason your crops aren’t growing very well in one location, you can simply move the raised bed somewhere else. It’s not so easy to do that with a vegetable patch on the ground.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Raised Garden Bed Kit

To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot to a raised garden bed kit. Even so, there are a few things you should bear in mind while shopping for the ones that’s best for you:

Size 

The first thing you should probably consider is how much you want to grow at once. One of the great things about growing in raised garden bed is you can grow a lot of plants in quite a small space. Just make sure you leave enough room around all four sides to enable easy access to your crops.

Raised garden beds differ quite a lot when it comes to depth, so be sure to take note of how deep it is. Most plants or vegetables only need around 6 inches of soil in which to grow, but the more room they have for their roots to spread the stronger and more productive the plant will be.  

Design

The main differences you’ll find among raised garden beds in terms of their design is their height and the material they’re made from. Both of these choices will come down to personal preference (and price) more than anything else, however, the higher the raised bed, the less bending down you’ll have to do. 

Materials

The last thing to take into consideration when buying a raised garden bed is the material that it’s made from. Most are made from either wood, plastic/resin, or metal and all have their pros and cons. Wood is the most common choice as is durable and looks good. The only problem with wood is it does require the most maintenance.

Plastic/resin raised beds are also very durable and need very little maintenance. They’re usually slightly more expensive than wooden raised beds and don’t look as nice (in my opinion), but, they do tend to last longer. Metal beds are the most durable of them all and have the lowest maintenance issues. But, they can get quite hot in the summer and are definitely the least attractive.

If you’re looking for an all-around great raised bed kit that not only looks fantastic but work great then this could be the option for you. The Frame It All Composite Raised Garden Bed Kit measures in at 4’ x 4’ x 11”. However, due to the nature of its design, you can add extra pieces or reconfigure what you have any time at all.

Frame It All Composite Raised Garden Bed Kit, 4' by 4' by 11'

The sleek, high-quality, timber boards are made from an all-natural, composite material that consists of 62% hardwood fibers and 38% recycled plastic. So as well as looking great and doing the job well, it’s also benefiting the environment too.

Frame It All Raised Garden Bed

Newly planted tomatoes in my own Frame It All raised bed.

It’s patented anchor joints make it easy to assemble and is great to use as a single bed or in addition to an existing setup. The only real downside is it is a little expensive. But, considering the quality is so good, it should last for quite some time.  

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
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    Design possibilities are endless
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    Looks great
Cons
  • A little expensive

Made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) that won’t peel, crack, or rot, the Lifetime 60069 Raised Garden Bed Kit is the ideal solution for anyone looking to an alternative to a traditional wooden raised bed. This bed is UV-resistant, can be easily stacked to add depth, and it’s great at retaining heat. It’s also extremely durable.

Lifetime 60069 Raised Garden Bed Kit, 4 by 4 Feet, Pack of 3

The other thing that stands out about this garden bed is how easy it is to put together. There’s no special tools or skills needed. Simply snap the pieces together according to the instructions, and in no time at all, you’ll be ready to plant your seeds. You also get a 5-year warranty with your purchase. Just be aware that one unit it is only 9” high, so you will no doubt need at least 2.

Pros
  • Constructed from super strong HDPE
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    No tools needed for assembly
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    UV-resistant
Cons
  • Not very deep
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    The plastic does look a little cheap

Just because it’s made of metal, don’t be put off. The Mr. Stacky Metal Raised Garden Bed is actually one of the nicest looking garden beds we’ve seen and a lot of that is down to beige metal it’s made from. It’s also extremely durable thanks to being made out of a high-quality metal that won’t crack or rot.

Metal Raised Garden Bed Kit - Elevated Planter Box For Growing Herbs, Vegetables, Flowers, and Succulents (1)

At 46” x 35”, this raised garden bed is plenty big enough to grow a selection of your favorite plants. And, with 12” high walls, it gives the roots plenty of extra breathing space while allowing for easy draining. The only real drawbacks with this model are that it’s a bit of a pain to put together and is slightly flimsy. Other than that, it’s a great buy.

Pros
  • Metal construction is very weather resistant
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    12-inch depth is sufficient for most crops
Cons
  • Difficult to assemble
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    Not as strong as some others

Standing at 31” tall, this is the ideal solution for anyone who loves gardening but suffers from a bad back. The Greenes Fence Elevated Garden Bed so versatile that it’s perfect for using in the garden, on a patio, porch or any other place you see fit.

Greenes Fence Elevated Garden Bed, 48' L x 24' W x 31', Cedar

It’s made from a beautiful cedar wood that’s both insect and rot resistant. And while it is so very durable, it’s also very lightweight making it easy to move around if need be. Assembly is simple and the price isn’t bad either. The only real sore point with this garden bed is that at just 9.6” high inside, it’s quite shallow, and because of its design, is not really stackable. 

Pros
  • Beautiful cedar wood
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    Easy to access
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    Rot and insect-resistant
Cons
  • Quite shallow
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    A little on the expensive side

Just remember that price nor name should be the leading factor when buying a raised garden bed. If you go by either, the Best Choice Products Vegetable Raised Garden Bed sounds like a pretty good deal. But, let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Best Choice Products Vegetable Raised Garden Bed Patio Backyard Grow Flowers elevated Planter

Firstly, at 10” deep, it’s quite shallow and because of its design, it isn't possible to stack any more on top. The next thing that’s a big issue is the quality of the wood. And because it’s so poor, the assembly of it is a nightmare. The pieces have to be hammered in to actually get them together, yet when you do this, there’s a good chance the wood will split. Avoid this garden bed at all costs!

Pros
  • Low-cost
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    Simplistic design
Cons
  • Parts are of poor quality
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    Assembly is a pain
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    Not very versatile

Conclusion

As always, we hope you found the above review and information useful. Just as a quick recap, if you’re looking for a raised garden bed that ticks all the boxes mentioned above then the Frame It All Composite Raised Garden Bed Kit is definitely the way to go.

Being made from a mixture of wood and plastic, you get the best of both worlds. Not only does it look fantastic, but it does an excellent job at providing a suitable environment for your little seedlings. Whatever option you go for in the end, just remember one thing - a happy plant is a happy gardener.

About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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