The perks of gardening in elevated raised beds are many. Aside from the obvious advantage of never having to bend over or kneel to plant or pick your peppers and pansies, gardening in an elevated planter box means you’ll be able to enjoy the following:
- No weeds (take that, bittercress!)
- No ground-dwelling pests to nibble plant roots
- No soil-borne fungal diseases to contend with
- No rabbits and groundhogs munching on your lettuce
- No need to set up a sprinkler or drip system to water
- No issues with water-logged clay soil or fast-draining sandy soil
- No need to leave the deck or patio to harvest
- No back aches, creaking knees, or inflamed hip joints
Placing your elevated garden planter
Once you’ve selected the elevated raised bed that’s right for you, it’s time to put it in place. These planters are heavy when filled to the brim with soil, so don’t fill the planter box until you’re happy with its placement.
Most fruits and veggies require at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun. Gardeners planning to grow edibles when elevated raised bed gardening need to place the planters in full sun. If you’re growing sun-loving annuals, the rule is the same. But for shade-lovers, a nice spot in the shade or part shade will do just fine.
In addition, make sure your raised planter box is close to a spigot or rain barrel to make watering a snap. Lugging watering cans to a distant location every day can be a real drag. Another easy option is to use a self-watering elevated planter bed like this one. Keeping your garden close to the kitchen door is a plus, too!
Filling your raised planter box
As with in-ground growing, the secret to successful elevated raised bed gardening is in the soil. While most elevated planter boxes are sturdy, they aren’t built to hold heavy, clay-based garden soil. Instead, they’re designed to be filled with a mixture of high-quality potting soil and compost. Mix 2/3 potting soil with 1/3 compost, toss in a few handfuls of organic granular fertilizer, and you’ll be ready to grow! (Unless, of course, you’re going to be growing cacti and/or succulents in your raised planter; in that case add coarse builder’s sand to the mix, instead of compost.)
There are many different vegetables you can grow in an elevated raised bed, including dwarf tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and more! Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company.
What to grow when elevated raised bed gardening
When it comes to gardening in raised planters, the possibilities are endless! There are so many plants that will do wonderfully in such an environment.
Plant an elevated raised bed full of compact vegetable varieties, including ‘Tumbling Tom’ tomatoes, ‘Fairy Tale’ eggplants, ‘Mohawk Patio’ peppers, and ‘Thumbelina’ carrots.
Or how about growing an herbal paradise? ‘Spicy Globe’ basil, creeping thyme, lemongrass, rosemary, and parsley will perform to perfection.
Small-statured berry plants, such as ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ red raspberries, ‘Top Hat’ blueberries, and strawberries, are beautiful and productive in an elevated raised bed.
Flowers are another lovely option. Most annuals do quite well in raised planters, just be sure to include a few trailing varieties to spill over the bed’s edge.
Fairy gardens and miniature plants are another unique option, especially since they’ll be at eye-level for curious little hands and eyes.
You can even plant dwarf flowering shrubs and small-statured evergreens when gardening in an elevated raised bed. Doing so will make a great privacy screen between close balconies, patios, and porches.
These are some tips on indoor raised garden beds.