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5 Easy Tips for Gardening in Planter Boxes

How to get the best results from a raised bed planter box?

When it comes to planter boxes, there are virtually endless options on the market, and many will fit gardens of different sizes. These products come in an array of designs and materials too. But what is the best planter box for your garden? Elevate the look of your garden and improve its growing capacity with these gardening tips:

What is a raised garden bed?

Raised bed gardens

A raised garden bed is a sizable planter box fitted with four or more legs, so the bottom is raised several inches off the ground. This planter is similar to a traditional garden bed, which is a large frame that’s not elevated. Growing plants in a raised garden bed promote better drainage and a looser soil texture. The soil also warms earlier in the spring season, allowing growers to plant different crops earlier than the growing season.

What are planter boxes made of?

Tiered Raised bed garden

Planter boxes are made from different materials, and usually, the materials affect the prices of these products. Below are the most popular planter box materials:

  • Wood
  • Fiberglass
  • Plastic
  • Concrete
  • Terracotta
  • Ceramic

Wood: Wood is the best material for planter boxes because it’s durable and won’t contaminate the soil. However, some wooden materials can be pretty pricey.

For example, the most expensive planter boxes are made from redwood, cedar, chestnut, pine, spruce, and cypress. These materials are not only durable, but they also look better with time. However, planter boxes made from wood will require maintenance to keep the wooden material resistant to decay.

ECOgardener offers a range of elevated raised beds and tiered garden beds made from 100% non-toxic fir wood. These are durable, resilient, space-efficient, and reasonably priced.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass is also a durable option for planter boxes. This material consists of hardened composite resin sanded and painted for a protective finish – it’s a resilient, virtually weatherproof material. It’s an expensive option, although the material will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Plastic: Cheap, lightweight, and readily available, plastic raised beds are used to grow various crops. The material is derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource, so it’s not exactly the most eco-friendly option. Plastic tends to turn brittle when exposed to sunlight and can trap heat.

Concrete: Made from mixed cement paste with water, sand, and rock. It’s a highly durable material that can last a lifetime even with neglect. Concrete plant boxes are gray but can be painted with masonry paint to suit a theme or garden design. The material is the heaviest and can crack under extreme heat. Also, cement tends to trap heat, which could cause delicate plants to die during the summer season.

Terracotta and Ceramic: These materials are made from the same base, clay. Terracotta features a striking reddish-brown color, while ceramic is smooth and light gray in color. Terracotta is often left unglazed for a rustic look, while ceramic pots are primarily glazed.

Glazing does affect the properties of the material. When glazed, ceramic pots stop leaks, which can cause water to pool into the pot unless there are drainage holes. Terracotta lets water drain, so it’s an excellent material for growing most plants.

Why grow in planter boxes?

Backyard garden using raised beds

Here are just a few of the many benefits of growing plants in planter boxes:

  • Fewer weeds
  • Better water retention (especially for sandy and loose soils)
  • Space efficient
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Prevents soil compaction
  • More growing space
  • Organized garden
  • Better drainage
  • Early start in the growing season
  • Fewer pests

How to get the best results from planter boxes?

Start with the best soil: Your crops will have the best chance of growing healthy and bearing more fruits if you use suitable soil. Potting mix is the best soil for growing plants in a planter box and not garden soil. Garden soil tends to be dense and heavy, which isn’t ideal for growing many plants. Potting mixes are made for planters and containers. The soil can retain moisture without suffocating the roots. It’s also packed with nutrients that the plants need to stay healthy.

Check the drainage: Water must freely drain from the planter box and not pool at the bottom. Any disruption in the drainage could lead to root rot, pests, and diseases. Check the planter box before using it; it should come with drainage holes at the bottom. The drainage holes should be about 9 inches apart with a hole size that’s no smaller than 3/4 in diameter.

Choose the right size: The planter box should fit your outdoor space as well as the plants you’re growing. A too-small planter box is space-efficient, but it might not accommodate certain plants. A too-big planter box might give your crops lots of growing space, but it may not fit your garden space. It’s essential to measure the space to determine the best size for a planter box. The planter box should be big enough to fit some of your crops while being accessible from both sides. As for the depth, choose one that’s up to three feet.

Set at the right place: Ideally, you need to find a place close to a water source and exposed to ample sunlight. Walk around your garden space and choose an area that gets at least 6 hours of full daylight with some shade in the afternoon. Also, consider the planter’s proximity to water, especially if you’re planning on using a soaker hose. This way, watering the plants is more convenient.

Grow the right plants: Not all plants do well in a planter box, so it’s important to check the size of the plants when fully grown and what plants complement them well when grown side by side. Some plants can be grown alongside other crops, but others do not like being grouped with other plants. Squash and beans, for example, do well when grown together. Tomatoes, squash, sweet potato, peppers, cucumbers, berries, watermelon, and carrots can be grown in a planter box as long as the depth of the box is 3 feet.

Where to buy planter boxes?

ecogardener Raised bed planters

Growing plants in a planter box is a great way to maximize a small space and ensure the health of your crops. Of course, the planter box’s size, material, quality, and design matter. You can create planter boxes using scrap wood or buy high-quality planter boxes at our online store.

Our planter boxes come in various designs that will fit any garden. Our raised beds are made with eco-friendly materials that will last for years with proper use. Shop now and discover the benefits of using planter boxes.