Raised planters! Also known as raised beds, their rising popularity means you’ve likely seen them in many of our previous gardens, or perhaps when visiting friends or family. In fact, in the last 18 months, far more people have opted to try growing their own food at home. Raised beds have many purposes, and many benefits, all of which we’ll get into, but before we start – what are they?
What are raised planting beds?
They are, by definition, a garden bed that has been built in a way that raises it off the ground, as opposed to planting beneath ground level. Despite the popularity of raised beds using boxes, even a pile of earth above ground level is technically classed as a raised bed, although it can be difficult to maintain the structure and integrity of such a bed over time.
Most raised beds utilise retaining walls made from a variety of different materials, usually in keeping with the design of the home and garden. There are many reasons they’re a great addition to any home or garden – here are just a few.
What are the benefits of raised planters?
They’re much easier to work on!
Trust us, your back and knees and neck will thank you if you opt for raised planters. Anyone who’s spent long amounts of time maintaining even a simple garden with plants or vegetables will tell you that it really can be backbreaking work.
Whether you’re young or old, taking out the pain of it all means you’ll have more time and energy to focus on growing your garden. In fact, you might find that it gives you more freedom to focus on growing things you’d previously thought too laborious.
It can be especially vital if you have certain mobility requirements, but still want to see if you have green thumbs. When designing your garden, we can consider your needs and choose a height and level that’s perfect for you and the plants!
Raised planters are actually better for plants
Despite the fact that they’re “less work”, raised plant beds are better for plants, because they allow for better drainage. At the right level, the raised bed allows the plants to breathe and drain properly even in the soggiest of weather. It’s why they’re excellent for gardens that might be prone to flooding, and perfect for heavy rains.
It also means you can plant earlier in the season! The soil in raised beds dries out fast in spring and isn’t as cold as the soil at ground level. While your success can depend on the soil you use and your experience as a gardener, it helps to have a little more flexibility. Plus, raised planters make it much harder for little critters to get to your precious plants and veggies.
They’re better for the soil too
Instead of tilling the soil from year to year, many gardeners maintain raised beds by adding the compost, mulches, and manures directly on the top of the soil, and allowing the nutrients to work their own way through the soil. Tilling the soil with your hands, as is often done in ground level beds, can deplete the soil structure. Allowing the soil to “till itself” as worms and roots work their own way through builds up its quality over time. Plus, you can use different types of soil in different beds, depending on what you want to grow.
They look great
We love raised beds here at FirstLight, because they look great, and can be built with materials that match your design and home. They’re also a great way of dividing elements of your garden, and for creating a flow.
Are raised beds good for growing vegetables?
In short – yes! You can have great success growing fruits and vegetables in raised beds, and many gardeners say that raised beds make growing veggies much easier for beginners. So if it’s your first time growing anything, there’s a good chance you’ll at least get a couple of tiny tomatoes and a weird looking cucumber!
We’re joking of course, because your first crop could be a fantastic one if you know what to plant!
Best vegetables to grow in raised planters
Once we’ve finished your garden, you’re free to try and grow anything in your new raised beds – we’re not going to stop you! But if you’re looking for somewhere to start, there are a few veggies that will give you a greater chance of success.
Tomatoes are a great start, as they’re versatile, and can be grown in any size of raised bed without much difficulty. Lettuces are excellent if you want to get an early start, as they don’t mind cooler weather, and so can be planted early in the spring. Plus, if you pick leaves as opposed to picking the plant, and keep sowing seeds until early July, you should be able to have fresh, home-grown leaves for the whole summer!
Radishes are an excellent choice, too, because they offer fast results and are very low maintenance. If you’re new to growing your own veggies (or just impatient), these can be a great place to start as they’ll give you a boost in confidence when you’re starting out, with results in just 3 – 4 weeks.
Chard, or leaf beet, is a hardy choice that’s easy to grow and will look beautiful in the garden thanks to all the lovely colour variations in the stalks. Onions, a base ingredient of all our favourite recipes, are a great choice for raised planters, as long as they have plenty of room to grow. And courgettes, or zucchinis, are known for an abundance of crops – in fact one single plant will provide several courgettes a week over the entire summer!
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from trying any vegetable in your garden since almost all of them can be grown in raised beds, it’s simply a matter of providing the right conditions for each plant, which is made so much easier by raised planters.
Best fruits to grow in raised planters
While fruits can be a little more complicated, there’s nothing to stop you from growing a wide variety of fruits in your raised plant beds. Soft fruits work well in such environments, so we recommend strawberry plants, currants, blackberries, and raspberries to get you started. If you live in a rural area with plenty of wildlife, it’s a good idea to make sure your berries are protected, so let us know if you’ve always dreamed of a lush berry-filled garden, and we can look at designs that will protect your plants.
Get your green thumbs growing!
If you’re thinking of landscaping your garden, and would like to know more about raised planters, or what you can grow, we’d be happy to help! Keep an eye on our contact page to secure a consultation slot when they’re next released.
Get in touch via our Instagram page if you’d like us to cover a specific topic in our next blog, or just to show us all the delicious vegetables you’ve been growing in your own raised planters!