***UPDATE: To see an update on how these planters have worked so far, check out this mid summer post.
I haven’t been able to put in a vegetable garden for a few years, and now at our new house, I really wanted to have one again. Then I stumbled across these raised bed planters, (see shopping link for them at the end) and they really looked like the perfect answer for a garden.
Raised bed container gardening has some pretty great advantages, but a few drawbacks too… like drying out too quickly.
The reason I was drawn to a raised bed container gardening idea is that they are raised up, away from the rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels, and oh so much easier to work in than bending over. The reason I liked these particular planters is because not only is the planting space nice and large, but they have a reservoir inside the bottom that holds water creating a self-watering planter.
I stumbled across them online and they were on sale, so I grabbed 6 for my garden this year… and hopefully for many more years to come, but I’ll keep you posted, LOL.
When spring finally came, it was time to set up the planters. They have a few pieces, packed inside, that needed to be assembled. I removed the pieces and flipped the planter over on a rug to work on.
Each leg fits in a slot on the bottom and gets held in place with a screw.
Here you can see inside the bottom of the planter without the bottom that pops over it:
I guess all the water sits in that area and gets wicked up into the soil as needed.
There is a drainage hole on the end with a rubber plug for draining the water every so often.
There is the planter with the bottom popped in:
It has those little holes that allow the water to transfer through.
This is the watering spout:
Inside it is the little float gauge:
On the bottom of the float guage is attached this gray foam to will pop up the float to show the level of water inside the container:
The last thing I needed to do in assembly of the raised bed containers is pop on these two side supports:
Then it was time for the soil. Since I’m growing veggies and herbs in these containers, I chose to go with an organic soil:
It took 4 bags of soil to fill each container. I also added some worm castings to each container for a natural fertilizer.
So far, that was the easiest vegetable bed prep I’ve ever done!! Now onto the planting:
I put in all the seeds I selected, like several different types of herbs, a few different lettuces, radishes, beets, and green beans, (bush variety). I may have over planted the space a wee bit, but I can always thin out the plants too.
I also had some tomato plants and pepper plants that I planted:
Isn’t that bicycle whirly-gig kind of cute? I saw it when I was buying the tomato cages and figured it’d look whimsical by our little container farm.
After everything was in, I started watering. The containers took a lot of water initially.
The tomatoes and peppers got some straw mulch to help keep them healthy. They can be prone to blight, and I think it can come from the dirt splattering up onto the leaves. Either way, the straw will help keep the soil moist for them too.
It’s been a week and here is the progress:
The soil doesn’t get too wet, in fact it does dry out on top after about a day or two, so I have kept watering it to keep it moist for the seeds. This last week it was in the upper 80’s even 90 a few days and no rain, so that was pretty hot right away. The planters must be pulling the water up into the soil, because I’m having to add water to them through the spout every other day, (and it’s not dripping or leaking out) and in temps like that in the full sun, these containers would dry out super fast otherwise.
This spot on the south side of our house get full sun morning to evening and seems to get extra hot. In fact, too hot! I was reading about the ideal temp for growing, and photosynthesis needs a temperature below 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This spot, that in all other ways is perfect for the raised bed container gardening, is an issue for the heat it gathers. It’ll be great in the early spring to warm up the soil quicker, but hard on those hot days.
That’s why I have some sunshade ordered and I’ll update you on that when it arrives, (for now I’ve been cooling down this little spot by watering down the concrete in the heat of the day to bring the temp down a bit).
So far I’m super happy with the raised bed container gardening.
There wasn’t enough containers for the zucchini and cucumbers, so I came up with another plan for those, (I’ll have to show you that in a future post too!)
- If you’re interested in checking out these self-watering containers, here is a shopping link for them.
- Here is the link for the organic container soil.
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