Originally published Feb 2010
Back when I was unhappily married (1993-2005), I had a very nice wooden raised garden bed along my driveway. It was about 12′ X 6′ and had a height of about 6 inches. I considered it a permanent feature, but after about 20 years it disintegrated. Unfortunately, with my busy work life, extended family obligations, new single-dom and much more pressing home improvement projects, I had to forego planting a veggie garden for several years. I missed it terribly.
In the meantime, grass had begun to grow throughout the area of my former garden. I knew I eventually wanted to have another harvest of homegrown vegetables, so I “suffocated” the grass in the area last year by staking down black plastic for several months during the late winter. By the way, this method doesn’t suffocate all of it, but it definitely helps and is much, much safer than using chemicals to kill the grass. (If you are planning a vegetable garden, it is highly advised that you do not use grass killing chemicals as your veggies’ roots will extend into that chemicalized area even in a raised bed.)
Raised beds are very efficient in that not only do they provide great control of grass invasion, they “contain” the healthy soil components you chose to add to your garden. Thus, organic gardening is much quicker and easier to accomplish with a raised bed. Even at merely 8 inches, a raised bed is easier on a gardener’s knees and back with regard to the planting, caring and harvesting of plants. Last year, I did not (and still do not) have the time, energy or money to build or have built an elaborate, permanent raised garden bed. I expected that if I was to resume my vegetable garden, I would have to resort to planting at ground level. This meant I would need to till the now very hard ground and really work at keeping grass out and organic nutrients in.
However, one day when browsing the garden section at Wal-Mart, I came across a wonderfully quick, easy and inexpensive solution to my situation. It is called the Easy Gardener Round Raised Garden Bed Kit. Don’t worry – it has more letters in its name than dollars in its price! Depending on where you make your purchase, it will cost you $18 – $24. The Easy Gardener Round Raised Garden Bed Kit contains everything you need to instantly create a raised garden bed. The composite material of the edging is extremely flexible and a bonus is it is also eco-friendly. It will create a 42 inch diameter raised bed of 8 inches in height. As the product states, all you need to do is add soil and plants. You can certainly place the product directly on top of existing grass, but if you have the time and energy, I recommend suffocating or lightly tilling up the grass before placing the bed over it – just to be sure our all too resilient grasses and weeds don’t have an opportunity to invade your planting area.
I admit, the one very minor negative of this product is that it looks and feels like the “plastic” composite that it is – it certainly doesn’t have the rustic, sturdy appearance of wood or stone. However, this is not to say the Easy Gardener product doesn’t look good – it indeed looks nice, especially from the distance of the street or alley. An advantage of the composite material is that it will not chip or rust as would metal edging. My Easy Gardener Round Raised Bed is placed alongside my driveway in the back yard and looks marvelous there. Its ease and functionality are superb and outweigh any cosmetic issues it may or may not have. I was able to create a raised vegetable garden in one afternoon! In fact, I purchased two kits and joined them together to create one large oval, very near the same square footage as I had with my previous wooden bed.
So, for you folks that have dreamed of having a raised garden but just didn’t have the time, energy, or money to create it – this is your answer! Sure, you will have to dedicate time and care to the garden once you plant the veggies (or flowers) but trust me; the reward for that effort is 100 times worth it. You will forget that you are “working” in the garden once you taste the pleasure of your produce and/or experience the beauty of the flowers you helped bring forth. This product is also an excellent choice as a gift, especially to an elderly parent or a science-oriented school-aged kid. I could also see a nursing home or school yard benefiting from the donation of an Easy Gardener Round Raised Garden Bed Kit. After installing for any recipient, this gift would keep on giving throughout the growing season!
For detailed information about the Easy Gardener Round Raised Garden Bed Kit and other products by Easy Gardener, Inc., please go to http://www.easygardener.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=240.
Until next time,