Many of you were introduced to a raised container garden in my previous blogs Raised Bed vs Container Gardening, and the Winner is….Raised Container Gardening, Part One and Part Two. Before you begin construction on your raised container garden do the research to determine if a raised container garden will serve your needs. If your answer is yes to one or more of the following then a Raised Container Garden might be for you.
Is your time limited?
Is your gardening knowledge limited?
Is your stamina limited?
Do you have a disability?
Do you want to supplement your food budget?
Do you want to provide your family with fresh, healthy, and safe produce?
Do you enjoy gardening but don’t enjoy the hard, back-breaking labor that comes with it?
Do you have the tools and the skill to design and construct a raised container garden that will fulfill your practical and personal needs? If not, you can find simple to assemble kits at usvictorygardens.com.
If you enjoy spending several hours a week maintaining your garden or if you want to completely end your trips to the produce market then you may be better served with a good old-fashioned traditional in-ground garden. While you can reduce your trips to the market, short of building multiple units or one large raised container garden, you’ll still make the occasional trip. However, when it comes to time and labor, you can spend more time in a single day working in your traditional in-ground garden than you might during the entire growing season maintaining a raised container garden.
Once you’ve made the decision to build your own raised container garden the next step is to decide on the materials you will use during construction. Your decision should be based on the following criteria; practicality, durability, aesthetics and economics. Only you can decide the level of importance of each.
Brick or stone can be beautiful and durable but it’s also the most expensive. Cedar is beautiful and naturally resistant to decay but isn’t as strong as some pressure treated materials. How important is appearance? Chemically treated wooden boards are the most economical but lack the aesthetics and might lack the durability of cedar. I’ve found that a combination of materials can satisfy all four criteria.
Since the title of this blog is “How to Build an Inexpensive Raised Container Garden” we’ll rule out the more expensive stone and brick. One of the most inexpensive and durable materials that can also provide a degree of aesthetics is pressure treated landscape timbers. Used alone they provide a rustic beauty and provide a platform that can elevate the working height of your garden. Using them in conjunction with cedar and brick or stone can enhance both the beauty and durability.
The downside of working with landscape timbers is that for the novice they can be somewhat difficult to work with due to their irregular nature. No two landscape timbers are alike and if not used promptly are prone to bending or twisting. So do not buy them until you are ready to use them. Another challenge is to design your raised container garden small enough to fit where you want it but large enough to hold all of your containers. You’ll also want to maximize the use of each eight-foot timber while minimizing the number of cuts per timber. In other words, design your garden so you will end up with as little waste as possible. This will help our environment and your bank account.
Join me in my next blog when we’ll discuss the “How to” in How to Build an Inexpensive Raised Container Garden…Part Two.