Get the Most from Your Raised Planter Box
While raised planter boxes offer many benefits on their own, you can apply certain tips and tricks to get the most out of these setups.
The most defining trait of raised planter boxes is the set of legs elevating them above ground level. While traditional garden beds are dug directly into the ground, raised boxes are totally contained to themselves. Raised planter boxes are commonly situated in places where gardening would otherwise be impossible — such as balconies and driveways.
Whether you build your own raised planter box or purchase one from the local garden center, they make great places to grow plants. Raised boxes are made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, steel, plastic, and concrete.
Why Do People Like Raised Planter Boxes?
From more efficient integrated pest management (IPM) strategy to ease-of-use, there many reasons people enjoy raised boxes. Because they are 100 percent mobile, you can move them wherever you want. Unlike regular gardens, you can put raised planter boxes in places like patios where you traditionally can’t grow crops.
Since raised boxes keep plants off the ground, they make it easy to protect your plants from bugs and pathogens. This is especially true when your boxes are on a balcony or patio that is well-insulated from local plants and animals.
Because they are off the ground, raised planter boxes make it easy to conduct garden chores without straining your back.
Where Should I Place My Planter Box?
The main things to consider when figuring out where to place your planter box are water and sunlight.
If you opt to place your planter box on a patio or balcony, be sure there is a hose attachment near your setup. In the end, irrigating a sizable planter with a watering can could become a cumbersome chore over several months in the summer and fall.
While convenient water access is a nice perk to ease your summer workload, ample sunlight is a necessity for any crop. Many popular vegetables like tomatoes and peppers do best with eight hours of strong sunlight every day. If you have a full garden canopy, or you don’t have the option of direct sunlight for long periods of the day, certain crops like kale and lettuce do well in shade or partial sun.
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Growing Mediums & Container Drainage
To ensure the best possible results for your container garden, you must also design your setup with appropriate drainage. Many people who grow in raised boxes choose light soil mixes with a good amount of perlite for ample aeration. Another great option is to use a soilless substrate like coco coir. In either case, a light substrate allows air to penetrate the root zone from the bottom.
Whether you opt to purchase a raised planter box or make one yourself, be sure the container allows water to freely drain from the bottom. If you position your planter in a livable area like a balcony, you should catch excess water with a tray or something similar.
What to Grow in Your Raised Planter Box
Between ornamentals and food crops, there are a ton of options for different plants to grow in raised bed boxes. Besides obvious influences like the types of foods you like to eat, another thing to consider when choosing a plant species is overall growth structure.
In the end, you want to choose plants that complement one another, as well as the allocated cultivation space.
Common food crops grown in planters include:
Popular ornamental plants grown in raised planters include:
- Potato Vines
If you aren’t sure where to begin with choosing plants for your planter box, it’s always a safe bet to choose species that do well in your specific climate.
The Best Way to Arrange Plants in Your Planter Box
A great starting point for arranging plants in your box is figuring out which direction is south, as this is where the strongest sunlight comes from.
If you are growing food crops, you want to arrange your plants in a fashion that caters to the sunlight demands of each species. To illustrate, if you are growing taller plants like tomatoes, arrange them on the north side of the planter so they don’t block shorter plants like peppers and cucumbers. Or, you can intentionally shade low-light species like lettuce with taller plants positioned on the southern side of the garden.
If you are growing ornamental plants, your goal is to create an attractive-looking arrangement. You should organize your planter box from the vantage where it will most commonly be viewed. With this in mind, place the taller species in back with the shorter varietals like potato vines in front for easy viewing.
Whether you’re growing a few tomato plants or a beautiful flower arrangement, raised planter boxes are a great option for your home garden. Not only do they allow you to grow outdoor plants without much of the labor and mess that comes with a traditional garden, but they also offer some real conveniences. Besides great mobility, raised boxes also provide excellent IPM protection and easy-to-access, off-the-ground crops.
To get the very best results with your raised planter box, be sure to do your homework regarding garden placement, available sunlight, and plant species. What’s more, choosing a light substrate will ensure that air makes it to the rootzone, which helps reduce problems with overwatering. Once you have these basic elements balanced, you can create a vibrant plant community in raised planter boxes that is convenient to setup and easy to manage.
Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content
Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.