What are Raised Garden Boxes?

wiseGEEK Writer

Raised garden boxes are usually wooden boxes that are homemade, made from prefab kits, or manufactured elsewhere. They come in a variety of sizes and are used to elevate things grown, which may be more favorable to growing, and to control soil quality so that plants might best prosper. Raised garden boxes are most used to grow a variety of vegetables, though some people want elevated flowerbeds too.

Raised beds give a gardener more control over soil conditions.
Raised beds give a gardener more control over soil conditions.

By raised, people typically mean that the tops of raised garden boxes are about two feet (.61 meters) above the ground. There is variation in this measurement, and small flowers could be planted in shallower soil. Variation also exists in dimension and shapes of boxes. Many are rectangular and some are square. With ability to handcraft boxes, people can accommodate more unusual garden shapes if necessary, or build boxes in unusual shapes as purposeful decoration.

Window boxes are sometimes used to plant flowers.
Window boxes are sometimes used to plant flowers.

Those folks planting vegetables tend to choose simple shapes of raised garden boxes that are easily accessible for weeding, watering, and any addition planting or replanting. Very wide boxes may not be preferred. This could make it difficult to access the plants in the middle.

There may also be variation in the bottom of the box. Some boxes do have bottoms of varying types, which keep contact with native soil minimal. Screens or netting can be placed down that may minimize weed growth or discourage some pests like gophers from eating the roots of plants. Other times a gardener may not mind this mix, since plants with deeper roots won’t be limited in their growth. In this case raised garden boxes may just look like wooden frames. Once set into the ground, they are filled with soil or compost and provide an excellent way to grow plants.

There are some specific advantages to raised garden beds that are cited by many gardeners. For instance, unless an area is extremely cold, the soil usually won’t freeze as spring progresses due to its elevation, and it gets much warmer than soil in the ground. This means that people who garden may be able to get a jumpstart on beginning spring crops of a week or more, on beginning spring crops. Another part of these boxes’ appeal is that they can make a garden look neat and orderly, with plants occupying a defined geometric space.

Soil quality control is clearly a central issue that makes raised garden boxes extremely attractive. The regular soil in an area can make it extremely difficult to grow very much, and soil treatments to correct the issue might be expensive. Raised garden beds address this problem with greater ease and less expense. Good soil is placed on top of or mixed with native soil to create near ideal planting circumstances.

Interested gardeners and beginning gardeners can find raised garden boxes in a variety of places. Pre-fabricated types can be purchased at hardware or gardening stores and online. There are also plenty of “do-it-yourself” guides for building boxes from scratch. Pre-made boxes may be available in a number of places in local communities, or are sometimes available on line, though shipping prices may be exorbitant. Those wanting to save money on these boxes, should assemble from a kit or follow a do-it-yourself guide.

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Discussion Comments


After the box has been completed, would it be safe to use wood preservative on the inside and out? The boxes will be made our of Douglas fir.

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