cheap raised planters?

kristin_flower(4a)August 25, 2011

I'm thinking of starting a vegetable garden next year on my patio in large raised planters. I saw a raised garden like this made from retaining wall blocks, but I think that would be too expensive. Any ideas on what to use or how to make raised planters cheaply?


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Some are using galvanized tubs of assorted sizes ...others I've heard use 'tires' ...ummm, don't know about those for veggies. Bushel baskets for potatoes I've seen & just about any container that you can have drain holes. I like to use enamel pans/buckets for my 'herb' garden. Here's a pic:

Maybe you can find some recycled brick. Good luck! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 12:00AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

My raised beds are just that - soil that is raised higher than the path ways, no edging material. Of course you can't have grass or weeds in the paths as it would run into the beds which slope at the edges. In the spring I throw dirt that has run into the paths back on the bed, which is great if you are growing annuals. So what I really have is a veggie garden with raised beds, I guess.

Years ago when the garden club made a couple of new beds near a fountain, we put down newspaper on the grass(6 sheets thick from our local paper which uses soy based ink), and had the city dump soil on top. It was several years before we put an edging around them. Looking back it seems illogical that it worked because we get hard rains here sometimes. But it did. May be you could try something similar, and slope the edge and push things into it to help the soil from moving. We always mulched it heavily all over which keeps soil in place and the soil was only 8 or 10 inches deep.

Get your soil in bulk if you can. Either get together with friends and neighbors one of whom hopefully has a pickup truck. Or you can order the smallest amount (of good loam from a reliable source) that you can get delivered, and hopefully share that expense also.

Good luck and have fun!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:07AM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Recycled washing machine tubs look surprisingly good as planters. We've been discussing over at Texas forum and they can be found around here for about $5.00. I plan to do some this fall when I get back to gardening.

Take a look, scroll down to the middle and be sure to open the link to Billie's garden for a real treat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Washing machine planters

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 5:28PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Der, sorry, I just noticed you said on your patio!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 6:09AM
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Thanks for the creative suggestions!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:21AM
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beatrice_outdoors(6a MA)

For a patio think container gardening as much as raised beds. And when it comes to containers, just about anything goes-if it can hold soil and have holes to drain, it will work.

Here is a link to the Iowa extension service page that talks about veggies grown in containers-it has a lot of good advice and suggestions on volume of soil, plant selection, etc. As a GJ'er, I'm sure you will come up with some wonderful ideas to make your patio garden unique and your own style!

Also check out the square foot gardening forum-if a plant can grow in one square foot, it would work in a container, and in the past I have grown cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini (the vines were awesome on a trellis!), and green peppers, all in square foot method in containers.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:10AM
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If you have any friends that have a ranch and feed cows out of the big plastic tubs, see if they will share when the tubs are empty. I have several that My DH drilled about 5 holes with 1/2" drill bit in and planted them witheverything from a crabapple tree to a vitex with daylilies, sweetpotato vine, buddleia, etc.. It takes 2 - 2cubic foot bags of dirt but they work really well. (I even have tomatoes in two of them which would do a whole lot better if we hadn't had over 100 degrees most of the summer - but that's a whole differnt topic).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 2:26PM
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sprout_wi(z4 WI)

I was just thinking about the same thing for my yard Kristin, and I think I might go with cinder blocks - the kind they use to make foundations on houses - they have the holes in them. I figured they are not too expensive (around $1 ea) conpared to retaining wall bricks, and I can use the holes to plant strawberries or herbs. They can be painted any color and I was thinking of having two rows, about 8 feet apart with an arbor joining them. Maybe with a grapevine growing up the arbor. Can you just see it?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:24PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Then in your spare time you can mosaic the cinderblocks! I just mention it because I've been wanting to mosaic a cinder block for the front garden with our house number on it. And to point out that they can be made beautiful.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 6:31AM
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Go to the square foot gardening section or do a search on cinder blocks. My whole vegetable garden is do with cinder blocks. Some are one level high, some are two high and even three high. I love them.

I have a grape arbor in my garden with grape vines on each side.

Good luck to you on however you decide to make your garden.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 1:13PM
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beatrice_outdoors(6a MA)

There is someone in my neighborhood who uses cinder blocks for her plantings-she only uses the INSIDE holes and has the blocks spaced around the yard. She even put some on the sidewalk to spruce it up. Very funky, very fun!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 9:07PM
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When I had a small balcony I'd put a couple big pots in a corner and then stack smaller ones on top. It made it look like one huge planter when using spillers (hanging plants/flowers) and some thrillers (tall plants/flowers). This year I painted some old and faded plastic pots with the spray paint made just for plastic and they looked brand new so it doesn't matter if you start off with matching pots or not. You could also turn a bigger pot upside down and stack another one on top of it. I also had a metal bakers rack shelf that I put plants on at one end of the balcony. When the flowers filled out it made a great separator between my balcony and the one next door.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 3:13PM
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