Urban Elevated Planter from CedarCraft: Product Review
Elevated planters seem to be all the rage these days, and with good reason. With the planting bed at waist height you don’t need to bend over to garden and most garden pests, such as rabbits and voles, can’t get at your plants (although squirrels and raccoons can get at pretty much anything). And if you use a good raised bed planting mix, you’ll eliminate the problems associated with soil-borne pathogens and weeds.
Elevated planters come in a range of sizes but most are 2 feet wide and either 4 or 8 feet long, making them perfect for use in a smaller space.
Made From Reclaimed Wood
The Urban Elevated Planter from CedarCraft is made from untreated, reclaimed Western Red Cedar. No trees are cut down to make Cedarcraft planters – the company uses only leftover pieces of lumber that would normally be scrapped. So rather then long pieces of wood, the planter looks like it’s been patched together with cedar of different colors, sizes and shapes. The end effect is beautiful.
- Outer dimensions: 30.5″ W x 37″ L x 29″ H
- Planting area: 27″ W x 35.5″ L x 8″ D
- Soil Capacity: 5 cu. ft. / 128 qt.
Quick and Simple to Assemble
The CedarCraft urban raised planter arrives in one box. There are no tools required to assemble it, just eight dowels that are included in the packaging.
Assembly instructions are illustrated to make it easy to put together. If you lose the instructions, you can also find a downloadable PDF on the CedarCraft website.
My husband and I had the whole thing put together in less than five minutes. His reaction? “Wow, that was incredibly easy!”
Well-Designed & Built
I was surprised at how well made the planter is. All of the parts are beautifully finished with no rough edges. They fit together precisely with no wobbling or looseness in the joints. All of the pieces have been precisely manufactured to exact tolerances.
The planter has one drainage hole in the middle. If you live in areas with a lot of rain, you may want to drill one or two more holes in the bottom of the planter to ensure adequate drainage.
There’s a shelf underneath the planter itself so you can put gardening gloves, weeding tools, a small watering can, or anything else you need on that shelf. The one negative is that the drainage hole from the planter above lets water drain straight down onto the shelf so don’t put anything there that can’t get wet.
Filling the Urban Planter
The Urban planter holds 5 cubic feet (128 quarts) of potting mix. Depending on the bag size, that’ll be 2 or 3 bags.
As with any elevated planter, don’t use garden soil! You want a mix that’s weed-free, holds enough moisture but drains well, is light-weight, and ideally one that contains plenty of organic matter to provide nutrients for your plants.
Because I grow vegetables in my elevated planters, I use only organic mixes (check that they’re OMRI listed) that have plenty of compost. I like the Raised Bed mix from Kellogg Garden Products. It’s made with composted forest products and is full of goodies like bat guano, kelp meal and worm castings. Be aware that it’ll smell like a barnyard for a few days but the smell dissipates quickly. It comes in 2 and 3 cubic foot bags so two larger bags will fill the Urban planter.
Before filling the planter, make sure that the plastic liner is in place and that you’ve cut a hole in the bottom that lines up with the drainage hole in the planter. Forget to cut the hole and you’ll end up with nothing but a mud puddle in the planter, especially after a heavy rain!
What to Grow in the Urban Planter
The planter isn’t particularly large, so it’s perfect for a smaller space such as a deck, patio, or balcony.
The planting box is only 8 inches deep, meaning that it’s not appropriate for deep rooted or very tall plants that would need staking. However, you can grow a variety of herbs, vegetables and flowers that don’t need more depth. And by planting more closely than you might in a larger garden, you can grow enough vegetables to keep your kitchen stocked most of the season.
In spring, I filled mine with two Super Bush tomatoes, 9 bush beans, two varieties of squash, and a whole bunch of perennial wildflowers that I’m growing on before moving them into the garden. Over the winter, I grew lettuce, spinach and radishes with great success.
Can Dry Out Quickly in High Heat
Here in Tucson, humidity is generally in the single digits and the blazing sun bakes most things to a crisp. The plastic liner in the Urban Planter has helped to reduce evaporation through the sides of the planter, but it still needs watering at least once a day (usually twice) during the summer. In many parts of the country the 8-inch depth would be fine, but here in the desert it’s simply too shallow to retain enough moisture during the hottest months.
Because the Cedarcraft Urban Planter is made from Western Red Cedar, there’s no need to seal or protect it. Cedar has a natural resistance to rot, fungus and insects. Over time, the wood will change color and become slightly grey.
I love the color of weathered cedar but if you want to preserve its original color or darken it, you can stain the outside of the planter. You’ll need to repeat that periodically to maintain the color. CedarCraft sells a protective wood oil in four colors. It contains no petroleum distillates and is safe for use around children and pets. There’s no need to stain or seal the inside of the planter.
All planters from CedarCraft have a 5 year warranty, although you do need to register your product (you can do that online) within 60 days of purchase.
The Urban Planter is well-made, good-looking and practical. I’d have liked to see the planting area be a little deeper to allow for a greater variety of plants and so it doesn’t dry out so quickly in hot weather. Be aware that over time some of the parts will twist or warp a little (which is not unusual for wood, particularly when exposed to fluctuating temperatures and weather); this is mostly an aesthetic issues and shouldn’t affect the stability of the planter.
Where to Buy
The Urban Planter from CedarCraft sells for $199.99 plus shipping (generally $9.95) on the CedarCraft website. Update 2/18: The Urban Planter is no longer available, but many are very similar. You could try the 34″ x 49″ x 30″ Elevated Garden Planter – available on Amazon ($229.99) or on the CedarCraft website ($249.99).
Now over to you – Have you tried an elevated planter before? How did it work? Let us know in the comments below!
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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank CedarCraft for giving us a free planter to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.
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