“ Manufacturer: Haxnicks / Type: Planters „
We own several of these raised beds by Haxnicks for growing various vegetables in. We bought 3 last year from the Suttons seed catalogue when we found out that we still were nearly 5 years to go on the waiting list for an allotment and wanted to still to try to grow some vegetables with our young son.
The beds come in packs of one and are made from a very tough green plastic material with water holes stamped out of it. The holes are stamped out in a similar way to some material items I own such as wall hangings, with metal rings around the holes. This appears to be to stop there being damage from either the rain or the weight of soil in the beds. The holes we have found do provide sufficient drainage to stop the beds becoming water logged in the British weather so far. Along each long side of the bed there is a ridged pole which is sewn into the plastic material. This seems to help the bed keep its shape well and to stop the plastic turning in on itself. There are no other poles in the beds so the shape of them stays in place with the weight of the soil or compost inside the bed. The material over all is very well made with very little fading to the plastic after being in near full sun most of the day.
Last year when we decided to get these to try to grow some vegetables in we had in mind that we wanted to place then in our front garden which is never really been used as since we moved in it has remained a low maintance front garden with a few borders and stones in the middle. We placed the beds on these stones which seemed to suit them well and at the end of the growing session when we moved the beds there had been no damage underneath the beds from the stones so they were good to go again this year. One of the beds did get some damage when we try to move it around when it was full of soil by pulling on the side and a tear occurred underneath the stitching by the pole. The pole itself remained in its loop but the material beneath it ripped. However even with the rip this year when filling the bed it has still retained its shape.
To fill the beds it is straight forward with tipping a bag of compost into the bed. I have found that it does take a lot of soil to fill these generally 1 and a half 50 litre compost bags per bed. Emptying it at the end of the growing session is a bit trickier as you need to decant it by hand as if you move it full it will rip. After use if you are not growing any winter vegetables in them they fold down easily in half and take up little room in our garage.
What you can grow in these beds is down to personal choice however we have had good success last year, with beetroot, pumpkins, onions, pak choi and lettuce. This year we have planted very similar crops as we hope to have similar luck with our vegetable growing.
Overall I would definitely recommend these beds to people wanting to grow vegetables but don't have the space for a full allotment. They are robust and can be used year on year, it is just important to not move them when full so make sure you know where you want them placed before you fill them up. The depth is good for small crops such as onions beetroots and pumpkins but not deep enough for more traditional root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. They are available from a lot of garden centres and on line from places such as Sutton Seeds. At around £13 a bed you will get several years' worth out of them but they are an expensive initial outlay. Its 4 stars from me for the product, I am taking one star off for how they are hard to move when full.