What could be better than herbs and vegetables growing just outside the back door? No weeds? No back-breaking bending over? As long as there is a wish list, how about making the whole thing beautiful?

Terry and I are using attractive elevated planters by Gronomics this year to produce vegetables, herbs and flowers. We'll document everything, from construction, planting, maintenance and harvest, throughout the growing season and we welcome your questions and comments. We will rate our experience and give candid reports on what we like and what we would prefer changed. There are two planter styles; one is natural Western Red Cedar and the other one sealed with tung oil. According to Mike Rivard with Gronomics, the tung oil is an organic, food-safe option. One planter will weather naturally and the other one will have the tung oil as a sealant.

These elevated planters are deep enough for most any vegetable and ergonomically designed, so that gardeners with mobility issues, or in a wheelchair, find them accessible. They are popular in nursing homes and assisted living communities, giving residents incentive to spend time outdoors and gardening. They also make a great option for apartment dwellers and those who garden in small spaces.

Shipping was fantastic. The planters were shipped on the 18th and Melody's arrived on the 21st and Terry's a day later; it would be possible to have one delivered for Mother's Day if there is a gardening mom in your life. The instructions indicate that the planters usually take about 5 minutes to set up and no tools are necessary. We decided to put it to the test. It took 5 minutes from the time Melody popped the box open until the landscape fabric was laid on the bottom. Her images below show the whole process from start to finish.


My Fed-Ex driver, Jeremy, delivered these. He's new, and it will take a little while for him to get used to dropping off odd packages at my house. My UPS driver David and mail lady Carol are never surprised at what they bring me anymore.


The well packed boxes and the aroma of cedar greeted me when I opened them.

Instructions packed with the planter were clear and concise.


I unpacked the first box and arranged the pieces to give everyone an idea what was in the carton.


I assembled the planter with the tung oil coating first. It had a pleasant odor and was just a touch oily. I enjoyed it, but some of you might prefer to use gloves.


The sides have a lip that the bottom slats fit on. You can control the depth of the planter by flipping this board over.

I chose to make the planter as deep as possible, which is 11".


Notches in the bottom slats fit neatly around the legs. The bottom slats do not fit tightly. There is about a half inch space between each slat whan they are all installed.

dove tail posts and rails

Dove-tail joints fit perfectly and the sides slide into place with ease

all rails inserted

The side boards stack right in the slots and it was a simple process to construct.


Pre-drilled holes in the decorative caps screw right on to the posts.


A liner of landscape fabric is supplied and you simply unfold it on the floor.

landscape fabric

The liner comes upon the sides just a few inches, but it is enough to keep everything neat and tidy. We've had over 8 inches of rain since I filled the planters with soil and they remain tight and leak-free.

planters done

My elevated planters completely assembled. The tung oil coated planter is on the left, the natural one is on the right.

We both found the instructions simple and well written. The planters assembled easily and within the estimated time-frame. No tools were necessary in the planter construction, although Melody used a flat screwdriver to pop the boxes open, since they were stapled. They are sturdy and stable when they are finished. Gardeners who have physical limitations find them at a perfect height to use while standing, or seated in a chair.Terry and I welcome your questions and comments. The next installment will document filling the planters with growing mix and planting our crops! What would you like to see us grow? Naturally, we'll have tomatoes, peppers and some herbs. I'm planning on flowers here and there for color too. We would really like to use these elevated gardens for as many edibles as possible, so suggestions are welcome!