Mini-Raised Beds: Smart Pots (Part 1)

In Houston, vegetables grow best (actually, only grow) in raised beds. These beds allow great drainage and keep the plants from rotting during heavy rain periods and flooding.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been looking for ways to add edibles to my existing landscaping. The bee/butterfly/native landscaping is finally growing strong and the soil systems and structures are getting established, so I don’t want to tear it all out and start from scratch to install traditional raised beds.

smart pot mini-raised bed

Smart Pot used for growing carrots in a curb-side flower bed.

The whole point of The Reclaimed Garden is to make the most of what I have, so I’m looking for options for adding mini garden beds into the bald/open spots in the existing landscaping. A neighbor has a fully integrated garden with edibles growing side-by-side with shrubs and flower. The tiny front yard landscaping is beautiful, full of pollinators and produces tons of food. She uses these Smart Pots for her vegetables…in effect, they are mini-raised vegetable beds.

Smart Pots look like they are very versatile:

  • They come in lots of sizes – pots from 1 to 400 gallons and “kiddie pool” shaped planting beds in 50 and 100 gallons.
  • They can be placed in small places and camouflaged by planting other plants in the native soils around it.
  • Quick and easy to use – unfold, place, fill with soil, boom!
  • smart potThey are portable, so you can reuse them and move them around from season to season.
  • They connect to the underlying soil structures so water, air and soil bacterial communities can move back and forth between the soil in the Smart Pot and in-situ soils.
  • You can cut holes in the sides of the pots for pocket-planting for strawberries and cascading flowers.

Update: I started using Smart Pots in my garden. It took a little tweaking to make them work in my garden. Click here to see what I learned and how I use them.

For another mini raised-bed idea, check out these mini raised-vegetable beds made from old plastic tree pots.

smart pot - big bed bag