Your first thought on seeing the name of this product might be “Yeah, sure.” But Garden in Minutes is aptly named. It’s an easy-to-use, effective raised bed system with an integrated watering system that’s customizable for any size of garden. It’s hard to beat for convenience and ease of setup.
Garden in Minutes Kit
A large box, weighing about 43 pounds, contains everything you need (except soil, of course) to set up a raised bed. All you have to do is add soil – and the kit comes with a chart that tells how many cubic feet of gardening soil it will take to fill your raised bed.
There are kits available in a variety of sizes and you can easily expand on a kit yourself. I tested the company’s 4-foot by 4-foot square bed kit, their most popular option.
Four cedar boards make up the raised bed frame. The 2 x 8 boards (measuring 7-3/4 inches high and 1-3/4 inches thick) are cut to size (but not sanded, so watch for splinters) and have pre-drilled holes on the corners. Metal pins (like large bolts) are included that slip into the predrilled holes.
And the best part of the Garden in Minutes kit? The predesigned and mostly preassembled garden grid watering system in the same box.
Instructions, a plant spacing guide, and the watering system connectors come in a paper bag, which I love. No plastic trash! The bag also contained a packet of lettuce seeds, perfect for my planned use of the kit.
Putting the Raised Garden Together
I’m not kidding when I say this is one of the easiest gardening projects I’ve ever done. You just unpack the boards with the pins taped in place and set the first one in your prepared area. The cedar boards, used for the sides of the raised bed, have precut notches and holes; you just slip the notch into the hole, straighten the corner and push in the pin. It works much like the old dovetail furniture technique.
Keep going until you attach all four sides. It really is that simple and took just minutes to fully assemble.
It is important to prep and level the area first, but that’s true of any raised bed you make or buy. We tilled the ground under the spot because it was super compacted. I grew greens, which have shallow roots, but if you plant a root crop, large plants or perennial herbs in the garden, the roots eventually reach deeper than the bed height.
Make sure the ground around the bed is fairly level before setting up the Garden in Minutes. We leveled our boards before adding soil. Other than that, we needed no tools at all.
The instructions were easy to follow, and include how to expand the bed if you desire.
Putting the Garden Grid Watering System Together
The grid watering system that comes with the Garden in Minutes kit is even more brilliant than the raised bed. The drinking-water quality plastic grid comes in two sections. All you do is put them together in the middle, twisting or wiggling the connections for each row, and then place it in the bed.
A tiny strip on the top lets you know if the holes that will water your bed are pointed in the direction you prefer.
Once the watering grid is in place, add the tube that feeds the system (also included) and connects to a standard garden hose. It also just twists on.
The kit includes a manual timer and single water flow valve.
The process is almost too simple to believe and worked right out of the box. The timer is easy to operate, with just a dial turn you set to total minutes. You could always add a programmable timer if you want, like the HydroLogic timer from Melnor.
The one-way water flow valve allows you to control pressure to the watering grid right at the raised bed, not back at your faucet. Depending on your water pressure at the spigot and the diameter of the garden hose you use to feed the watering grid, the valve can be used to have water emitted as anything from a slow drip to a bubble to a spray.
All the parts assembled easily and worked as designed.
You can set the flow rate or lightly twist each square’s tube to adjust how much water some areas of the bed receive.
Filling and Growing in the Raised Bed
The Garden in Minutes kit’s included table said we needed 12 cubic feet for the 4 x 4 bed we tested. We filled it nearly to the top of the sides to allow for settling.
I planted several kinds of lettuce and other greens in the squares after setting up the water grid. This is another great feature, helping you layout and divide plants or seeds to work around the grid and receive plenty of water.
Your gardening is made even easier by the plant spacing guide that comes with the Garden Grid, telling you how many common vegetables you can plant per square. Although the instructions don’t specifically refer to “square-foot gardening”, the 1 x 1 foot grid it perfectly set up for that kind of intensive cropping. I admit I loved the structure and symmetry of the system, which makes square-foot gardening so easy.
The lettuce grew really well in the Garden in Minutes bed. My only problem was squirrels feeding on some of my seedlings. I put some row cover over the bed, which also is easy because you can clamp the fabric right onto the sides of the raised bed.
I love the square shape and 4-foot size of the Garden in Minutes system, but if you’d prefer another size or shape the kits come in various sizes, from 2 feet by 2 feet (or 1 foot by 4 feet) and up. You can buy expansion boards to make your raised bed larger, shaped differently, or create a tiered system.
The timer makes it really easy to water in the morning (or any time, really). Before leaving for work, just set the timer to the number of minutes you want the water to flow and it will cut off the water after your selected number of minutes. That saves water, and in turn, money.
The company also sells some accessories separately, such as one-way and two-way flow valves, timers and short lengths of garden hose to connect water grids for expansion to larger or tiered beds. Most of these can also be purchased at your local garden center or hardware store.
According to the co-founder of the Garden in Minutes, “our warranty, for most everything, is a case by case basis. However, in the rare instance of defects or damage, we immediately send out a replacement product to the customer”.
We’ve built several raised beds over the years, and seen other people build them out of unsafe or flimsy materials. A lot of measuring and cutting go into building a nice level raised bed, and that doesn’t even account for attaching sides with screws or joints. Then, you have to devise a water system that will cover the plants evenly. Ugh.
This system is so simple. You can quite literally set it up in minutes without any tools and then enjoy the rest of your evening or weekend. It’s compact enough to place in a small yard (but also available in larger sizes), comes with free seeds (always a plus in my book!) and stands up well to weather and aging (mine still looks great after a full year of use).
The kit makes great sense for busy individuals or families who want to grow some of their own food. Unlike pressure-treated or recycled wood, the rot-resistant cedar boards won’t leach chemicals that can contaminate your food.
If you’re looking for a way to evenly water an existing garden bed, the Garden Grid Watering System can be purchased separately. It installs just as easily as the raised bed kit and works extremely well to ensure even and adequate coverage throughout the entire bed.
I would recommend Garden in Minutes (both the full kit and the grid watering system) for experienced and novice gardeners alike. Anyone who wants to grow but has little time, hates math, doesn’t have many tools (or would prefer not to use them), has little space, or just wants to spend more time enjoying the fruits of their “labor” will benefit from this product.
Where to Buy
You can buy any size or configuration of a Garden in Minutes kit directly from the company or on Amazon (see below). The kit I tested sells for $200, which seems pricey at first. But consider all you get for the price. High-quality, precut boards (and no leftover pieces), the hardware to hold the boards together, a watering system, valve control, and manual timer. And no need for tools.
Amazon offers the Garden Grid Watering System in various configurations, including the 4′ x 4′ version I tested. The watering system alone is well worth considering for your garden; it makes evenly watering a square-foot vegetable garden (or any kind of garden bed) so much easier.
Garden in Minutes Set
Garden Grid Watering System
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