Container gardening is a perfect way to transform that space you didn’t think was usable into one that’s bursting with thriving, productive plants. I’ve experimented with many different materials for container gardening over the years- including raised beds build with cinder blocks, growing in 5-gallon buckets, and a variety of pots/planters.
They all have their pros and cons, and I’m always interested in trying something new. So when Vego Garden reached out to me to ask if I’d be willing to test one of their metal raised beds, I was happy to say yes.
In this post, I’ll be walking you through my Vego Garden review from unboxing, assembling, and filling it up. If you’re on the fence about adding one or more Vego Garden beds to your garden, I hope my experience helps you make the decision that’s right for you.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Vego Garden Information
Vego Garden was founded in 2020 and is based in Houston, Texas. I really admire the intent behind the brand: Build a modular garden system from long-lasting materials that give gardeners the freedom to adapt their raised beds to their space. If you’re interested, you can read more about Vego Garden’s background.
Vego Garden offers a variety of modular raised beds- the one I’m testing out in this post is the 17-inch 10-in-1 Modular Raised Bed Garden Kit. Other size options include round beds, L-shaped beds, and extra-tall 32-inch beds. You can see a complete list on the Vego Garden products page. There are also several Vego beds on Amazon as well.
Vego Garden offers their raised beds in four color options:
- Pearl White
- Modern Gray
- Olive Green (this is the one I chose)
- British Green
Vego Garden makes their raised beds from Alzunic steel. This means that each panel has a central layer of steel surrounded on both sides by an Alzunic powder-coated finish. Alzunic steel is an alloy of aluminum, zinc, and silicon that forms a corrosion-resistant barrier to the underlying steel. It has higher durability than traditional galvanized steel, and it is a food-safe material that won’t leach chemicals into the soil.
Are Metal Garden Beds Good?
Galvanized metal raised garden beds have been on the market for a while, but are they as good as the old reliable wooden beds?
The answer is yes, metal raised garden beds are safe and have several advantages over wood.
Regular steel is prone to rust and corrosion, but most brands that make garden beds coat the steel in a weather-resistant coating. I especially like that Vego Garden carefully crafted their beds to be non-toxic and have an extremely high resistance to both heat and moisture damage.
That construction means that a galvanized metal garden bed can last for up to 20 years, while you’ll be pretty lucky to get 10 good years from most wooden beds.
Also, much of the wood used for garden beds is treated to prolong its lifespan. While the newest wood pressure treatments are less toxic than the older ones, they still involve chemical processing. In my opinion, it’s best to avoid those whenever possible.
Another great feature of metal raised beds is their heat deflection- especially if you choose a light color. This helps keep a more steady temperature for your plants and may mean less watering for you during the summer.
What’s in The Vego Garden Box
This is a kit that contains unassembled pieces.
The box contains:
- 4 rounded corner panels
- 4 2-foot side panels
- 4 1.5-foot side panels
- Bag of nuts, screws, and washers
- Internal support rods
- Instruction booklet
- Decorative Vego Garden sticker
There are 10 different configurations that you can use your panels to make, as seen on the box:
We chose to do the 4.5 x 7 foot option.
Preparing for Assembly
My husband and I worked on this project together, and we were able to do most of the assembly process by hand, but I did find that a power drill for the final screw tightening was a good idea. I also used a kneeling mat while inserting the panel screws to save my knees- I highly recommend it!
As always, the first step to a successful assembly project is to read the directions. The instructions are very clear and straightforward, but there are a couple of points that you may not understand if you don’t read the instructions. So I recommend not skipping this step.
Each panel comes with a protective plastic sheet on both sides to prevent scratching during transport. You’ll have to remove the film before doing any assembly. It’s easy to do, but it does take some time.
One thing I noticed right away was that each panel was lightweight but still feels sturdy and high-quality. The panel edges and screw holes had smooth edges with very few scratchy burrs. While I still advise caution around any piece of metal with holes/edges, I didn’t feel like I was going to get scratched at any time.
Organize all the components and make sure you understand how to use them. Vego Garden uses two types of nuts for assembling the panels:
- Standard nuts that are an open hexagon (in the left hand in the photo)
- Capped nuts with a rounded tip (on the right hand in the photo)
The capped nuts are intended for the top two screws on each panel, and their function is to protect your hands from scrapes while you’re filling and planting the bed in years to come. I think that’s a really thoughtful detail, and I appreciate Vego Garden for adding it!
In this photo, I’m holding the hardware for the internal support bars. The rods help provide a sturdy structure for added durability in the coming years.
Assembling the Vego Garden Bed
I started assembling my bed with the straight side panels. Stand up two panels with the screw holes lined up, and place a washer on the outside. Insert the screw and fasten on the inside with a nut:
Be sure to use the capped nuts on the top two screws. You can see that a little better in this photo:
I chose to overlap all my panels in the same direction, just to keep the seams all going the same way. But that’s optional- it will work any way you choose to put the panels together.
Once I finished both of the straight sides, I moved on to the corner panels:
After this, you’ll have four large sections assembled- two straight sides and two curved ends. Attach the side panels to the end panels to make a complete bed.
At this point, I used a power drill to tighten all the screws in place. If you don’t have a drill, a screwdriver will get the job done.
Now it’s time to insert the internal support rods. They go on the third screw from the top- it’s the first one without a capped nut on it. Place the rod on the screw on one side, then on the opposite side:
Then I used a screwdriver to hold the screw in place while I turned the rod to tighten it on the screw end:
Finally, clip on the protective plastic strip along the bed’s upper edge. This weatherproof strip fits over the corners of each panel, so there’s less risk of rust, and it also helps prevent pokes and scratches on your hands.
One note: The plastic material is a little rigid, and it takes a little extra elbow where panels overlap. So be prepared to spend a few minutes on this step.
Now your bed is completely assembled and it’s time to place it where you want it and start getting it filled up!
How Long Does It Take to Assemble a Vego Garden Bed?
Working as a team, it took my husband and I about 45 minutes from opening the box to having the Vego Garden bed completely assembled. I imagine that time would drop with the second or subsequent assemblies.
Filling the Vego Garden Bed
Most vegetables and flowers love partial to full sun, so place your Vego Garden bed where it will get the most sun exposure possible. But just do your best- the spot where I put my bed doesn’t get as much sun as I’d like, but it’s what I have available.
Over the course of several days, I used a spin on hugelkultur to fill my bed. That means laying down various layers of organic material that will break down over time and create rich, moisture-conserving soil for years to come. It’s also a less-expensive way to fill a garden bed if you can source your bottom layers for free. Otherwise, you’ll be investing a lot of money to fill the entire bed with soil.
You want your bed to be as level as possible- use topsoil to fill in any low areas.
Here’s a closer look:
Once that was done, I laid down a layer of cardboard as a weed barrier. Use any non-colored boxes you have around the house- just be sure to remove as many labels and tape as you can. Break the boxes down flat, and overlap them to get as solid of a layer as possible:
The next layer is a wood-chunk layer. I got these from my Dad who lives on a large wooded lot:
But I have a couple of cautions here.
You do not want freshly-cut wood chunks or chips. New wood leaches nitrogen out of the soil for about 2 years after being cut from a living tree, so that can leave your garden plants low on nitrogen. All this wood was from fallen trees on my Dad’s property, and it had been sitting around for quite some time. If you can get wood that’s already partially rotted, that’s the most ideal.
The second thing to know is to never use wood from any walnut (particularly black walnut) trees or cedar trees. Both these trees have chemical compounds that inhibit plant growth, so keep them out of your garden bed.
Next came a layer of straw from a farmer friend’s barn sweepings:
Straw is excellent for retaining moisture, especially if it’s aged. Just make sure to get it from a weed-free source, and if you can find an organic source, that’s the best!
Here are some other materials you can use to fill your Vego Garden bed:
- Branches and sticks from your yard
- Grass clippings from untreated lawns
- Chopped or shredded fallen leaves
- Weed-free hay (organic is preferable)
- Fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps
Now I’m ready for soil- this is the only layer I had to pay for:
I ordered bulk soil from a local garden supply company. It’s a blend of topsoil, sand, and compost, so it has a nice, light texture that’s specifically meant for raised beds.
Do not fill your bed with products labeled “garden soil” or “topsoil;” these are meant to be used in the ground for traditional garden plots. They’re far too heavy for any kind of container gardening, and they’ll just become a hard block in your Vego Garden bed.
Now this bed is ready for planting!
Bottom Line: Is a Vego Garden Raised Bed Good?
After going through the entire assembling and filling process, my opinion is that the Vego Garden 10-in-1 modular bed is a great product with high-quality materials and excellent construction.
The things I liked about this bed were:
- Heat- and weather-resistant materials that should last for many years
- Lightweight yet strong construction
- Smooth edges and screw holes on panels
- Capped nuts to cover the upper screws
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Internal support bar for added strength
- Variety of size configurations to fit any area
In all honesty, I can’t come up with a way that this bed disappointed me. Granted, this is the initial setup so I haven’t seen its performance over time. But I have no reason to anticipate any problems at this point.
As far as cost, you will be making an investment to get your Vego Garden beds- they’re not a cheap purchase. However, I’ve seen them run quite a few sales, especially around holidays, so that’s a great way to save a little cash.
Another nice thing: As of the time of publishing this post, ground shipping to the contiguous U.S. is free!
Frequently Asked Questions about Vego Garden Beds
I hope this review has been helpful to you in deciding whether a Vego Garden bed is the right choice for you and your garden plans. In my opinion, this is a high-quality, non-toxic garden bed that should last for many growing seasons. I feel great recommending this bed to anyone who wants to add some growing space to their home!
I’d love to hear from you! Are there any other questions you have about setting up and filling a Vego Garden bed? Or maybe you’ve got some helpful tips to share that you’ve picked up working with a metal garden bed. We learn best as a community, so please let us know in the comments!