At $95 for a crate (sans soil, seedlings or a liner) they’re one of the more expensive options to purchase (I have found cheaper both on Gumtree and at Maples on Canterbury (if you want something more bricks and mortar)).
That said, the Little Vegie Patch Co does claim to be the original and the best, and they certainly seem to have put more thought into how to do things like extend the longevity of the crate with their liner actually designed for the product.
They also make it really easy for you to see their product in action. They have some crates planted up on your way in to the shop:
How they stop people from harvesting the food growing in them is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they don’t mind.
They also have some cool displays within it:
Planted up they do look really nifty, and larger than I expected. For some reason 1.2mx1.2m seemed really small. It’s not.
As an aside, they also had some really nice looking things, like these retro styled seeds packets:
(I know, the packaging doesn’t really change the contents, and they were probably over priced, but they looked so very awesome all lined up like that).
They also had this nifty blackboard that told you which of those seeds you should be planting now:
The tomato one puzzles me slightly – I thought tomato seeds were meant to be in the ground sometime in July/August?
The Little Vegie Patch Co website says that the crates only last for about 5 years (though they claim that the liner can extend their useful life by another ten years or so), and the lady I spoke to at the shop confirmed the same. 5-7 years was the prognosis she gave me (and she didn’t even mention the liner).
And this sad crate that I saw on the way out seemed to confirm it:
It’s a bit hard to tell (I should have taken a photograph of the front) but it does seem much the worse for wear.
She also told me that you couldn’t really remove the base, as the sides were attached to it: remove the base and the whole thing falls apart.
These two things combined mean that I am unlikely to be purchasing a repurposed fruit crate as my raised garden bed. In fact, (pending anyone else coming up with yet another awesome alternative that I haven’t considered) I’ve decided to go with the metal raised beds from The Vegie Garden.
Now I just have to choose colours…
Have you visited The Little Vegie Patch Co? What did you think?