The things that I need to consider include:
- price (!)
- price over time/how long they will last
- ease of assembly
These are made of 98% recycled plastic. They say they will not break. They will last for ages. They come in five colours (I am favouring black). There are a large number of size variations available and hoops/netting as well. The sets can be stacked to make deeper beds,which is what I am looking for. If I move I can pick them up and take them with me. I would imagine they would have some resale value if needed. These are less expensive than many of the wooden and plastic systems out there. The company is well established, so if I like them, it is likely I can add to my collection year after year. I am not 100% sure I want plastic in my garden. But I believe that a product which will last for ages is good for the environment.
You can make your own fairly inexpensively with treated or untreated timber. Or you can look at some of these sites for their ready to build sets.
Harrod Horticultural I am looking at their "allotment" series, which is a value range.
Recycle Works Their beds slot together easily and they have good prices.
Green Fingers These folks have a bewildering array of beds available!
Make sure to look for FSC-accredited wood. All of these companies have a wide variety of types, sizes, and price ranges. Wooden beds which have been treated have some risk of leaching chemicals into the crops, supposedly. The untreated versions would rot within a few years. These systems can cost about the same as the plastic system above, but may only be guaranteed up to five years. Wood looks nice....
I have considered trialing a couple of different kinds. I will be pouring over these websites for the next few weeks and wrestle with my budget a bit...and let you know what I have decided.