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Gardener’s Guide To Raised Vegetable Garden

Raised beds are ideal locations for growing a bountiful vegetable garden. Most garden vegetables thrive in warm, nutrient-rich soil, and enjoy full sun conditions, which are trademark qualities of a raised vegetable garden. Gardeners can control precisely what goes into the soil in raised vegetable gardens.

Beds can be all shapes and sizes and can be filled with lightweight, nutrient-rich soil that can easily be amended and produce higher yields in less space than traditional backyard gardens. The elevated, off-the-ground nature of raised beds keeps vegetable roots warmer, allows for season-extending planting and eliminates a lot of the bending and arduous prep-work and maintenance.

Check out our gardener’s guide to raised vegetable garden for robust and detailed tips for how to get the most out of your raised vegetable gardens.

Vegetable plants in a raised bed

Raised Vegetable Garden Ideas

There are so many great raised bed vegetable garden designs and ideas to choose from that come in an array of sizes and shapes.  From standard rectangles to tiered planting towers and more sustainable structures, there are endless possibilities for raised vegetable gardens. Peruse some of the options available to find the right design for your space and growing aspirations.

Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Materials

There is a multitude of materials for raised bed vegetable gardens such as rock, wood, metal, and brick.  Our gardener’s guide to raised vegetable garden suggests that you research and make sure that whatever material you choose is not chemically treated.  Chemically treated wood and other substances can cause toxins to leach into your garden soil and contaminate edible plants and their fruits.

Planning A Raised Vegetable Garden

It is essential to place your raised vegetable garden beds in the right spot in the yard to set them up for success. The amount of sunlight that shines upon your raised bed garden each day plays a key role in successfully growing a raised vegetable garden. You’ll also have to plan out what to plant and how to best place certain crops in the garden bed.

Here are some key considerations when planning your raised vegetable garden:

  • Most vegetable crops require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive and be maximum producers-the more sunlight the better in most cases.
  • Before planning out your raised beds, keep a keen eye out for how the sun casts its light upon your backyard.
  • Get a feel for how your raised vegetable garden will look before you construct it by using landscaper’s paint to line the proposed planting area. This will give you a real-time idea of how the garden will look, how big it will be and you can also start envisioning the layout of your vegetable plants.
  • Don’t allow taller varieties of vegetables to overshadow their neighbors. Plan to place taller varieties in the rear of the garden bed so that they do not block out the sunlight to shorter varieties.
  • Consider adding vertical gardening techniques into your raised vegetable garden plans to maximize space and yields. Place these at the rear of the garden bed.
  • Plan to allow vining varieties to spread over the edges of raised garden beds to capitalize on space.
  • You will need to provide water for your raised garden beds, so consider this when selecting your location. Ideally, you should set up your raised beds where you can have access to your hose.
  • Accessibility to your garden is key for weeding, pruning and harvesting. Consider this when planning and building your raised garden beds.  Make sure that you can access all sides of the raised beds and that you are able to reach your plantings.
A hand wearing garden gloves digging into soil

Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Soil

Soil composition is a key element to planting and growing vegetables in raised beds. Filling your raised bed vegetable garden is an opportunity for gardeners to get superior soil and to tweak the quality of their soil with beneficial soil amendments.

As plants consume nutrients, the soil needs replenishing by adding organic matter.  As a gardener, you are in complete control of the soil that your crops will be growing in. Luckily, there are products out there to help you ensure that you get your soil just right.

Raised Bed Garden Soil

Consider using Raised Bed Soil to fill up your garden beds. Sold by the bag, raised bed garden soil is specifically formulated for raised beds and is the ideal soil recipe for raised bed gardening.  Raised Bed Soil is formulated to be used as a stand-alone soil mix in a raised bed that sits on the soil or is wholly enclosed in a container.

It provides the picture-perfect opportunity to establish the most favorable growing environment for your plants. Organic Raised Bed Soil is well-draining and takes the guesswork out of determining the soil quality because it is already pH balanced to be between 5.8 and 7.5, which is optimal for growing vegetables.

Raised Vegetable Garden Soil Amendments

Even if you have top-notch raised bed soil in your vegetable garden beds, it is essential to amend your soil with organic matter and compost to replace the nutrients that are being readily used by the plants that grow there.

Top dress the soil in your garden beds twice per year by adding:

  • Rotted leaves
  • Well-decomposed compost
  • Worm castings
  • Feather meal
  • Decomposed poultry manure

Mulching a Raised Vegetable Garden

The rich, lightweight soil in a raised vegetable garden bed is ideal for optimizing root growth but the soil itself can be prone to moisture depletion. Consider adding a couple of inches of mulch to the top of the soil and around plants to help to retain moisture and regulate temperatures in the garden bed.

A protective layer of mulch will allow moisture to seep into the soil to the plants’ roots without being evaporated by the sun’s intense rays. Mulch also helps counteract and prevent soil erosion and soil compaction.

Planting A Raised Vegetable Garden

Some of your vegetable garden’s success will be directly related to what you plant in your garden and when you plant it.  It is vital to know what grows best in your USDA grow zone and what will not thrive where you live.  It is also crucial to have information on when to sow seeds indoors, plant outside, and when to expect harvests.  Some plants can tolerate transplanting and some seeds should be directly sown in the garden bed.

Many plants can benefit from companion planting and some make fantastic succession planting candidates. Vegetable planting charts by zone can help take away any ambiguity and acts as a crucial gardener’s guide to raised vegetable garden.

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woman's hand with gardening glove raking soil in garden.
close up of harvested vegetables in wooden tray.

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