How To Grow Vegetables In Raised Beds.
Before we dig down and discover how to grow vegetables in raised beds let’s think about some of the reasons why we may need a grow in a raised bed in the first place…
Let’s face it – well maintained raised beds are visually striking. Having the plants elevated from the ground really do make them a sight to behold.
More Control –
Soil in most gardens can be poor quality and quite shallow for growing veggies in. With raised beds you can choose the quality of soil you use and how high you raise your bed. The higher you make your raised bed the the deeper the roots can go meaning a healthier plant, in theory.
There’s no doubt in our minds that raised beds are far easier to maintain as weeds from surrounding areas won’t be a problem anymore. You will, of course, still have to deal with occasional weed but removing them will be far less hassle as the amount you have to bend down is greatly reduced.
Pest Control –
We all know birds, bugs and other critters can be a real problem when trying to grow vegetables in the garden and that will still be the case in a raised bed, to a degree. The only difference with a raised bed is that pest control is easier to manage.
Birds can be deterred with row covers or netting, rodents can be deterred by adding metal cladding to the bottom of the bed whilst slugs and snails won’t really fancy the long vertical climb they’ll have to do. Even if one or two slugs or snails do make it to the top removing them will be very easy as locating them won’t be a challenge.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BEST PEST CONTROL OPTIONS ON AMAZON
You Can Get Growing Sooner –
With the sun hitting the sides of your raised beds the soil inside them will warm sooner than the soil elsewhere in your garden, in the springtime. This means you can get growing a little earlier than you normally would.
This is extremely good if you can’t wait to get out and get your hands dirty.
Traffic Control –
Have the kids, grand kids or pets ever trampled all over you small vegetable plants? With raised beds that won’t happen anymore. There’s no way your plants can get walked all over. This is great for obvious reasons but there’s another reason, too. Walking on the soil squashes it down and compacts it and that isn’t good for the air flow in the soil and drainage. Veggies grow better in soil that isn’t overly compressed.
Growing Vegetables In Raised Beds
Okay, so now we’re going to learn how to grow vegetables in raised beds. The first thing we need to do is choose a raised bed –
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BEST RAISED BEDS ON AMAZON
Once we have our raised bed it’s time to choose our location. Bare in mind plants love about 6 hours of daylight each day so do take that into consideration when constructing your raised vegetable bed. Also be sure to place the raised bed somewhere out of heavy weather such as winds. Maybe close to a fence or bush may be the best place?
Make sure you leave yourself enough room to be able to walk all the way round your raised bed so you can water and care for your vegetables.
Soil Preparation For A Raised Vegetable Bed
Now we’ve chosen the location of our raised bed for our vegetables we need to ‘double dig’ the patch of earth we intend to put our raised bed on. As raised beds are open at the bottom to allow the plant roots to access the soils nutrients deep down below we need to ‘DOUBLE DIG’ that patch of land.
Double Digging is about 24″ deep or in other terms – about two shovel blades deep.
We do this, not only to break up the soil, because it gives the gardener a chance to remove any rocks, tree roots or other debris that may potentially start to interfere with our new plants root growth.
Another reason to double dig is to check the soil quality. The soil below may be heavy with clay in which case you would have to add peat to aerate the area and to improve the drainage.
Best Vegetables To Grow In Raised Beds
Now you’re learning how to grow vegetables in raised beds you may also be curious as to which are the best vegetables to grow in raised beds. Below we’ve written (what we consider to be) the 5 best veggies to grow in raised beds.
1, Potatoes –
Potatoes grow extremely well in raised beds as they love loose, well drained soil which is exactly what a raised bed will provide. Spuds benefit from hilling up the soil around the shoots as they
grow and this is really easy to do with the soil in a raised bed.
The loose soil will also allow your potatoes to spread out easily and this will also be good for them.
Raised bed potato crops also tend to have a higher yield which is another added bonus.
2, Root Veggies –
When you’re looking at growing plants for their roots you need to keep them in perfect soil and that means being able to control that. Raised beds can be filled with whatever soil you desire whilst also extracting the badness such as rocks, clay or any other debris that may eventually have a negative effect on your roots.
Carrots, Parsnips, Radishes and Beets grow really well in looser soil where they can spread out easily.
3, Tomatoes –
Tomatoes are greedy and need constant nutrients to thrive so you’ll need to customise you’re soil so that it’s compost heavy. Looked after correctly tomatoes grow really well in raised beds but there is a small snag. As the soil in raised beds is loose it can be tricky to get tomato cages and stakes to stay upright.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BEST TOMATO CAGES ON AMAZON
4, Onions –
Onions will love the well drained soil in a raised bed and also flourish in the loose soil.
As with tomatoes they require plenty of organic matter so you will be able to cater the soil to the onions needs no problem in a raised bed.
Onions require a long growing season and if grown from seed will need over 100 days to mature. The soil in your raised bed will naturally be warmer and this will no doubt give your onions a head start for it’s long growing season.
5, Leafy Greens –
Leafy greens such as Kale, Spinach and Lettuce grow very well in raised beds. These cool weather veggies can be planted quite early due to the fact that the soil in a raised bed will naturally warm quicker than soil elsewhere. This is great as you should be able to get several harvests out of these guys before the summer hits.
Leafy greens really do not like soggy, wet soil but this won’t be a problem as the soil in raised beds drains super quick. Your leafy greens will love you for this 🙂
How To Grow Vegetables In Raised Beds – Conclusion
We hope you’ve learnt a lot from our how to grow vegetables in raised beds post and we hope you enjoyed the read as much as we enjoyed writing it.
There’s no doubt growing vegetables in raised beds can be very rewarding if done correctly. The main things to take into consideration are –
1, The types of vegetables you plan on growing.
2, Getting the soil quality correct for the specific veg you’re growing.
3, Protecting your small plants from the elements.
4, Making sure your raised beds are watered properly.
Although we haven’t touched on how often to water raised vegetable gardens it is very important. There are a few ways you can water your raised beds and because there is quite a bit of information to give you we decided to write a separate post called Raised Bed Watering Solutions and you can find that page by clicking here.
A Little Bonus –
As a little bonus we’ve included this short video which shows you how to build your own raised vegetable garden from scratch for free. You can buy them or build them but we thought this method was so great we just had to show you.. Enjoy 🙂