How to Garden Vegetables in Raised Beds
Instead of just working with the garden you have, you can create the one you want with raised garden beds. Customize your garden design and get easy access to fresh vegetables with these handsome growing boxes. These simple, good looking frames can bring you fresh food for years to come.
What's the Deal With Raised Beds?
Why grow vegetables in raised beds? For one, they are easier to maintain. You can reach them easily to weed the beds, care for the soil and harvest the produce.
It's much easier to maintain healthy soil in raised beds because you're working with a limited amount of soil. You can check and change your soil pH as needed and totally control the amount of moisture. Raised beds also drain well, and they're not as susceptible to invasive creep from nearby groundcover.
It doesn't cost much to build raised garden beds. All you really need is the wood, some hardware, soil, and seeds.
However, raised garden beds aren't perfect (what is?). Their soil can dry out more quickly than ground soil, and it's more susceptible to heat and cold. You also need to worry about space. Make sure there is enough room to walk between garden beds—you need them to be accessible from all sides.
Making Raised Beds
Raised garden beds are easy to construct. The hardest part is figuring out how much wood you need to create the dimensions you want.
If you want a garden bed that's 4x8 feet, use three 8-foot x 2-inch x 12-inch boards. Cut one in half and put it all together in a rectangular shape with 3.5-inch deck screws.
The beds should be eight to 12 inches deep to give the roots plenty of time to spread and grow. If you can, set them in a place that gets at least eight hours of direct sunlight every day.
What to Grow in a Raised Vegetable Garden
This is where the fun begins. Once you have your raised beds built, what are you going to plant in them? Start growing your own food to fill your meals with fresh, delicious ingredients.
Carrots are a low-maintenance plant that will add more than fresh veggies to your garden. Carrots attract butterflies, always a nice addition to any garden. Lightly broadcast seeds over the surface of the soil and then add about a half-inch of soil on top of them.
Plant cucumbers along the edges of the raised beds. When they begin to grow and flourish, they will trail over the side of the raised beds and add interest and depth to your garden.
It's very easy to plant and grow lettuce in raised garden vegetable beds. Use your finger to poke holes in the soul spaced at six inches apart. Add a few seeds to each hole, cover with soil and water. With enough water and light, the seeds will sprout and soon enough, you'll have fresh lettuce.
Aromatic and flavorful, onions are a perfect addition to any garden. Fresh onions can add a ton of flavor to just about anything you eat. Make a small, shallow hole in the soil with your finger.
Drop the bulb in and only slightly cover it with soil. The top of the bulb should be visible above the soil line. Ensure that the roots of the bulb are facing downward into the soil.
Fill your kitchen with nutritious fresh ingredients with spinach. Space seeds about an inch apart. If you have a bed that gets some light shade, plant your spinach here. Too much sunlight can cause the chard to taste bitter.
Raised garden beds were practically made for tomatoes. Keep the bed well watered and it will keep producing tomatoes for you. Tomato plant roots can grow out horizontally, so you don't need deep beds to grow them.