What Vegetables to Plant in Raised Garden Beds?

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Do you hate seeing food go to waste because you’re forced to buy more than you need? Do you crave fresh, crispy salads and earthy, roasted root vegetables?

If so, you’ll love having a vegetable garden. And raised bed veggie gardens have to be the best thing since sliced bread!

Raised beds can be put anywhere and used for almost anything. But they are particularly handy for vegetable gardening because of their accessibility. Not having to work on your haunches and knees makes the gardening experience infinitely more pleasurable.

Read on to find which veggies work best in a raised bed and when you should plant them to yield the best results.

What are the Best Vegetables to Grow in Raised Beds?

Most vegetables will thrive in raised beds because raised beds allow for better, more specific soil mixtures. They also make it easier to control pests and spreaders like mint, which can take over ground beds.

That said, certain veggies do particularly well in raised beds. If you’re just starting out, we suggest you consider the following tips to set you on the right path.

Vegetable #1 – Tomatoes

Once you have eaten home-grown, sun-ripened tomatoes, you’ll never buy another store tomato again! Treat yourself to a fabulous collection of different plants. Little cherry tomatoes create a delicious pop in salads. Big beefy ones are great for slicing for burgers.

Tomatoes

Stake or “cage” the plants early – trying to stake a developed plant risks damaging the branches. And always water the tomato roots directly to avoid leaf diseases developing (this is so much easier with a raised bed!)

Vegetable #2 – Peas

There’s nothing better than crunching down on sweet, juicy sugar snap peas as you work your raised bed. You’ll be lucky if any make it to the table, so plant a few! Snow peas and shell peas are also great in raised beds.

Peas

Plant pea seeds at the first signs of spring, a month or so before the last frost. They should be about two inches apart. Provide a trellis or netting for varieties that need staking.

Note: For balcony gardens, look for dwarf varieties like Patio Pride or Tom Thumb. They only reach up to six inches.

Vegetable #3 – Bush Beans

Bush beans are perfectly suited to raised beds. They come in a beautiful variety of colors, and some can be used as either snap beans or shelled.

Bush beans

Plant seeds after the last frost (they like warm soil.) Sow in rows spaced 18 inches from each other and plant seeds about 2 inches apart in the rows. Later thin those to create 6 inches of space from each other.

Vegetable #4 – Summer Squash

Thinly sliced and added raw to salads or roasted to bursting perfection, summer squash never fails to delight. Select a variety of shapes and colors, from yellow patty pans to striped heirloom zucchini. Don’t feel you need to serve only one kind at a time. They all go great together, so pick what’s ready and mix and match!

Summer Squash

Wait until after the last frost to sow seeds. And keep in mind that squash are greedy, so enrich your soil with compost or manure; for the best flavor, pick fruits often before they mature.

Vegetable #5 – Lettuce

Lettuce is a summer salad essential. Fortunately, it grows quickly from seed. Sow mid-spring directly in the soil, in bands of color – nothing looks prettier. Individually harvest leaves as needed from the outside. This will leave the plant free to continue producing from the center.

Lettuce

As your lettuce plants mature (send out stalks and flowers), you’ll find their leaves get bitter. However, bitter leaves can also be caused by insufficient water – lettuce is thirsty and needs a lot of water to keep leaves plump and crisp. Too much nitrogen can also cause lettuce to taste bitter. If you suspect your soil has too much nitrogen, try adding some wood ash.

Note: Arugula, spinach, and other greens grow equally quickly – follow the same principles.

Herb #6 – Chives

Chives are more a herb than a vegetable, but they are a hardy and beneficial addition to a vegetable garden. They give a lovely oniony zing to soups and salads but grow a lot faster than onions.

Chives

Plant in early spring 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Be sure to snip leaves from the base of the plant.

Concluding Thoughts

Raised beds make it easy to track crop rotation. But what vegetables to plant in raised garden beds? As you can see, we went through some of the best options above to get you started.

Change what you plant where with each new season. Different plants take different nutrients from the soil, so switching things around will help prevent nutrient depletion.

Consider planting herbs and flowers that help deter pests like basil, lavender, and pot marigolds. Companion gardening is a fabulous way to avoid using chemical pesticides on your food.

With a little effort and planning, you’ll be enjoying home-grown veggies for years to come.

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