How to Garden in Raised Beds for North Carolina


Gardeners at the National Gardening Association report that raised beds are the best way to grow most herbs and vegetables because they provide good drainage, are easier to reach and typically proffer fewer weeds. The soil and landscaping in North Carolina varies from the coast to the mountains. Much of the state has a clay foundation, which does not make for a good garden. A raised bed allows you to fill it with the correct amount of peat and nutrient-rich soil to ensure a hearty garden.

Step 1

Measure your gardening area and decide ahead of time the size and shape of your beds. Most raised gardens are rectangular or square, but they can be serpentine or round. Also consider whether your garden beds will be temporary or permanent. Gardeners at North Carolina State University report that beginner gardeners should start with no more than 25 square feet.

Step 2

Build a border with untreated wood, plastic or rocks if you plan on building a permanent garden. Simply stand the boards on their sides and nail them together at the corners so they form a border. Skip the box and use stakes to mark the four corners of your temporary garden.

Step 3

Loosen the dirt on top of the area where you plan to place the raised bed. Use a shovel or a mattock and turn the dirt over, going down a couple inches to provide drainage for your plants.

Step 4

Add soil over the bed to make it about 10 or 12 inches high. Mix about an inch of compost over the new mound you've created. Smooth over the mound to make it flat and to remove any large chunks or clumps that may have been in the soil.

Step 5

Surround the edges of the raised bed with mulch to help keep moisture inside. Use newspaper, wood chips or straw. A mulched edging also works well on temporary raised beds in order to keep the dirt in place and define the garden.

Step 6

Plant your vegetables by digging a small hole and placing the starter plants as deep as each one calls for. In a raised bed, you can usually plant vegetables and herbs closer together. Water generously and make sure you water regularly because raised beds require more water than regular flat beds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't make the bed too wide. Keep the width to about three or four feet, so that you can reach the entire garden without stepping on it.

Things You'll Need

  • Untreated wood
  • Shovel
  • Soil
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Starter plants


  • National Gardening Association: Raised bed gardening
  • North Carolina State University: Home vegetable gardening

Who Can Help

  • No dig Vegetable Garden: Clean, green and chemical free
Keywords: raised gardens, grow vegetables, North Carolina gardening

About this Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist who's spent more than 20 years doing in-depth research and reporting on trends in health care and fitness for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success," "Verve," and "American City Business Journals." In addition to sports and alternative therapies, Ray has extensive experience covering banking, commercial development and people. Ray has a bachelor's degree in journalism.