How to Prepare a Raised Garden

Overview

Raised garden beds are an option for gardening in small space or in areas with poor soil. Raised beds set on tables or other bases that are waist high also are an option for gardeners in wheelchairs or who cannot bend and kneel easily. Once the structures are in place, prepare raised beds for gardening.

Step 1

Decide what you will plant and plot your garden. A vegetable or food garden should be planted in phases: early spring, midspring, late spring, midsummer, late summer and fall. Consult your local garden center or county extension office for regional growing guides. For example, onions and beets and most herbs grow well in mid-spring; tomatoes should be started in late spring, and garlic grows well in the fall.

Step 2

Prepare the soil. Fill raised beds with soil either in bags or bought by the cubic foot. Using garden tools, mix in about 2 to 3 inches of rich compost or a fertilizer mix. This should be done for new soil as well as soil in existing beds.

Step 3

Water thoroughly. About a day before you plan to plant, your soil should receive a deep watering. Moisture drains away more quickly in a raised bed.

Step 4

Plant your garden. Plant seedlings or seeds directly into your raised bed. Leave enough space for larger plants to reach maturity. Tall plants that might need a trellis can be planted near the end of the bed.

Step 5

Mulch between plants, if needed. Because your plants are planted closer than in traditional gardens, weeds are not as a big of a problem. But use mulch if needed between larger plants such as tomatoes. Water after planting and mulching.

Tips and Warnings

  • Raised beds need more watering than regular beds.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Fertilizer or compost
  • Plants
  • Mulch
  • Spade, rake
  • Water hose or watering can

References

  • http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6985
  • "The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book." Catherine Abbott; 2010.
Keywords: raised beds, lightweight soil, food garden

About this Author

Carmel Perez Snyder is a freelance writer living in Florida. She attended the University of Missouri and has been a journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in the AARP Bulletin, the Oklahoma Gazette, the Amarillo Globe-News, and eHow.