Raised vegetable beds are more convenient and efficient than traditional row plantings. Raised beds create ideal growing conditions with high quality soil and good drainage. Plants are closer together and easily cared for, producing a higher yield in a small space. The bed warms earlier in the spring, allowing earlier planting. Good irrigation is important since raised beds dry out faster than in-ground plantings.
Create a garden plan that takes maximum advantage of the space. Group vegetables together according to their maturity dates, so that an entire section of the garden is replaced at the same time. Plan to use the raised bed throughout the growing season. Have fall crops planned to replace the summer plants.
Plant seeds or transplants equal distances apart, rather than in rows. Allow enough room for the plants to just touch when mature. Follow the maximum recommended spacing on the seed packet.
Plant vining vegetables such as cucumbers, beans and tomatoes together in a row down the center or side of the bed. Provide a trellis or other support to grow these crops vertically.
Plant small, fast growing vegetables like radishes and lettuce between larger plants. Remove these plants as they mature, allowing more room as the larger plants grow.
Apply 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch around and between plants to help control weeds and retain water.
Water plants when the soil begins to dry out. Raised vegetable beds require more frequent watering. Apply 1 inch of water or more over the course of a week. A drip irrigation system or soaker hose is ideal for raised bed gardening.
Cover the beds with plastic or blankets during periods of freezing weather. Open the covers during the day for ventilation.