How to Grow Vegetables in a Raised Bed

Overview

Save space, yet still produce a bounty of vegetables when you grow them in a raised bed. The raised bed gardening allows you to space plants closely, facilitating intensive gardening, the method used to produce high yields in small garden spaces. Another benefit is the lack of weeds; they don't have the extra room between rows to grow. Save time and work when you use raised beds to grow vegetables.

Step 1

Break up any existing soil in the raised bed, with a rake, down to the bottom of the bed. Continue raking the soil until loose.

Step 2

Fill the raised beds to the top with a commercial potting soil or homemade mix. Buy a premium mix from a garden center. Or mix one-third vermiculite, one-third peat moss and one-third compost, all available from garden centers, for a homemade mix. Free or cheap compost may also be available from local farms or city compost programs.

Step 3

Water the new soil until moist, but not saturated.

Step 4

Place vegetable plants and seeds in the soil. Pay particular attention to spacing requirements--found on seed packets and plant tags. Follow the directions to determine how to space seeds and plants. When using the intensive gardening method, don't space in rows; the distance from each seed or plant should be measured from the center of one plant to the center of the next. Dig a hole for transplants--deep and wide enough to fit the roots and the base of the plant. Make a small indention in the soil with your finger to plant seeds. Most seeds should be planted about 1 inch deep.

Step 5

Plant shade-tolerant, heat-intolerant plants, such as lettuce or spinach, around taller growing plants like tomatoes and corn. They will receive the benefits of being shielded from the heat, whereas if grown directly in the sun they often wilt or go to seed.

Step 6

Plant crops successively. Plant a cool season crops like lettuce and peas in the spring, warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers after harvesting the lettuce and peas and more cool season crops in the fall when the tomatoes and peppers have stopped producing.

Step 7

Place trellises and cages around plants that can grow vertically to maximize growing space in your raised bed. For example, if you're growing tomatoes, place a cage around the tomato plant, or if you're growing pole beans, place a trellis behind the row of beans so they can climb up it.

Step 8

Water the raised beds daily with a stream of water from a hose, unless it rains. Watch the dryness of the soil carefully. Raised beds tend to dry out faster than gardens in the ground. Water whenever the soil appears dry. Poke your finger through the top of the soil. If you cannot feel moisture, it's time to water.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Vegetable plants and seeds
  • Trellises or cages

References

  • Purdue University Extension: Container and Raised Bed Gardening
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Vegetable Garden: Intensive Gardening Methods
  • North Carolina State University Extension: Intensive Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: raised bed gardening, raised bed vegetables, intensive gardening bed

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.