Raised beds filled with nutrient-laden compost and soil create a perfect spot for planting vegetables and flowers. Raised beds are permanent structures within the landscape, so make sure they are situated in the optimal growing environment. Grow vegetables and herbs together for a multipurpose bed that produces delicious edibles. Plant perennials with the vegetables and herbs to add bursts of color to the landscape.
Herbs flourish and thrive inside raised containers because of the excellent drainage capability of the raised bed. To create a miniature herb garden within your raised bed, plant taller herbs like Italian parsley, dill and cilantro in the back of the bed. These herbs are taller and provide a backdrop for the smaller herbs. In the front of the bed, plant smaller herbs like basil, chives and sage. These herbs grow in clusters and help to fill out the garden bed. In the front, add creeping herbs like thyme and oregano. Both of these herbs meander around the bed and drape over the sides for a cascading effect. Most herbs need full sun to flourish so make sure the raised bed receives between four and six hours each day. During the summer months, and when water is scarce, sprinkle a 2-inch layer of mulch over the herbs. This will help to retain moisture and keep the herbs healthy.
Raised beds provide adequate drainage needed to grow your favorite vegetables. Vegetables do very well inside a raised garden where less space means more moisture. Cool season plants like lettuces and kale enjoy being tucked into raised beds. Leaf lettuce, a cool-season crop, makes great salads and is a raised bed must. These plants can be pulled apart for a bigger crop during the growing season. Kale and Swiss chard are both high producers during the cool season and can be grown alongside lettuces and other cool season crops such as broccoli. They, as all cool season crops, require sun to light shade. Along the front of the raised bed, add a small edible beanpole to raise your sweet peas and other beans.
Creeping nasturtium blooms look brilliant trailing over a raised garden bed. Nasturtiums are fast growers and trail along the ground with their bright green leaves. Their flowers bloom in shades of orange, yellow, red and maroon. Nasturtium blooms are also very fragrant.
Another lovely flower to plant inside the raised bed is cosmos. The cosmos blooms in the summer and last through the fall for a bright burst of color to the bed. Their daisy-like blooms contrast with their bright green foliage and create a mass of color inside the raised garden bed.