How to Plant in Raised Berms & Beds


Raised beds or berms offer gardeners the option to plant when poor-draining or infertile soil would otherwise make it impossible. Raised beds can even improve adequate soil by helping drainage, nutrition, air and water circulation. The soil in a raised bed can be customized to suit any plant, and since it is never tread upon, it will never become compacted. When planting in a raised berm or bed, vegetables can be planted earlier and at a higher density than when in the ground.

Step 1

Plant earlier. The soil in raised berms and beds warms more quickly than the surrounding soil, which means that you can plant in early spring when the rest of the ground is still frozen. But don't plant too early; keep planting time within a month of what is suggested for your particular plant variety.

Step 2

Cover the raised bed or berm with organic mulch. This mulch serves several purposes: It prevents erosion and compaction, maintains the soil's moisture level and helps to regulate its temperature. Replace the mulch periodically as it decomposes.

Step 3

Plants individual plants as close to one another as possible. Use the lowest number of the recommended spacing distance. Ideally, the adult plants' leaves should just touch those of their neighbors. This will create a microclimate that conserves moisture and suppresses weed growth.

Step 4

Avoid planting in rows. Instead, arrange the plants so that they are equidistant from one another. Plants that are traditionally planted in rows, like tubers, should be planted further apart than suggested spacing between plants so that each plant is a few inches closer than the recommended row spacing.

Step 5

Plant the seeds. Push back the mulch covering the spot in which you plan to plant the seed. Then simply plant the seed at the depth recommended for that variety. There is no need to work the soil. Once the seed is planted, fill in the hole with soil and pat it down with your hand.

Step 6

Water the planting area so that it is moist below the depth of your seeds. Extra care should be taken to make sure that the soil in raised berms and beds remains well irrigated. Water drains more readily in these spaces.

Tips and Warnings

  • Raised beds and berms are not suitable for sprawling vegetables like pumpkin, watermelon or squash.


  • The Fukuoka Farming Website: The Synergistic Garden
  • University of Tennessee Extension: Raised Bed Gardening
  • University of Missouri Extension: Raised-Bed Gardening
Keywords: raised bed, raised berm, raised planting

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.