10 Best Vegetables To Grow In Raised Beds

Last updated: 10/2/20

When I began planting vegetables on a raised bed, I always ended up harvesting little. 

I wondered why the newfound practice of great harvest wasn’t working out for me, which pushed me to find an effective solution. 

I knew if I would continue planting the same plants, I would sacrifice my precious garden bed.

After testing several vegetable year in year out, I came up with a list of 10 best vegetables to grow in raised beds and more information you need to help you succeed in growing vegetables on raised beds.

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Getting Started With Your Raised Bed

When you start from scratch, you might need to take a few things into consideration.

Considerations for preparing a raised bed:

The Size Of The Gardening Bed

Remember, you have to work from outside of the raised bed. 

This means you should not make a bed too wide to reach every part from outside. Basically, the raised bed will measure between 3 – 4 feet wide by 6 – 8 feet long.

The Proper Area To Set Up Your Raised Bed

How are you going to determine that perfect spot to set your raised bed? A lot of things fall into consideration. 

Ensure the bed is positioned to get direct sunlight for around 6 – 8 hours a day. Also, assess the area to determine whether it has good drainage.

grow vegetables

Above all, you might think about the work you need to do forehand in a particular area, such as doing modifications in a sloppy place.

The Work Required To Be Done In Preparation Of The Bed

You should also think about the efforts you need to put in to set your garden bed in various possible areas. If you live in a hilly place with a lot of grass, you may be aware of what I mean. Garden beds require a slightly slanting terrain. Much work may be needed in hilly environments. 

Grass and other earth covers should also be cleared before setting up the bed.

If you plan to set up a drip irrigation system, you might also need to consider the bed’s distance from the water source. Give an allowance of installing the pipes before filling up the beds fully.

The Soil To Use

You also need to think about the amount of soil to use and the type of soil. If you need several raised beds, you might need an excavator to do the job for you.

Nevertheless, the quality of the soil matters. Some vegetables, such as radishes, require loamy soil and intensely dislike clay soil and soggy conditions. 

You may opt to acquire the best quality soil from a supplier near you.

6 Tips On Preparing A Raised Bed

Do Not Step On The Beds

As a rule of thumb, work from outside of the garden bed. One of the core benefits of the raised bed over conventional beds is the light, fluffy, and well-drained soil best for supporting the growth of multiple vegetables.

When you step in the garden, you compact the soil, which hinders air and water flow. As a result, microorganisms’ activities will be reduced in the soil.

Build the beds in a way that you can be able to reach every part of it from outside of the bed.

Turn Under or Smother The Cover Crops

If you already have an established bed and have green manure cover crops on it, turn under the crops several weeks before replanting your garden.

If you think that might tamper with your bed’s walls, you can smother the cover crops. 

Lay down a thick layer of mulch and cover it using black plastic sheeting. This technique easily breaks down the cover crop without tampering with your bed structures or disturbing the soil.

Loosen The Soil Underneath The Garden Bed

This applies to a scenario where you are setting a raised bed for the first time. Before establishing it, ensure you break the soil underneath. You can use a fork to go 6-8 inches deep.

Do Any Necessary Repairs On Your Raised Bed

This should be done a few weeks before planting. Check on any loose sides and fix them back. Screwed or nailed corners may also get loose over time. 

This is the right moment to tighten them up. If the sides bow outwards between the long spans, reinforce with a stake at the week point.

Top Up The Beds

Ensure you have the right soil for the vegetables you plan to plant. With time, the earth in the existing beds settles. 

Before topping it up, some peat may be required to loosen the compact soil.

Set Poles And/Or Trellises For Supporting Tall Crops

You can consider the vegetables that grow tall with weak stems such as tomatoes and cucumbers. 

Ensure to set them up before planting. Waiting until the plants start growing to drive the stakes into the soil may disturb the roots of the young vegetables.

Top 10 Vegetables to Grow in Raised Beds

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are known for their high need for deep fertile soil.

Raised beds give you the ability to determine the amount and type of nutrients you can supply to the plants at different growing stages.

Since the raised bed soil is loose, provide a stake or any support, and tie your plants loosely to the support as they start to mature.  

This will help to sustain the tomatoes’ heavy weight and give them something to twine around.

Choose varieties such as cherry tomatoes that ripen fast and require small space to produce high yields.

grow vegetable in raised bed

2. Beans

The beans’ deep nitrogen deposits make them the best crops to mix with heavy nitrogen feeders such as broccoli and cabbage in your raised garden. The seeds grow fast from planting to maturity in only less than 2 months.

There are several bean varieties that you can opt for. When I don’t want trellis-stress, I go for blue Lake bush beans. 

Other varieties include dragon tongue, Mascotte, and the green, yellow, purple, and red varieties.

Since beans like warm weather, you can plant them after the last frost. Sow the seeds in 18-inch spaced rows. In each row, space them at 2 inches. 

You can thin them once they reach the seedling stage into 6 inches apart in each row.

3. Lettuce

This is another great option to plant on your raised bed. It is easier to control weeds in a raised bed than you will do in conventional beds. This makes the raised beds a perfect option to plant this vegetable that will do well in fewer weeds.

You can plant the seeds into the raised garden early in the springs. Keep the soil moist. 

You can harvest most of its varieties in 30 days only. When harvesting, do it in the morning for a great flavor.

4. Onions

Onions are one of the least demanding vegetables. They need enriched and well-draining soil that you can easily provide in a raised bed garden. 

Onions often take 100 days or more of a very long growing season, so getting them out sooner is a big bonus.

Ensure you provide enough fertilizer for planting. Since onions require more than 100 days maturing, start the seeds early in the springs indoors before transplanting them to the bed.

5. Radishes

Radishes can disappoint you. 

The moody and picky plants dislike over-rich soil, clay soil, soggy conditions, dry conditions as well as hot weather. All this calls out for a raised bed to easily control the conditions to offer the best for the vegetables.

When you prepare a raised bed for these vegetables, keep the conditions above in mind. Add well-drained loamy soil but don’t keep it too dry. 

Since radishes have tiny roots, you don’t need to prepare deep soil.

6. Cucumber

Cucumber has been one of my longtime favorite vegetables. These vegetables thrive in raised beds because of the excellent drainage the raised beds offer.

Provide trellis, the moment the plants start growing to offer support to the weak stalk. Also, avoid stagnating the soil as this toughens up the cucumbers.

Cucumbers like direct sun. This can work for the advantage of your vegetables that do well under shade.

7. Zucchini

 Zucchini boasts of its excellent shade for plants that do well on a raised bed. Vegetables such as spinach and garlic can benefit significantly from zucchini. 

On the other hand, this vegetable can also benefit largely from the beans’ high nitrogen production.

Plant these greens in the summer and watch your exceptional yields at the end season. 

Some gardeners may prefer planting these plants alone because of their broad leaves and wide-spreading.

8. Carrots

Carrots thrive in loose and moist soil. This makes them another great option to try out in your raised bed. 

The raised bed contains loosely packed soil, which is excellent in encouraging the growth of these tubers. 

Furthermore, the raised beds prevent the development of knobs that often occur in conventional beds. This makes harvesting easy.

When it comes to carrots, ensure you prepare a deep bed if you plan to plant long carrots. If you plan to plant a short variety such as the French carrots, prepare a shorter and low bed.

9. Kale

Kale is an excellent vegetable to grow in a raised bed. This vegetable does not need a large space, and its flexibility to thrive even in a closely spaced area gives you a reason to try them out in your raised garden bed.

However, kales dislike hot weather. To avoid the bitterness that may occur in this season, you can mask the vegetable using a fruit juice or frozen fruit.

10. Potatoes

Potatoes are a few of the best thriving plants you can grow on your raised bed. 

These vegetables are very sensitive, requiring loose, loamy, and well-draining soil to avoid rotting. 

With the ease of efficiently controlling the soil on a raised bed, your potatoes will always have enough soil that encourages higher yields with massive tubers. 

You also enjoy the ease of harvesting if you use the raised bed.

To obtain bigger and healthy tubers, you can mix straw with the soil as you prepare your raised bed. 

You should also pile more soil around your plants’ base to encourage the spreading of the tubers.

10 Tips For Success For Growing Vegetables In Raised Beds

You could be a beginner or experienced in growing vegetables on the raised beds. But here are sure tips to maximize your output.

1. Plan Well

Planning helps you put every requirement in position regarding types of vegetables to plant, amount of water, sunlight, nutrients, pH levels, among others.

2. Maintain The Soil Quality Of Your Raised Bed

High yields do not only depend on the fertile soil you add to your raised bed before planting. Add the right amounts of fertilizers between the seasons that meet your vegetables’ requirements at every stage.

3. Avoid Walking On The Raised Bed

This keeps the soil well aerated, increasing microorganism activities in the soil.

4. Plant Vertically

Growing vertically minimizes fungal disease. It is also easier to maintain your bed garden this way.

5. Apply Mulching After Planting

Use straw, grass clipping, or leaves to mulch the beds after planting. This preserves moisture in the soil as well as preventing the growth of weeds.

6. Take Advantage Of Every Season

Plan carefully on time to plant a particular vegetable. Most vegetables do well in the hot season, as some do well in the cold season. 

You can also take advantage of the fast-developing vegetables with a short growing period and plant them after initial harvesting.

7. Plant Compatible Combinations

Incorporating crops that benefit each other might be advantageous. For example, beans will grow well with crops having a high need for nitrogen. 

You can also plant vegetables with broad leaves with those that do well under shade.

8. Fluff The Soil Regularly

It would be best if you did this a few weeks before planting. Use a garden fork to loosen the bed 8 to 12 inches interval.

9. Set Irrigation System

You can opt to use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to water your vegetables regularly. There are multiple irrigation systems you can acquire to do your work, even in your absence.

10. Use The Best Materials In Building The Raised Bed

Use treated timber that will withstand harsh weather, fertilizers, and micro-organisms’ activities in the soil as well as the weight of the soil. Apply stakes to reinforce the bed. 

Above all, inspect the bed regularly to repair any damage.

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Final Thoughts

Best practices always bear the best results. Try out these 10 best vegetables on your raised bed in various seasons. 

You could be surprised by all you may discover in the process.  Use these tips too. They might be what you needed to thrive in raised bed gardening.

Related Questions

What vegetables can I grow together in a raised bed?

You should combine vegetables that will benefit from each, such as beans and zucchini.

What vegetables can I grow in a 4×8 raised bed?

Consider growing the crops that will show up on a weekly basis. These include most greens such as kale, cucumber, onions, peppers, and lettuce.

Is it better to grow vegetables in raised beds?

Yes. You receive a lot of benefits, such as being able to control the type and condition of the soil.  

You can determine the type of soil to use, the amount of nutrients to add, easy watering as well as helping you maintain a fluffy soil.

Green Thumb Gardener
best vegetable to grow in raised bed
Jeremy Starke

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