A Quick-Start Guide to Elevated Raised Beds
Elevated raised beds can be used to grow vegetables or flowers.
BY growing in a raised bed, you can have a productive, abundant vegetable garden — even in just a few square feet. Even better, the elevated styles put the garden right at your fingertips. Here's how to make the most of your elevated raised bed:
- Fill your bed with potting soil that's formulated for raised beds and planters, such as our potting mix. Don't use ordinary garden soil; It won't drain properly. To figure out how much soil you need, use the Soil Calculator. If it's a Gardener's Supply bed, you'll find the soil quantity listed with the product details.
- When you're filling the beds, be sure to mix in some granular fertilizer, which will get the plants off to a good start. Follow up later in the season with regular application of liquid fertilizer.
- Pick a sunny site; vegetables need at least eight hours of sun each day.
- Make sure you have easy access to water.
What to plant
- Because elevated raised beds are compact, choose varieties that are known for their compact habit.
- Try to include at least one vegetable that's new to you. Discovery is half the fun.
- If you're new to gardening, check out the Kitchen Garden Planner, where you can find pre-planned gardens that are designed to fit elevated raised beds.
- For more ideas, browse the Vegetable Encyclopedia.
When to plant
- Wait till danger of frost has passed. Check with your county's cooperative extension service to get the dates, or use an online resource. Better yet, ask the best gardener in your neighborhood or a Master Gardener.
- If you're starting from seed, create a seed-starting schedule. Use the information on the seed packet to guide you.
- Crops that are tolerant of cool weather can be planted earlier, using season-extending techniques.
- Use your finger to check moisture levels throughout the season. The soil should be moist but not water-logged. Allow it to dry out a bit between waterings.
- During the heat of summer, you might need to water every day — if rainfall is insufficient.
- To automate the process, install a timer and a watering system, such as Snip-n-Drip.
- The granular fertilizer added at the beginning of the season gives your plants a great start. Keep the show growing with regular applications of liquid fertilizer, applied at the rate recommended on the package.
- Use compact trellises to maximize the space in your bed.
- Add frames that support covers for frost and pest protection.
- Recharge last year's soil with concentrated compost and fertilizer.