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Gardener’s Guide To Raised Vegetable Garden

Raised Beds are not only great for new and advanced gardeners alike, but their many benefits create ideal locations for growing a bountiful vegetable garden. Raised vegetable gardens come in all shapes and sizes and can be filled with lightweight, nutrient-rich soil that can easily be amended to produce higher yields in less space than traditional backyard gardens. Most garden vegetables thrive in warm, nutrient-rich soil, and enjoy full sun conditions, which are trademark qualities of raised vegetable beds. Also, the elevated, off-the-ground nature of raised beds helps keep vegetable roots warmer, which allows for season-extending planting and eliminates a lot of the bending and arduous prep-work and maintenance.

In this guide, our experts offer various raised vegetable garden ideas for you to try on your own with tips and tricks to get you started, including:

Vegetable plants in a raised bed

Raised Vegetable Garden Plans Checklist

Planning is essential to achieving and maintaining a happy, thriving raised vegetable garden, especially when it comes to picking the location for your raised vegetable beds. Since sunlight plays such an important part in organic gardening finding the right spot in your yard to create your elevated vegetable garden is paramount to its success. You’ll also have to plan out what to plant and how to best place certain crops with your raised beds. So before you get started, we’ve put together a raised vegetable garden plans checklist to make sure that you’re ready to go:  The amount of sunlight that shines upon your raised bed garden each day plays a key role in successfully growing a raised vegetable garden.

  • Will your raised vegetable beds receive enough sunlight?

    Since most vegetable crops require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive and be maximum producers, you’ll want to pick a spot for your raised vegetable beds that will receive ample sunlight each day. In most cases, the more sunlight the better. It’s also a good idea to keep a keen eye out for how the sun casts its light upon your backyard when making your raised vegetable garden plans.

  • Have you selected a design for your raised vegetable beds?

    There are so many great raised garden bed designs to choose from. Many of which can be translated into raised vegetable garden ideas for you to use as you plan your own design. From standard rectangles to tiered planting towers and more sustainable structures, there are endless possibilities for raised vegetable gardens. If you can’t decide, take a look at this list of the top 3 raised garden bed designs to get inspired.

  • How do you want your raised vegetable garden to look?

    Get a feel for how your raised vegetable garden will look before you construct it by using landscaper’s paint to line the proposed planting area. This will give you a real-time idea of how the garden will look in your backyard or whatever spot you’ve designated and how much space it will take up. This visual also allows you the chance to brainstorm the layout of your vegetable plants.

  • What materials should I use to build my raised vegetable beds?

    There is a multitude of materials for raised bed gardens that you can use such as rock, wood, metal, and brick.  In your raised vegetable garden plans, it’s important that you do your research beforehand to ensure that whatever material you choose has not previously been chemically treated. Chemically treated wood and other substances can cause toxins to leach into your garden soil and contaminate edible plants and their fruits.

  • Have you considered planting tall vs short vegetables?

    Don’t allow taller growing varieties of vegetables to overshadow their neighbors. Plan to place taller varieties in the rear of your elevated vegetable garden so that they do not block out the sunlight to shorter varieties.

  • Have you considered incorporating additional raised vegetable garden ideas into your design to maximize productivity?

    Consider adding vertical gardening techniques into your raised vegetable garden plans to maximize space and yields. Place these at the rear of the garden bed.

  • Where should I put vining fruits and vegetables in my raised vegetable garden plans?

    Plan to allow vining varieties to spread over the edges of your raised vegetable beds to capitalize on space.

  • Is there easy access to water in your raised vegetable garden plans?

    You will need to provide water for your raised vegetable garden, so consider this when selecting your location. Ideally, you should set up your raised vegetable beds where you have easy access to your hose.

  • Are your raised vegetable beds easily accessible for weeding, pruning, and harvesting?

    Consider this when planning and building your raised vegetable garden.  Make sure that you can access all sides of the raised beds and that you are able to reach your plantings.

A hand wearing garden gloves digging into soil

How To Handle The Soil In Your Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Soil composition is a key element to planting and growing vegetables in raised vegetable beds. Through different techniques of layering soil in a raised garden bed, gardeners are able to control precisely what goes into their soil. Gardeners can even tweak the quality of the soil in their elevated vegetable garden using beneficial soil amendments.

As plants consume nutrients, the soil needs replenishing by adding organic matter.  As a gardener, you are in complete control of the soil that your crops will be growing in. Luckily, there are products out there to help you ensure that you get your soil just right, such as Kellogg Organic Raised Bed Soil.

What Soil To Use In Your Raised Vegetable Beds

Consider using Raised Bed Soil to fill up your raised vegetable garden. Sold by the bag, raised bed garden soil is specifically formulated for raised beds and is the ideal soil recipe for raised bed gardening.  Raised Bed Soil is formulated to be used as a stand-alone soil mix in a raised bed that sits on the soil or is wholly enclosed in a container.

It provides the picture-perfect opportunity to establish the most favorable growing environment for your plants. Organic Raised Bed Soil is well-draining and takes the guesswork out of determining the soil quality because it is already pH balanced to be between 5.8 and 7.5, which is optimal for growing vegetables.

Soil Amendments For Your Raised Vegetable Garden

Even if you have top-notch raised bed soil in your vegetable garden beds, it is essential to amend your soil with organic matter and compost to replace the nutrients that are being readily used by the plants that grow there.

Top dress the soil in your raised vegetable garden beds twice each year by adding:

  • Rotted leaves
  • Well-decomposed compost
  • Worm castings
  • Feather meal
  • Decomposed poultry manure

Mulching a Raised Vegetable Garden

The rich, lightweight soil in a raised vegetable garden bed is ideal for optimizing root growth but the soil itself can be prone to moisture depletion. To prevent this, consider adding a couple of inches of mulch to the top of the soil and around plants in your raised vegetable beds to help retain moisture and regulate temperatures in the garden bed.

A protective layer of mulch will allow moisture to seep into the soil to the plants’ roots without being evaporated by the sun’s intense rays. Mulch also helps counteract and prevent soil erosion and soil compaction.

How To Plant A Raised Vegetable Garden

Much of the success of your raised vegetable garden will be directly related to what you plant and when you plant it.  Therefore, your plants are extremely important to keep in mind at every stage of your raised vegetable garden plans.

Once you’ve made your choices and you’re ready to start planting, the first step to learning how to plant a raised vegetable garden is making sure you know what gardening zone you’re in. This first step is vital to understand since your gardening zone dictates what will and will not grow in your area, which can be the difference between a successfully raised vegetable garden and a failing one.

Raised Vegetable Garden Ideas to Remember When Planting

Don’t forget that knowledge is power, so arm yourself with all the information before you start planting like when to sow seeds indoors, plant outside, and when to expect harvests.  Some plants can tolerate transplanting, while some seeds should be directly sown in the raised vegetable beds.

Many plants can benefit from companion planting and some make fantastic succession planting candidates. Vegetable planting charts by zone can also help take away any ambiguity and serve as a crucial gardener’s guide to raised vegetable gardens.

We want to make sure that you keep growing, so don’t forget to watch our gardening tutorials or download our Raised Bed Gardening Guide for additional raised vegetable garden ideas and detailed tips for how to get the most out of your raised vegetable garden.


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woman's hand with gardening glove raking soil in garden.
close up of harvested vegetables in wooden tray.

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