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Raised Bed Garden Tips for Growing Large Fruits and Vegetables

Grow a bountiful harvest of large fruits and vegetables with the convenience and ease that raised beds bring to the garden landscape. Fill your raised bed garden with lightweight, nutrient-rich soil that can be easily amended to help your garden produce a higher yield in less space compared to a traditional backyard garden. Growing in raised beds keeps roots warmer, allows for earlier planting, and eliminates a lot of bending and arduous prepping and maintenance. Here are our best raised bed garden tips for growing large fruits and vegetables.

Watermelon growing in garden

Large Fruits and Vegetables to Grow in Raised Bed Gardens

You may be wondering, what can I grow in a raised bed garden? Raised beds are ideal locations for growing large fruits and vegetables. Such crops thrive in warm, nutrient-rich soil, and full sun, which are all highlights of raised bed gardening. They also usually require longer maturation periods than smaller fruits and vegetables; therefore, they can be planted earlier in the season due to raised beds warmer soils.

When growing pumpkins, melons, and gourds in raised beds, trellising is an excellent way to save space. There are a few bush varieties of melons, but most are vining crops. If you grow your squash, pumpkins, gourds, and melons on a trellis, you can bolster the crop by adding mesh material to the trellis to support developing fruit and prevent them from breaking off of the vine before they are ready.

It is also a space saver to allow these vining varieties to spill over the edge of the raised bed, creating a cascade of vining fruits and vegetables. To achieve this desired effect, plant vining varieties on the edges of raised beds and guide any straying vines over the side.

Consider planting these large fruits and vegetables in your raised bed garden this year:

  • Muskmelon
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Pumpkins
  • Gourds

Raised Bed Garden Tips

Enjoy these raised bed garden tips for growing large fruits and vegetables to enjoy a bumper crop of delicious produce in your own backyard.

Raised Bed Garden Planning and Placement

As you begin planning your raised bed garden it’s important to consider where you will place it. The amount of sunlight that shines upon your garden each day plays a prominent role in growing plants in raised beds, especially large fruits and vegetables. Most crops such as these will require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight so be sure to place your raised beds in a sunny spot.

Raised Bed Garden Soil

As you plan and prepare your raised beds for planting, consider filling them with Raised Bed Garden Soil. Raised Bed Soil is formulated to be used as a stand-alone soil mix in a raised bed that sits on the native soil or is wholly enclosed in a container. Raised Bed Soil provides the perfect opportunity to establish the most favorable environment for your plants. It can be used in both raised beds and large containers. 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 large fruits and vegetables.

raised beds practicing vertical growing using teepees.

Mulching Raised Beds

The rich, lightweight soil in a raised bed garden is optimal for root growth but may be prone to drying out without the protection of organic mulch. Mulching your garden beds will also help regulate the soil temperature. For optimal results, spread a two-inch layer of mulching material around the base of your plants and press down lightly.

Watering Raised Bed Gardens

Water your raised bed garden regularly, as it will likely dry out quicker than in-ground soil. While you’re watering your raised bed garden, patrol for weeds and pull them out as soon as you see them. Weeds are usually easier to pull before they take hold. If left alone they can seed themselves in your whole garden bed.

Amend soil with well-decomposed compost or fertilizer. Plants need regular nutrition to grow to their fullest potential, and traditionally, large fruits and vegetables are heavy feeders of nutrients. In order to make plants not compete for nutrition, it is paramount to fertilize your raised bed garden monthly.

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Planting Raised Beds

When planting raised bed gardens it is essential to understand the spread and height of your pants so that you can space them optimally. It is possible to allow plants that spread to overflow over the sides of the bed. Alternatively, you can place support trellises or obelisks in your beds and allow the plants to grow vertically. You should also consider how the growth habit of each plant will affect the neighboring plants in the same raised bed garden.

Tall growing plants can overshadow compact varieties, so place trellised and high reaching varieties such as corn, squash, beans, and okra towards the back or the center of the garden so that other fruits and vegetables still get direct sunlight. Additionally, when harvest time rolls around, you won’t have to reach through taller crops trying to find your produce.

Overall, you can set plants closer together to ensure that every square inch of the raised bed is productive, even more so when you utilize vertical gardening and overflow techniques. Small-space gardening techniques, such as succession planting, square foot gardening, and vertical garden planting, ensure that space is used efficiently.

Raised Bed Garden Depth

A common question among new gardeners is, how deep should a raised bed garden be? Make sure that your raised bed is deep enough to accommodate root spread, especially when growing melons. In order for root systems to not interfere with other plants in the garden bed, consider the depths of the other plants as well.  For example, watermelon roots will often grow to 15 inches deep, and some other melons can plunge 18 inches deep into the soil. The root systems can spread beneath the soil as prolifically as the large vine itself. So make sure that you build raised beds deep enough to accommodate growing large fruits and vegetables.

A mother and her daughter pick fresh squash from their garden.

Raised Bed Garden Pests

It is easier to manage damaging insects and deter animal pests in raised bed gardens. You can cover beds with row covers and effectively control pests with companion planting. Raised beds help protect the root systems of plants from ground-dwelling pests as well. Visit your raised bed garden on a daily basis and check each plant for signs of disease or pests, picking off dead or diseased foliage or easily spied bugs. Interplant with flowers or plants that are natural deterrents of pests. You should also companion plant to attract beneficial pollinators and beneficial insects that feed on damaging raised bed garden pests.

Succession Planting in Raised Beds

Even in small spaces, you can harvest your vegetable garden throughout the growing season if you do a little raised bed garden planning. Succession planting in raised beds refers to the practice of seeding crops at intervals with the intent of maintaining a consistent supply of produce throughout the growing season. Succession planting also involves planting a new plant after harvesting the previous crop.

Check the maturation dates of your garden vegetables. Sometimes you can get creative and sneak in other fruits and vegetables that mature more quickly or nestle in a succession crop after a large vining plant has stopped producing. Plant radishes and lettuce greens before larger plants take over the area with their swooping vines. Once large crops like watermelons and melons have finished producing, pull them out and plant late season crops that thrive in fall. Try growing broccoli, lettuce, kale, and other fall vegetables.

Raised Bed Garden Tips for Growing Large Fruits and Vegetables

Gardening in a raised bed maximizes productivity in the garden. The challenge is to yield as much food as you can while resisting the temptation to overcrowd the bed with too many crops. Plants that are too close together can overtake one another and compete for nutrients, water and sunlight; never fully reaching their potential and becoming more prone to disease from poor air circulation.

Large fruits and vegetables are often overlooked when it comes to raised garden beds because gardeners assume that they take up too much space. Large fruits and vegetables are actually excellent options for raised beds and their space consumption can be managed by creating a vertical garden as well as overflow techniques. The tips offered will help ensure a robust harvest of large fruits and vegetables grown from the convenience of raised garden beds.

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