Planters and flower pots are great ways to garden, but the best way to grow fresh edibles in your own yard is in a raised garden bed. Elevated garden beds make it easier to control the soil and protect against pests.
Raised bed plans and kits come in different styles and sizes and are great for growing your own salsa or salad ingredients. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can make a raised garden bed to plant crowds of seasonal flowers to add color to your landscape.
This guide will teach you how to build raised garden beds, how to choose a location for your raised bed, how to set it up, and how to plant and maintain your vegetables and flowers.
Select a Location and Assemble the Kit
- Choose a flat, sunny spot to build your raised garden bed. Don’t worry about the condition of the soil in your chosen location since you will be adding your own quality soil.
- Put your raised garden bed kit together according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some kits are stackable, so you can grow plants with long root stems.
Line with Landscape Fabric
- Line the bottom of the bed with weed block or landscape fabric. This barrier between the soil in the bed and the soil in your yard helps keep weeds and grass from growing in the bed.
- Tip: Remember that this fabric is porous and will allow water to pass through for drainage.
- Choose the correct soil for the plants you intend to grow.
- For most applications, a good basic mix will include 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost and 10 percent potting mix. These ratios can be adjusted and other soil amendments added according to the needs of the plants you select.
- Add enough soil mix to almost fill the bed.
Add Plants or Seeds
- Add plants or seeds.
- As they grow, support them as needed with plant stakes, props or tomato cages.
- Water regularly if rainfall is scarce.
- Plants need about one inch of water a week once they are established and actively growing.
What to Grow in Your Raised Garden Bed
What you grow in your garden depends on your appetite. Choose to grow a themed edible garden – one that has all the ingredients you need for a delicious meal, right there in your back yard.
- In the front of your raised bed, plant 1 oregano plant, 2 cilantro and 9 red onions.
- In the middle of your raised bed, plant 1 serrano, Fresno chili or Chile de arbol pepper (staked), and 1 Roma tomato (caged).
- In the back, plant two tomatillos. Tomatillos must be planted in pairs to cross pollinate.
- In the front of your raised bed, plant carrots, radishes and onions.
- In the middle of your raised bed, plant lettuce and baby spinach.
- In the back of your raised bed, plant peppers (staked) and tomatoes (caged).
Kitchen Herb Garden
- In the front of your raised bed, plant oregano, cilantro, and parsley.
- In the middle of your raised bed, thyme and sage and rosemary.
- In the back of your raised bed, plant chives and basil.
- Once your herbs are mature be sure to harvest a little every few days to keep the plants producing.
- Tip: Mint makes a great herb for a kitchen garden, but it is a runner plant and will often crowd out and take over a bed. It is best to plant mint in a separate container and place it a few steps from the raised herb bed.
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