Growing vegetables in raised beds is becoming hugely popular – and with good reason. Because the soil is above normal ground level in them, even if only slightly, it warms up faster in spring, giving young plants a head-start. What’s more, it’s much easier to fertilize and monitor the soil in a raised bed than it is in the open ground. You can even bring in new soil altogether if you want to grow, for example, crops that prefer acid conditions but your normal garden soil is alkaline.
Raised beds are wonderful for growing almost anything, but there are some real stars that rise above the rest. Let’s take a look at the ten best vegetables for raised beds.
When choosing varieties of kale to grow in containers, look for options marked compact and productive as you will get more kale to enjoy. Most varieties will bloom in the early spring. Once mature, cut what you need to put on your table, and it will grow again. This plant grows well in full sun or partial shade. You need to water the soil regularly so that it stays consistently moist.
Peas work well in raised beds too, and are best trained up a netting support – install it along one side of the bed for best use of space. Pea seeds are often eaten by mice before they germinate outdoors, so sow them indoors in long ‘root trainer’ pots – with these, there’s less root disturbance (which peas hate) when you plant them out once they’re large enough to handle. Sow seeds in March and harvest from the end of June.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders that need nutrient-dense soil to thrive. With a raised bed you can easily customize your soil to your needs, adding in extra compost as you fill the beds. The only downside to growing tomatoes in raised beds is it’s harder for tomato cages and stakes to stand up in the loose soil.
4. Summer squash
Squash is an easy vegetable to grow, and squash blossoms are beautiful, delicate edibles. Most squashes require a lot of space and a reasonably large container. Ideal growing conditions include lots of light, good soil, as well as consistent watering and feeding.
Cucumbers are a fast-growing vegetable commonly grown in containers. These water-loving plants do best in large plastic or ceramic pots that help retain soil moisture. Growing cucumbers in raised beds is a great way to give them the heat they love (hotter ambient temperatures raise soil temperature quicker in pots than in-ground).
Vine-type zucchinis do marvelous in raised beds as long as they have something to grow on. Plant the seeds directly into your ground in a mound of soil because they do not transplant well, and they hate cold weather. You will see the zucchini plant start to vine in about five weeks. Most varieties of zucchini will be ready to harvest in about 60 days.
You may want to consider growing all three types of radishes in your bed. Plant summer radishes early and expect them to take about six weeks to mature. Sow seeds at regular intervals from March to mid-August for a constant supply. You can never have too many radishes – did you know that as well as making a spicy addition to a salad, radishes are also great added to stir-fries?