raised bed garden
ECO gardener

Not all plants can tolerate direct sunlight all day; some of them burn easily. If your garden is set in an area that receives sunlight all day, consider growing plants in a raised garden bed.

Shade vegetables, in particular, thrive in a contained growing space because the condition there is just right. Fewer weeds compete for nutrients, and the risk of an infestation is minimal. Maintaining an elevated garden bed is also a breeze which is perfect for beginners and busy growers. Here’s how to grow shade vegetables in an elevated raised garden bed.

How to Set Up the Raised Garden Bed

woman assembling raised bed

Got a small space for a garden? As long as the dimension of a raised garden bed fits the space, you can turn any blank space into a beautiful vegetable patch. In this guide, let’s talk about how to set up a raised garden bed and what essential factors to consider to ensure a bountiful harvest:

Step 1: Measure the area for your elevated garden

The most crucial step is to measure the space that you will turn into an elevated garden and then find the raised bed that fits the area. Elevated raised beds differ from traditional raised beds because the bed has four feet, raising the bed above the ground by several inches.

You can find two kinds of raised garden bed designs in our online store: the classic elevated raised bed and the tiered raised bed. If you are looking for a simple raised bed design, get the classic design. But if you want to maximize a small space, we suggest getting the tiered raised garden bed.

Step 2: Add the potting soil

After measuring the space and assembling the elevated raised beds, it’s time to fill each with potting soil. Garden soil is not ideal for a raised bed because it’s too thick and heavy. Shade vegetables prefer well-draining, fluffy soil with some organic compost for a nutrient boost. Don’t fill the raised bed to the brim; leave about 2-3 inches from the top of the bed for the drip lines.

Step 3: Install the drip lines

Efficient irrigation is vital because shade vegetables hate standing water. After filling the raised bed with potting soil, set the drip lines and cover them with more potting soil.

Step 4: Plant the shade vegetables

After installing the drip lines, the raised beds are now ready for planting shade vegetables. You can grow crops from seeds using seed packets – just follow the growing directions. If you’re planting the seed directly into the soil, dig a hole, pop the seeds, and then cover it with soil. Water regularly until seedlings sprout. Whichever way you grow the vegetables, give each seedling room to grow.

Shade Vegetables to Grow in an Elevated Raised Garden Bed

basil grows in raised bed

Many plants are surprisingly shade tolerant. Here is a list of plants that prefers the shade:

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Bok choy
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens

Difference Between Elevated Bed Gardening vs. In-Ground Gardening

Elevated gardening differs from in-ground gardening because the soil is set in a contained space. The soil in an elevated raised bed has to be amended regularly to restore the soil’s depleted nutrients. Growing vegetables in an elevated raised bed are convenient for many people because weeds are easier to manage. You can protect your crops in harsh weather conditions by installing plant covers over the raised beds.

While in-ground gardening is ideal for many people because you’re simply growing plants directly into the ground, it does have some cons. Not all people have a space for a garden. Some garden soils aren’t ideal for growing shade vegetables. Crops grown in-ground have deeper, stronger root systems, but the risk of infestation and diseases are greater because the space is exposed to the elements.

Growing Vegetable Plants in an Elevated Garden Bed

ecogardener Elevated raised bed

When growing shade vegetables in an elevated garden bed, prioritize the best soil combination. The perfect soil mix will give your crops the best start, ensuring that the plants are healthy enough to resist diseases while boosting your bounty come harvest season.

You buy commercial potting mixes at your nearest gardening supply store or create your own blend using different growing mediums. For example, you can mix potting soil with organic compost or natural fertilizers. Vermicompost, aged manure, coconut coir, leaf mold, and plant materials (grass clippings, straw, and dried leaves) are just some of the many materials you can use to amend the soil without using chemicals.

Avoid using peat moss as much as possible because peatlands are being harvested at an alarming rate, which affects the global carbon cycle. Use peat-free potting mix to grow healthy plants without harming the environment.

Shade Vegetable and Herb Growing Tips

Grow shade plants on a balcony: If you have a patio that receives sunlight at certain hours of the day, you can set an elevated raised bed in this area and transform the space into a vegetable garden. Other places you can transform into an elevated garden are walkways, patios, and spaces along fence lines and between buildings.

Start with herbs: Many herbs prefer the full sun, but some can tolerate shade. For example, Basil, thyme, mint, and rosemary will do well in an elevated garden bed. You can grow these plants from seed using our herb kit or transplant the seedlings.

Go for green, leafy vegetables: Most green leafy vegetables, including cabbages and lettuce, will do well in an elevated garden bed. These plants are incredibly shade tolerant because they have bigger leaves and absorb more light.

Avoid root crops and fruits: Root crops may not do well in a raised garden bed because they require at least 6 hours of sunlight to grow. The same thing can be said for fruit-bearing crops like tomatoes – these plants are not shade tolerant, so that they won’t bear as many fruits in heavy shade.

Any plant that requires less than 6 hours of sun exposure is considered a shade plant. Shade plants need some light exposure for at least 4 to 6 hours. Balcony, patio, and elevated kitchens are shady areas, and these can be transformed into a garden as long as the plants’ basic growing requirements are met. Of course, it helps if you have an arsenal of gardening tools to build a beautiful garden filled with shade vegetables!

Start your collection today, buy garden supplies and tools from our ECOgardener bundles.

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