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Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Tips for Growing and Harvesting

Growing crops at home may seem daunting, but here’s the thing: gardening is such a rewarding hobby. It will help save a lot on fresh produce + it’s an eco-friendly activity. And come harvest time, you’ll be amazed at the vibrance and freshness of the fruits and vegetables that your little raised vegetable garden beds have produced.

If you’ve set up a raised garden bed, then growing and harvesting different crops will be a cinch. You already know how to manage pests and create the perfect soil recipe - let's move on to the best part: harvesting the literal fruits of your labor.

In this guide, let’s talk about the many different ways to grow and harvest vegetables, which crops are best grown in specific areas of your living space, as well as guidelines to ensure healthy, thriving crops:

Essential Factors to Consider When Building a Raised Garden Bed

A raised bed in the garden

The Right Location

The first thing that you should consider before planting crops is where to plant them. Different areas in your outdoor space get different amounts of sunlight. If you’ve picked the wrong spot, the plants won’t receive enough sunlight. Some vegetables, mainly green, leafy vegetables, need at least 6 hours of full sun each day, so the location is vital to the life and health of the crops. Check what kinds of vegetables grow best in the full sun, which ones could tolerate some shade, and which vegetables are best grown in consistently shady places to start.

Drainage

The good thing about using raised beds is creating the perfect soil recipe to grow different crops. You have total control over the soil quality because the garden is contained in a small space. Crops need well-draining soil and hate standing water. Wet soil will lead to soggy roots, which will pave the way to root rot. Vegetables grown in wet soil tend to be weaker. Always till the soil and remove unwanted debris because these will only get in the way of root growth. You can also install an irrigation or drainage system to keep excess moisture from ruining your crops.

Weather Conditions

Vegetables grow best in a stable climate with no harsh winds that could knock out soft-stemmed plants. Strong winds could also discourage pollinators from doing their jobs. If you’re growing vegetables in ground, set the plants in places that do not get a lot of foot traffic or a spot that does not flood quickly. If you’re using a raised garden bed, the plants get ample protection from foot traffic and flooding from the elevated bed.

A gardener checking soil

Soil Quality

Of course, part of the reason why a raised garden bed makes such a terrific place for growing different crops is that you get total control over the soil quality. Regular garden soil just won’t cut it if you’re serious about getting better yield at harvest season.

To ensure a successful harvest, season after season, always start with nutrient-rich soil. Thin, nutrient-deficient soil will lead to weak, thin, unhealthy plants. Because you’re planting in a raised bed, you have the chance to use high-quality soil mix as a base. Add plenty of organic matter into the mix, like worm castings, kelp meal, and oyster shell flour for a nutritious boost of essential vitamins and minerals for your crops. Always prepare the soil before and after the growing season to ensure that the soil quality is enough to support plant growth.

Best Crops to Grow in a Raised Bed

It’s essential to grow the kind of crops that you love eating. Leave a little room for a couple of crops that are new to you or varieties of crops for every season. Some of the best crops to grow in a raised bed are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash and Melons
  • Cucumbers
  • Beans and Peas
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Small to medium size herbs

Deep-rooted crops like potatoes and sweet potatoes are best grown in deeper garden beds. Small and medium-sized herbs are ideal for growing in a raised bed as long as the raised bed is set in a place that gets the full sun.

A raised bed vegetable garden

Edibles are categorized into cool-season and warm-season crops. Lettuce, broccoli, and peas are grown during early spring and fall, while tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are best grown during the late spring to summer months.

Plant tall crops like corn or pole beans on the north side of the garden to avoid blocking the sunlight and shading shorter crops.

Some crops mature more quickly than others, like radishes and bush beans, while crops like tomatoes take longer to mature. If you’re growing from seed, check the packets for the maturity period of a plant.

Growing Tips for Better Yield

Grow Crops in Triangles

Most growers tend to grow crops in rows because it’s the easiest, most common pattern for crop planting. But if you’re gunning for maximum yield per bed, grow the vegetables in triangles. Planting crops in a triangle instead of the usual row or square pattern lets you plant 10% to 14% more plants per bed.

Room to Grow

When maximizing the yield, it’s essential to check the plants to see if they have enough room for growth. If the plants are too crowded, they won’t reach their full size, so they won’t bear as much fruit. Also, the tight spacing gives pests a better opportunity to destroy your crops just because they’re more accessible + the plants become weaker and prone to disease.

Always remember that the plant’s weight yield per square foot is more important than the number of plants per square foot. A good example would be Romaine lettuces, grown with 10 inches of space between instead of 8 by researchers. The study found that when given more room to grow, they got double the yield per plant.

Grow Climbing Plants

Consider planting climbing plants if you want to maximize as much space as possible in your raised bed garden. Climbing plants like tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, melons, etc., that are grown straight up will lead to better yield because they don’t take as much space. Vertically grown plants will also save you time because they grow faster, they’re easier to maintain and are less prone to fungal diseases thanks to better air circulation. Of course, this means you have to install trellises, fences, stakes, cages, or other structures to support the vining plants.

Try Companion Planting

Certain plants grow well together. A good example would be the “Three Sisters” interplanting method, used by Native Americans. Corn, beans, and squash are planted close together. The corn’s tall, sturdy stalks support the pole beans while squash spreads on the ground, snuffing the life out of weeds in the process. Other crops help each other thrive when planted near each other, like tomatoes, basil, and onions, carrots, and radishes, as well as beets and celery and leaf lettuce and peas.

Strategic Planting

Growing more than one crop in a given space throughout a growing season lets you get the most out of every succession planting. But to pull this off, you need to time the planting right. A good strategy would be to follow an early crop of lettuces with fast-maturing corn. Then, grow more greens or overwinter garlic in a single growing season. By the harvest season, your pantry will be teeming with fresh produce!

Cover the Beds

If you live in a place with a short growing season, heat-loving plants will be slow to mature. The great thing about raised beds is that the structure keeps the soil warm. Heat-loving vegetables are best grown in raised beds for a strong start. Of course, it’s essential to choose vegetables that have the time to mature during the length of the growing season in your region.

Covering the raised beds with textile or plastic covering helps extend the growing season and give crops an early start. This technique also lets you harvest more end-of-season crops, like tomatoes. The cover traps warm air around the plants and soil, allowing you to squeeze in extra weeks of production!

Growing Flowers with Crops

Different flowering plants grow well with certain vegetables. Zinnias, nasturtiums, and cosmos make terrific companion plants for tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers because the blooms attract pollinators. Apart from attracting pollinators, the splashes of color will make your raised bed garden look even better during the spring and summer seasons!

It’s a joy to grow and harvest different crops in a raised garden bed because the entire process is easy and quick. The raised beds make the fruits and fresh produce more accessible so that harvesting won’t be backbreaking at all.

Nothing beats the feeling of harvesting different crops that you’ve grown yourself the natural way. Growing your own food is not only eco-friendly, but it’s also a terrific way of accessing organically produced fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Remember, there are so many strategies to try when growing and harvesting crops but using raised beds for gardening will definitely lead to better yield season after season. Raised beds let you start the growing season early and produce late in the season crops.

Our raised beds are made from 100% non-treated wood and are made to last. They come in various designs including the classic elevated and tiered raised garden bed. Shop now and start growing your own raised bed garden.

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