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Are you figuring out what to plant in your raised garden beds?
The really nice thing about garden planning with raised garden beds is that you know your exact growing area. Another bonus about garden planning with raised beds is that many of the free garden planner apps use raised beds as examples of what you can grow.
There are many plants for raised garden beds, from vegetables to flowers and herbs
This post will cover:
- How to choose plants for your garden beds
- Tips on increasing yield from your raised garden beds
- Visual design examples of spring, summer and fall/winter raised garden beds with detailed crop lists
Figuring out what plants to grow in your raised garden beds will depend on what you like to eat
In general deep roots are great for raised beds because the soil tends to be looser and deeper allowing for better growth.
This does depend on the depth of your raised beds though, depending on your raised garden bed design (see lots of raised bed ideas here).
Larger plants like corn, pumpkins, and winter squash can be grown in raised beds but remember they tend to take up a lot of space. If you are growing pumpkins or squash you can save space by planting them on the ends and allowing them to spread outwards from the bed instead of taking over the whole thing.
I’m a big fan of trying to get the most from your garden (which is why I wrote this book) so when planning your raised beds think about these things:
- Can you grow crops before or after your main season ones? These are called pre or post crops (sometimes bumper crops) and simply means if you wanted to grow tomatoes in your raised garden beds, could you grow a quick crop of radishes or baby greens before transplanting your tomatoes?
- Can you grow upwards to increase space? I love adding bamboo poles and creating a tunnel trellis in-between raised garden beds to add vertical growing space.
- Can you practice interplanting or underplanting? This means growing crops either under your taller ones or around them. I wrote about and shared some visual examples for interplanting here
- Can you maximize your garden in other ways? Growing in blocks versus rows for short crops like baby greens increases garden yields. Read garden planning like a rockstar or check out my garden planning book.
Now let’s see some visual raised garden bed examples for spring, summer & fall
Plants you can grow in raised garden beds throughout the season
This 3 season garden design example is to give you an idea of what you could grow in the spring, summer, and fall. Depending on your temperatures and snowfall your fall garden could even extend into winter.
Spring gardening tips
If some of your spring garden beds are ‘pre-crops‘ to your summer crops, you will still need to make space within a couple of months for the main season crops. The best thing to do is pull up a few plants, transplant or direct seed your warm-season crops, then leave the rest of your spring crops until the summer crops need more root space and/or they’ve bolted (gone to seed with the heat).
Make sure you amend your garden beds with more compost or fertilizer before sowing your fall crops as your summer crops will of used up a lot of the soil nutrients.
You might need to use season extenders like hoop tunnels, or polytunnel over larger raised garden beds in the fall as heavy frosts will affect your cool-season crops. The lettuce, mustards & radishes will be more susceptible to frost damage; the arugula, spinach, and kale can handle more frosts and even a little snow. It really depends on the variety too, be sure to select better cold resistance when choosing your seeds for fall and winter gardening.
More tips on planting a winter garden:
- Crops for frosts and snow
- Winter garden plans + planting schedule
- Ultimate guide to fall gardening
- How to grow year-round
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.