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
I created a printable food garden planting guide which has a questionnaire complete with garden planning cheat sheets and tables and charts for garden planning.
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.
Larger plants like corn, pumpkins, and winter squash varieties like the spaghetti 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 a gardening book. When planning your raised beds you should 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? Interplanting means growing crops either under your taller crops or around them.
- 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 rock star or check out my garden planning book.
- Should you use a garden bed fence?
Now let’s see some visual raised garden bed examples for spring, summer & fall.
Plants to Grow in Raised Garden Beds
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 for a year-round vegetable garden.
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 or the plants 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 a polytunnel greenhouse 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:
- Cold-hardy Crops for frosts and snow
- Winter garden plans and planting schedule
- Ultimate guide to fall and winter gardening
- How to grow a year-round garden
1 thought on “Best Plants to Grow in Raised Beds”
Thank you for this very informative web site. I have a question about our specific raised beds. We inherited four raised beds that made of wood and stand about three feet off of the ground. The bed area is about 6-8 inches deep. We live in Wisconsin so we would only plant in spring, grow in summer and fall and then stop for the winter. How do we protect our beds from rotting? Is it necessary to empty the dirt each year and store emptied? We are thinking of growing strawberries in a couple of the beds so removing the dirt (and strawberry plants) each year is not practical.