Can you imagine?
Have you ever thought about how amazing it would be to pick your own veggies and use them for dinner? Does it feel too hard to grow vegetables?
Well, I get it. I felt that way too until I planted my first garden many years ago using a raised bed garden. After many years of trial and error, I also figured out what to plant and the best time of year to plant for a successful home garden.
In this post, you will learn the 19 best vegetable plants to grow in raised beds throughout three different seasons. You will also get tips in making a raised bed garden successful for your plants to grow. Dive into the information below to start learning the answers to your questions of what to grow abundantly in raised beds.
The Formula for New Gardeners
The formula for having a thriving vegetable garden in a raised bed is planting the right-sized plants at the right temperature of the year. The list below has the best choice vegetables to grow in a smaller space. By using the list of vegetables, you will not waste time knowing what to plant and in what season.
Garden Beds for Home Gardener
Using bed gardens is a great way to maximize your crop yield while using minimal space. There are tips for growing in raised beds at the end of this blog post. Once you have a space to garden then use the list of vegetables provided in the next section to help you know what to plant in your garden to help it thrive through each season.
What to Plant Early & Late Summer
Garden plants in the summer can grow at 85 degrees and are hotter. When the temperatures are over 85 degrees, some warm-weather crops like tomatoes and eggplants need a little shade to keep producing through the heat.
Indeterminate and determinate tomatoes can both be used in a garden bed or kitchen garden as long as they have support to grow like tomato cages. Using a trellis and tying the tomato vines to train them to grow up is a great way to save space.
Planting indeterminate small, cherry tomatoes makes a trellis beautiful throughout the summer as they continually produce. You can also use determinate tomatoes that only produce for one period of time and then are ready to come out so that you can plant something else.
They are relatively easy to grow and can be quite prolific, producing an abundance of peppers in a small amount of space if you choose a small pepper variety. Peppers have a long growing season, so you can enjoy fresh peppers from your garden for months. Peppers come in various colors, shapes, and heat levels. You can get sweet to hot pepper to meet your desired tastes.
Eggplant takes about three months to mature. Planting the skinny eggplant variety means that you will have more eggplant sooner and it will continue to produce through the end of summer. The larger-sized eggplant takes longer to produce and only has time to produce a few.
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4. Bush Beans
Bush beans are a great option for gardeners who are short on space. Unlike climbing beans, bush beans only grow to about two feet tall, making them a perfect choice for raised bed gardens. Bush beans also produce a high yield of beans in a relatively short amount of time as a quick-growing crop.
5. Pole Beans
Pole beans are a type of climbing bean that can reach up to six feet in height. They are a popular choice for small space gardens because they do not require a lot of ground space to grow. pole beans can be grown in a raised bed garden, which will provide them with the support they need to climb. Additionally, pole beans produce a large number of beans per plant.
6. Long Beans
Long beans are very efficient at using space. They can grow up to six feet long, but they only need about two square feet of space per plant. Long beans are very productive. Each plant can yield up to four pounds of beans.
What to Plant Early Spring
These crops need to be planted 6-8 weeks before the last frost on average so that they can develop roots before the heat of the summer. Planting seeds during in the warm soil is an easy way to start your spring garden.
Lettuce is a cool-weather crop, so it's perfect for growing in a raised bed garden in the spring. It can tolerate some shade but does best when it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. There are many different varieties of lettuce and a variety of colors with red lettuce being great to plant as the weather gets warmer. Create your own salad greens with lettuce.
Chard prefers a sunny spot,but will also tolerate partial shade. When growing chard in a small space, it is important to keep the plants well-watered with good soil. Chard is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it will need occasional fertilization to stay healthy. It can last in a garden for up to two years if started in the cool season even through the heat.
Kale prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade. Water regularly, especially during dry periods, and fertilize every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Kale will continue to grow for more than one season if started in spring or fall. It will tolerate the summer months and continue to produce greens for you.
Beets are some of the easiest vegetables to grow. Sow seeds in a shallow soil depth for best results. They take about two months to mature, so they're perfect for adding to your garden later in the season.
Radishes mature quickly, so you can enjoy fresh radishes in as little as 4 weeks. They don't require a lot of space to grow. You can easily fit radishes into a raised bed or container garden. Plus, radishes are low maintenance and don't require a lot of attention or care.
12. Snap Peas
Growing snap peas in a raised bed garden is a great way to maximize your yield in a small space. They are easy to grow and don't require a lot of space. When grown in a raised bed, snap peas have better drainage and aeration, which leads to healthier plants.
Spinach grows best in full sun or partial shade, and it prefers moist, well-drained soil. spinach is a fast-growing crop that can be harvested approximately 40 days after planting. Spinach is particularly well suited for raised bed gardens or small spaces, as it can be grown in containers or crowded areas. Spinach is a fast-growing crop, so it can be harvested multiple times per season.
14. Bok Choy
Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that is perfect for growing in small spaces. It has a compact growing habit and is resistant to bolting, making it ideal for raised beds and other small garden spaces.
What to Plant Early Fall or Late Fall
Planting at the end of the summer heat is essential for these fall crops to establish their roots before the first frost. Plant these crops 6-8 weeks before the first frost either as transplants or seedlings.
Broccoli prefers full sun but will also grow in partial shade. Broccoli can be started from seed indoors or transplanted from a nursery. These plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart because they need room to grow.
Cauliflower is a relatively large plant, it benefits from being grown in a raised bed where it won't have to compete with other plants for space.
Cabbage likes full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Plant cabbage in the cool season crops. Cabbage can be harvested anywhere from 60 to 90 days after planting, depending on the variety. When cabbage heads are about 6-8 inches in diameter, they are ready to harvest.
Carrots don't require a lot of room to grow, and you can even grow them in containers if you don't have much space. They do need loose, well-drained soil to grow. A raised bed garden can provide the plant roots with the best results as part of the root crops, and it can also help to prevent weeds from competing with your carrots for nutrients. Carrots typically take about two months to mature and can be kept in the ground during the cold months to sweeten.
19. Snow Peas
Snow peas are a great choice for small space gardens, as they can be grown in raised beds or other limited spaces. In addition to their small size, snow peas are also relatively easy to care for. They prefer cool weather, so they can be planted in early spring or fall. Snow peas need full sun and well-drained soil, and they should be watered regularly.
Spring and Fall work best with cool weather crops so you can use both seasons to plant many of the same crops. I plant broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in the fall because it gives these long-seasoned crops more time to grow through winter if covered & protected.
How to know what to Plant and When?
Cool Weather Crops
Cool-weather crops are those that thrive in temperatures between 35- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. These include many leafy greens, root vegetables, and legumes. Cool-weather crops are generally easy to grow and can be planted in both spring and fall. They prefer well-drained, fertile soil and should be watered regularly.
Warm Weather Crops
Warm weather crops are those that grow best in temperatures of 65-85 degrees. If the weather is too hot or too cold, these crops will not thrive. If you want to grow these crops, it's important to choose a location that will give them the right amount of sunlight and warmth. For gardeners in cooler climates, growing warm-weather crops can be a challenge. But with a little planning and effort, plant cloth or sunshade can be used to extend the season.
Hot Weather Crops
The best temperature for hot weather crops is 85 degrees or hotter. These vegetables need full sun and well-drained soil to flourish with added organic fertilizer and root builder every few weeks to help these plants to grow through the heat.
How Much Space Do You Need?
Using the Intensive Planting Method
You don't need a lot of space to create a small garden using the intensive planting method. A raised bed garden is ideal for this type of gardening, as it allows you to control the soil quality and drainage. Intensive planting is a great way to get the most out of a small space, as it allows you to pack more plants into a small area.
This method of gardening is perfect for small gardens, as it helps you make the most of your space. When using intensive planting, it is important to remember that plants will need to be spaced closer together than they would in a traditional garden.
This means that you will need to water more frequently, as the plants will be competing for moisture. However, intensive planting is a great way to grow in a small raised bed garden in a limited amount of space.
Sun hours needed
The amount of sunlight that each season gets influences the success of the growing season for many gardens. For example, spring and summer are generally associated with more sunlight hours than fall and winter. This means that more heat is available to help encourage growth in these seasons. In contrast, cooler temperatures in fall and winter can stunt growth or even kill plants. As a result, it's important to pay attention to the amount of sunlight each season gets when planning your garden.
In general, most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to produce a good crop. If you live in an area with long summer days, you can get by with less sun, but if you live in a climate with shorter days, you'll need to make sure your garden gets enough light. One way to do this is to choose a site that gets full sun all day long.
What are the Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed?
If you're looking for a good choice to get started with gardening and you have limited space, using a raised bed garden is easy and efficient for any new and experienced gardener.
1. Increased Crop Yield:
One of the main benefits of raised bed gardening is that it can help increase what you can produce. This is because you have complete control over what you put in the garden beds and can use nutrient-rich soil that has good drainage, allowing young plants to have deep roots more easily and absorb more nutrients. The result is a bigger and healthier harvest.
2. Less Weeding:
Another great benefit of raised bed gardening is that it requires less weeding. Since the soil is loose and well-drained, weeds have a harder time taking root and competing with your plants for resources. This means that you can spend less time weeding and more time enjoying your garden!
3. Enhanced Pest Control:
Raised bed gardens can also help with pest control. This is because pests have a harder time reaching plants that are grown in raised beds. And even if they do manage to get in, you can easily spot them and take care of them before they do too much damage. It is also easier to cover your garden with plant cloth or mesh to protect from insects laying eggs and critters digging or eating your produce before you do.
4. Improved Drainage:
Raised bed gardens offer improved drainage. Excess water can quickly drain away from the roots of your plants. This helps prevent root rot and ensures that your plants stay healthy even during periods of heavy rain.
5. Easier on Your Back:
If you have back problems or you find bending over difficult, a raised bed garden may be the perfect solution for you instead of in-ground garden beds. With a raised bed garden, you won't have to worry about kneeling on the ground or bending over to reach your plants. You can easily tend to your garden without putting any unnecessary strain on your back.
6. Aesthetically pleasing:
Raised beds can be a great addition to your yard or patio by adding interest and beauty. Raised bed gardens are taller than other parts of yards like borders and can add a whimsical feel to any yard.
Tips for success in a raised bed garden:
Planting Plans for Each Season
Take the guesswork of what to plant in each season, summer, fall, and spring by downloading 3 free planting plans to use right now. These plans have the raised bed garden design for intensive planting to get the most out of the space. Start your garden today with these free plans.
In conclusion, you can have successful home gardens by using a raised bed garden. Raised bed gardens are ideal for small spaces because they allow you to grow the best vegetables in a small area.
Want to Plant a Vegetable Garden but not Sure Where to Start?
Use these three planting guides for each season to get your garden planted