Raised bed gardens may require more of an investment upfront, but they're a great way to add plots of vegetables and flowers to your yard. They help avoid contaminated soil, provide an area with fewer weeds and pests (such as snails), and are less work overall. Raised bed gardens are also kinder on the eyes as they often have clear, defined edges, and pathways are easier to maintain.
If you're ready to build your raised bed garden and begin planting, keep these tips in mind and you'll have a productive summer ahead.
Location, Location, Location
Choose an area preferably in the sun, at least ½ day of sun. Side yards are great for vegetable and berry gardens. There is no right or wrong, do what works for you.
Just the Right Size
Build your box no more than 4' wide. You can reach your vegetables within 2' without stepping on your soil. Make it as long as you want. It should be at least 6" deep, preferably 8"-10" deep. Any shape will work; square, rectangle, triangle or circle. Do what you like. It is your garden.
Good Soil is Essential
DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR SOIL: Your soil quality is essential to your success. Either pick up a quality (1) ready mixed soil or (2) mix your own soil.
IFA Grow Box Mix (3 cu.ft.) provides superior results.
Combine 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost. For a more specific recipe, mix together (1) 3.8 cu.ft. compressed bale of peat moss, (2) 4 cu.ft. vermiculite, and (4) Harvest Supreme Compost. This will make 24 cubic feet of soil, enough for three 4'x4'x6" garden boxes.
Choose Your Favorite Vegetables
Now plant what you like to eat! Your choices are endless from Asparagus to Zucchini. You can plant seeds or transplants. Do what works for you, but be a little brave and plant at least one vegetable from seed.
Give Them Space
Each plant needs space to mature. You don’t need aisles though. With a raised bed garden, each plant can be reached from the outside. Plant more vegetables per square foot than in traditional row gardens. For more spacing details, download and refer to our Vegetable Planting Guide.
Grow your vine-type vegetables on either a trellis, tomato cage, pole or fence. A pumpkin vine could take 100 square feet, but on a trellis, you can have success in a 4-square-feet area. Plan to plant companions on the same trellis such as pole beans and cucumbers. Be creative!
Check out our how-to article to build your own Vertical Garden
Your garden will need to be watered every 2-3 days. Always give your soil a drink, not a sprinkle. You can hand water, easily install a drip system, or incorporate a regular sprinkling system.
Stimulate Growth with Fertilizer
Good nutrients are essential to increase production in your garden. Green As It Gets Remix is very effective organic and natural option. Simply mix into used soil to recharge, or blend with new soil to enhance your favorite mix. Miracle Grow type liquid fertilizers work well when used every week or every other week, and IFA Premium Garden Fertilizer is effective as well.
Let Us Help
Our associates are passionate about gardening.
Your local IFA Country Store has the tools and plants you need to help make the most of your raised garden. While you're there, we're happy to answer any questions or help you solve any garden problem, big or little.
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Information for this article was provided by Kent Mickelsen, Utah Certified Nurseryman, IFA.