When growing vegetables in raised beds, it is important to use a little extra planning. This will ensure that your crop rotation is easy to track and maximizes the production of each plant.
It is also crucial to space your plants correctly. If you overcrowd the bed, your crops won’t reach their full potential and they will become more prone to disease due to poor air circulation.
Choose the Right Soil
The right soil will promote healthy plant growth and will help to keep your vegetables and crops strong all season long. It also needs to be easy to work with and provide adequate space for the roots of your plants.
It should also be a good pH balance and contain the nutrients your plants need for healthy development. You should always test the soil to determine its pH before planting your crops.
In addition to adding organic matter to your soil, you should incorporate mycorrhizal fungi into your garden beds. These fungi have a symbiotic relationship with the root systems of your plants. They provide carbohydrates and the nutrients they need to grow, making them an effective way to enhance your garden soil and increase crop production.
You should also add a blend of coarse horticultural vermiculite, coco coir and peat moss to your raised bed soil mix to keep the soil light and airy. This can be done with a combination of equal parts of each material or in proportions of up to 50 percent compost, 25 percent vermiculite and 25 percent coco coir.
Plan Your Layout
A well-planned layout can make a big difference to the success of your vegetable garden. You need to take into account your soil, site conditions and preferences when planning the layout of your garden.
First, decide which vegetables you want to grow. Planting them in the right location is crucial for a successful harvest season.
You need to choose a good site that will receive plenty of sun. Ideally, it should get about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
If that is not possible, try growing cool-season vegetables in a spot that will get morning sun.
Next, consider which plants you want to grow near each other and how they will help or hinder each other. This can be beneficial in many ways, from improving the quality of your soil to reducing pest problems and boosting yields.
When planning your layout, consider if you need to create paths between beds for easy access. This makes maintenance easier and can help make your raised bed look more attractive too.
Consider the Scale of Your Crops
Many raised beds are too low to accommodate the roots of some vegetable crops, so it is important to think about the scale of your crop and plan accordingly. This can help you fit more vegetables per square foot than in-ground gardens.
For example, if you grow carrots in your raised bed, be sure to add enough soil for them to have room down below for their roots. A good rule of thumb is to make your beds six inches high or higher to ensure adequate soil for their roots.
You can also choose to use a growing medium other than potting soil or compost when filling your raised beds. This can be soil from another location or a blend of native soil, soil-less mix, and compost. Be sure to check the nutrient content and pH of your chosen growing medium before planting to avoid problems with soil-borne plant pathogens and contaminants.
Keep Track of Your Plantings
If you’re planning to grow a variety of vegetables in your raised beds, it’s important to keep track of your plantings. This will help you plan out the size of your beds and avoid over- or under-sowing them.
To do this, make a map that shows the exact location of each bed in your garden. This will allow you to practice crop rotation, a long-held farming practice that prevents certain plants from growing in the same spot year after year.
You can also use plant markers to label your garden beds and containers. These can be a fun way to mark your plants and add color to your raised beds, but they’re not necessary in all gardens.
Another option for keeping track of your plants is a journal. This cute book from Quiet Fox Designs lets you write logs about up to 55 plants, including their history, bloom, harvest, and yield information. It also has graph pages to record your garden goals, soil, weather, and pests throughout the year.