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Raised Garden Bed: Planting Design Ideas to Get You Started

Raised Garden Bed with lettuces and green onions
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Planting a garden and watching the plants grow is a fun, educational, and great way to provide your family with fresh organic food. While growing some of your food is a good idea, not everyone has enough land-space for a large garden but a raised garden bed might just work so read on…….

Planting Design For Raised Garden Bed Ideas

This is why you need to know how to plant a small raised garden bed so you can get the most food from the small space. A manageable 5‘x10′ or 12’x16′ DIY raised garden bed can produce a large harvest of fresh vegetables if it’s planted correctly.

Raised planter box for growing vegetables and flowers
Raised planter box for growing vegetables and flowers

Important Note: plant and grow what you enjoy and what you will actually eat ☺ For example: turnips grow fantastically in our location, but our family does not like turnips, so it is ridiculous to waste this precious garden space on something that we will not eat.

Use the following garden design tips for a small raised bed garden layout so you can reap an abundant harvest throughout the summer.

Here is a super handy raised garden bed soil calculator. This will help you determine the proper mixture for the best garden soil!

Tall and Short

Food producing plants require at least 6-hours of direct sunlight each day so you will need to determine how the sun shines on the raised bed garden box before planting.

Place the tallest growing plants, like corn, sunflowers, and tomatoes, either perpendicular to the movement of the sun or on the end of the garden box that receives the morning sun.

Perpendicular placement of tall plants will allow all the plants to be in full sun but that’s not always possible. If the shorter plants are only shaded in the morning but receives full sun the remainder of the day they will develop and produce normally.

Garden plants growing in wooden box
Garden plants growing in wooden box in garden.

Draw It Out: Ideas for a Raised Garden Bed Planter

Decide what you want to grow in your raised bed garden box then draw a layout on paper. Start with the placement of the tallest plants and work downward towards the outer edge of the garden box, ending with the shortest plants.

Pro Tip: Consider starting a Garden Planner! This is a very inexpensive and very necessary way to keep track of your design and planting times. Plus, it is fun as you can track the arrival of the first bluebirds in the spring, or the first daffodil flowers, when the pussy willows or forsythia start to bloom!

Garden-Design-2

Here is a sample design to get you started thinking about what to grow and how to create a design.

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Tall Plants

Plant corn and/or sunflowers first with 6-inches of space between them. Tomatoes are next with 12-inches of space between the plants. The size of your raised garden bed will determine how many seeds to plant as well as how much produce you want to grow.

Corn will produce 2 ears per stalk, 1 sunflower per stalk, and the tomatoes will produce throughout the summer if you plant an indeterminate variety. A determinate variety of tomato will produce one harvest and be done.

Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow tall and will need to be staked. Determinate plants are more bush like and do not grow very tall.

Bush Beans and Cucumbers

Green beans and peas should be planted next. Select bush varieties so they will take up less space in the raised garden bed. The mature bush will be about 3-feet tall and 2-feet wide and will produce throughout the summer.

Try French Mascotte Compact Bush Bean:

Consider planting 1 or 2 bush or vining cucumbers at this point, too. The wonderful thing about vining cucumbers is they can trail over the edge of the planter box. Or, you have give them a wire cage to grow up to gain more vertical space.

Try something like this Saladmore Slicing Cucumber Compact Bush variety.

Pumpkins

If you feel up for a little adventure, try planting one pumpkin plant in the corner of your raised bed. Encourage the pumpkin vine to trail over the edge and guide it to grow around the planter box or in a safe direction. One pumpkin plant will yield several pumpkins.

Pumpkin vines will take up a lot of room in your raised garden bed so make sure to plant them close to the edge; then encourage the vine to grow around the outside of your raised bed planter.

Green and Hot Pepper Plants

Pepper plants and basil will reach 2-3 feet tall when mature so plant these next in front of the taller plants. Make sure to check the height of each variety before planting.

Lettuces, Spinach, Greens and Carrots

Now evaluate how much space you have left in the garden box. You will want to plant something in every available spot but be sure to allow enough space for plants to grow.

There should be 1-2 feet of space left in the garden box (maybe more, depending on what you have planted) and this space is ideal for low-growing plants.

Sow carrot seeds, lettuce, mesclun mix, and parsley to the end of the box but not in the corners. Always leave enough soil for the roots to have plenty of coverage in all directions.

lettuce growing in a raised garden bed
different varieties of salad in a vegetable patch

Flowers

Consider saving the corners of the raised bed garden box for growing nasturtiums and marigolds.

These flowers are both beautiful and hard-working garden plants. Nasturtiums add nitrogen to the soil and marigolds repel several common garden pests, plus both flowers are edible.

Marigolds are edible!

Nasturtiums are edible, too!

Garden Markers

Be sure to mark each planted section of the garden so you will know where everything is planted. Use a Popsicle stick or something similar to write plant names and place them in the garden. There are all types of handy garden markers available.

After Germination

After the seeds have germinated assess the raised garden bed to determine if anything needs to be replanted or if there is space to move things around a bit. Replant seeds and/or tuck in more mesclun mix or marigolds.

All these plants make good companions and will provide growing benefits to each other. A raised garden bed allows you to grow plants closer together for a larger harvest in a smaller space.

If all else fails but you still want to grow some of your own food, then try this Funky Veg Kit to get you started!!! These work great indoors or outdoors!

In Conclusion:

So, if you want to try your hand at raising fresh, wholesome veggies, make sure to give these planting design ideas for small raised beds a try. And, of course…..Happy Gardening!

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