Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.
DIY-1078114_g128_3ca

DIY-1078114_g128_3ca

Raised-bed gardening is a great way to grow vegetables -- especially if the garden soil is poor or compacted or has poor drainage. And there's no bending over to pull weeds or harvest vegetables.

Raised beds take very little space, and can be built right over a concrete patio. Drainage in a raised bed is superior to that in an in-ground garden bed. A 12"-deep bed provides ample room for most vegetable roots.

The soil in raised beds warms up more quickly in spring so planting can be done earlier. And if the bed is narrow, 3' or less, there will be no need to step on the soil and thus it prevents compaction. It's much easier for roots to grow in loose soil.

Don't build a raised bed on a wooden deck: when the bed is full of soil and water, its weight could cause structural damage.

If the raised bed sits directly on the soil, line the planting bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire at building time to prevent visits from burrowing animals such as gophers and moles.

The bed may be made of wood, stone, brick, cinderblocks or any other material from which you can build a base at least 12" deep. Choose a location that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Almost any type of vegetables can be grown in raised beds. Exceptions are potatoes, whose roots need a lot of room, and corn, which would grow so high that harvesting would be difficult.

Here's how to plant a raised bed:

1. Fill the bed with good-quality potting soil or compost, and rake the surface smooth and level. Remove any rocks or debris.

2. Plants in raised beds may be spaced a little closer together because fertilizer and manure can be concentrated in the small gardening area.

3. Plant lettuce by poking holes in the soil with your finger at 6" intervals, and sprinkle a few seeds into each hole. Once the seeds germinate, thin to one seedling per hole.

4. You can also broadcast seeds over the surface of the raised bed. If you plant carrots, apply fine-textured potting soil over the top of the seeds. Carrots will attract some species of butterflies to your raised beds.

5. Cucumbers may be planted along the edge of the raised bed, where they can trail over the side. Cucumbers will grow right on top of your patio.

6. Water the garden well immediately after planting.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Raised Beds

Raised beds can be as simple as mounding up soil into a deep, wide planting area. Here are a few tips on how to garden with them.

Newbie Gardener: Raised Bed Garden Build-Out

Creating raised beds and trellising melons in a home garden.

Raised Beds for the Garden

Build a raised bed in your garden, and notice fewer weeds, fluffier soil and more convenience.

How to Build a Stone Raised Bed

Learn how to build a raised garden bed using recycled concrete rubble recovered from an old patio as the border material.

Should I Plant My Vegetable Garden in Raised Beds?

The pros and cons of raised bed gardening.

How to Build a Raised Vegetable Bed

Having trouble growing your favorite vegetables due to poorly draining soil? Follow these step-by-step instructions and build your own raised veggie bed.

Building Raised Beds

Give your garden a lift by planting in a raised bed.

Elevated Garden Beds

Growing plants is within reach for those facing mobility issues or limited garden space.

Keyhole Gardening Tips

Try this inexpensive, green solution to growing food in drought-prone terrain.

Maintaining a Vegetable Garden

Follow this step-by-step guide for growing a productive vegetable garden.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Island Life

6:30am | 5:30c

Island Life

7am | 6c

Island Life

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Desert Flippers

1:30pm | 12:30c

Desert Flippers

2:30pm | 1:30c

Desert Flippers

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

House Hunters

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.