How to Plan a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Jeanne Grunert
by Jeanne Grunert

A raised bed vegetable garden consists of boxes made of wood, stone, or recycled materials and filled with soil and compost. Plants are grown within the raised beds. Because you never walk on the soil around the plants, it never compacts. Raised beds are great for the elderly, since you can remain seated while gardening; the extra height of the bed makes it easier to tend the plants. They are also easier to keep weed-free. Planning your raised bed vegetable garden is very similar to planning and kind of garden.

My raised bed vegetable garden.

Build only as many beds as you will need for your family. Focus your gardening efforts on growing vegetables such as tomatoes which always taste better when fresh from the garden. Don't waste time, space or money growing vegetables that are less expensive at the store. Plan your garden around what your family wants and needs.

Always build your raised bed vegetable garden where it will receive plenty of bright, direct sunlight. Light is the most important quality to look for since you are going to fill the beds with fresh soil anyway, and irrigation can be added, too. Vegetables grow best in full sunlight, defined as six or more hours of light per day.

My husband and I built this raised bed vegetable garden using pine lumber coated with environmentally-friendly preservatives to prevent rot. We stapled landscape fabric across the bottom of the bed to prevent grass from growing through, then turned the bed over so that the landscape fabric is on the bottom. The soil you see piled up in the bed at left was then added to the raised bed. Our soil is a mix of bagged garden center soil, compost and manure, peat moss, and a special garden compost we buy in bulk from the local mill. It's basically composted bark and scrap wood.

Learn how to grow winter squash.

Asparagus in the raised bed.
Jeanne Grunert
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Sus4744758 Sus4744758 on Feb 22, 2016
    Hi! I am very new to vegetable gardening, and want to do it right. Here are a few questions I have, if you don't mind taking the time to answer. What is the benefit of raised gardening? Is it something I should do? What do I do so that my plants don't get eaten by the wildlife in our area? (Deer, raccoon, skunks, groundhogs...) How do I keep my plants to grow straight and high? Thank you!

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  • Suanne Suanne on May 01, 2017
    I did a container garden last year for the 1st time and did pretty good. This year I am expanding to a raised bed also and in the corner of my yard a few vines for my Mom and my grill, in a fenced in corner. I am still trying my hand at different flowers. I have a new place to call home, so I have some big dreams to come yet. Wish me luck. SD Nebraska

  • Darlyne Weese Darlyne Weese on Apr 12, 2019

    love this