Top 10 raised bed plants
Raised garden beds can be found in many gardens. But which plants are best suited to be grown in raised beds? Find out more here.
Raised garden beds have been somewhat of a garden trend in the recent years. It doesn’t matter whether they are made of stone and permanently installed in the garden, or made of wood and are therefore mobile (especially if they are wheeled). This latest horticultural craze has a clear advantage: by raising the root space, it heats up faster in raised beds in summer and thus more productive harvests can be achieved than with the ground cultivation. In winter, however, the unwelcome cold is also absorbed quicker and can therefore lead to frost damage. But which plants are particularly suitable for cultivation in raised beds? We will get to the bottom of this question in the following text.
Planting in the raised beds: making the right choice
In order to achieve good results in a raised bed, the choice of plants (whether vegetables, herbs or fruit) can be made according to various criteria. Of course, the height of the plants is decisive, because with tall-growing crops, maintenance and the harvest can quickly become cumbersome. In addition, not all plants tolerate such a confined space well and the nutrient requirements of the individual crops can also be decisive for the selection. For example, it makes sense to grow plants with a high nutrient requirement if the substrate was replaced recently.
In the first year of life of a raised bed, it is therefore recommended to grow the so-called ‘heavy eaters’ such as cabbage, carrots or strawberries. In general, however, it is advisable to combine plants with a lower nutrient requirement with plants that require a high supply of nutrients. In addition, a partial change of the substrate in the raised bed – at least in the upper 30 cm – at the beginning of each garden season in spring is advised. Moreover, some herbs such as the aromatic hyssop or lavender are well suited for cultivation in raised beds, as they can counteract an infestation by plant pests due to their essential oils.
Criteria for the selection of suitable plants:
- Height of growth and space requirement
- Nutritional requirements
- Compatibility with other plants
- Positive effect on pest infestation (herbs)
- Winter resilience
10 plants for the raised bed
From vegetables to herbs to fruit: these 10 plants are particularly suitable for cultivation in raised beds because of their specific characteristics. Which plants in combination they then tolerate and make sense to grow with is of course a topic for another time.
Regardless if we are talking lettuce, radicchio, read leaf or iceberg lettuce: this leafy green is particularly suitable for cultivation in raised beds because it grows and leads to harvest quickly. In addition, lettuce does not require too many nutrients and thus does not soak up the very limited substrate in the raised bed. The lettuce is also highly compatible with other plants in the raised bed.
Tomatoes are another great plant for raised beds. They are particularly suitable for cultivation in the first years after filling the bed, as they have a high nutrient requirement, with which the fresh soil can help. When selecting varieties, mind the growth height of some tomato varieties and choose tomatoes that do not grow too tall so that they can still be harvested and cared for comfortably.
Courgettes grow extensively and therefore need a lot of space in the bed. When planting in a raised bed, the courgette plants can be placed at the edge so that they hang down on the sides. The rapid warming of the soil in the raised bed also promotes the well-being of the plants.
Hyssop is a Mediterranean herb with a particularly high content of essential oils. It can be used as a herb in the kitchen but also to keep unpleasant pests out of the garden bed. Aphids or snails, for example, are driven away by the intense scent. So, growing hyssop is a great preventative measure against pests, which allows to avoid using pesticides.
5. Mediterranean herbs
In general, Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, basil, thyme or lavender can be cultivated in the raised bed. In summer they enjoy the additional warmth that the raised bed provides. However, overwintering these plants, which are sensitive to cold, can be rather difficult under certain circumstances. Just as the earth warms up more quickly in summer, the cold and frost in winter also unfortunately find their way into the raised bed more easily.
Strawberries can also be cultivated successfully in raised beds – over several years. Since they also form runners, they can be propagated without any effort. A small fun fact: from the botanical point of view, the strawberry is not a berry at all but an aggregate fruit. A berry in the botanical sense of the word, on the other hand, is the tomato.
They may make you cry when you peel them, but in many dishes they simply cannot be omitted. Therefore, it is more than justified that onions are planted in the raised bed. They are put into the soil relatively early in the gardening season (March) and only harvested in autumn when the leaves dry up. Thus, they take up space for a long time in the raised bed but also lead relatively safely to a harvesting success.
At first glance, this ornamental plant is of no great use other than the bright orange or yellow flowers that adorn the garden. They can, however, reduce the small nematodes, which attack various plants and can lead to crop failures and reduced plant vitality. The marigold discharges toxic substances which are only visible under the microscope and these cause the death of the small worms.
9. Swiss chard
Although the leaves of Swiss chard are used in the kitchen, botanically it belongs to the beet group and is therefore related to sugar beet, beetroot and others. Swiss chard must be watered regularly during cultivation in the bed. However, since only individual leaves are removed during the harvest, it can remain planted throughout the summer and be harvested again and again. This will save you the hassle of having to replant new plants and the space in the raised bed is permanently used up.
Of course, carrots are also suitable for growing in raised beds. In this case, too, the additional heat in the raised bed shortens the cultivation time and leads to harvest quicker. However, care must be taken to ensure that the raised bed is deep enough and provides sufficient space for the carrots to form the orange root that is harvested.
With these 10 plants you can also successfully plant your raised bed. Generally speaking, almost all plants are suitable for cultivation in a raised bed. Making a correct choice of plants for the bed depends on your needs and intention you have for the bed. However, do not forget to enjoy the process (in case of failure, the gaps can be filled with plants quickly again). In our experience, spontaneity and improvisation provide additional fun and unexpected success when gardening in a raised bed.