Techniques for Raised Garden Planting:
Planting raised gardens require a little different technique than if you were planting rows into a garden started at ground level. If you are reading this article, you probably have already covered the section on constructing your raised garden beds, so now you are ready to get into the planting stage. In this article we will cover the techniques for planting vegetables into your raised garden beds.
Block Style Planting: One of the most efficient methods for planting raised gardens is called block style planting, or close row planting. Block style planting can increase your garden yields by as much as five times traditional row planting. This type of planting is extremely compact and the design greatly reduces the weeds in your garden, making it the ideal technique for raised garden planting.
The technique itself is very simple. Rather than planting your vegetables in long rows, block planting involves planting one type of vegetable into square or rectangular blocks, with a minimum amount of spacing between each plant. Then you continue planting other vegetables in similar blocks as you move down the length of the raised bed.
Advantages of Raised Garden Planting:
If you have followed traditional advice on building your raised beds, you should have built them no more than 4 feet wide with access to them on all sides. This is extremely important for raised garden planting because it will allow you to plant the entire raised bed without ever having to set foot inside the planting area. It is equally important for tending your garden as it makes weeding and pruning that much easier. You can also mulch the walkways around your raised garden with wood chips or dry grass clippings.
The tight planting patterns of each type of vegetable causes the foliage of the plants to grow together which very effectively shades any unused portion of the beds, which helps tremendously to keep weeds at a minimum.
For the quick growing veggies such as lettuce, beets, and radishes, once you harvest these veggies, you can replant them right away into the same location to get repeated harvests throughout the growing season.
Suggestions for Raised Garden Planting:
Because this method of raised garden planting forms a very dense planting, you will need to make sure your raised garden beds are filled with a fertile soil that has a lot of organic matter, and is especially well drained. You will want to follow the planting suggestions below very closely because over-planting will cause poor air circulation which will lead to an increased risk of diseases spreading through your garden.
Planting Suggestions: Here are suggested planting ideas for you to try in your raised garden. These will have a minimum and a maximum planting distance that you can experiment with. It is suggested that you start off with the maximum planting distances until you have experience with the particular veggies in your garden.
Spacing for Raised Garden Planting:
These spacing suggestions assume you are working within a 4 foot wide raised planting bed:
Beets: 4" - 6" spacing
Carrots: 2" - 3" spacing
Celery: 7" - 9" spacing
Garlic: 4" - 6" spacing
Kohlrabi: 7"- 9" spacing
Leeks: 4" - 6" spacing
Head Lettuce: 10" - 12" spacing
Leaf Lettuce: 7" - 9" spacing
Bunching Onions: 2" - 3" spacing
Dry Onions: 4" - 6" spacing
Parsnips: 5" - 6" spacing
Radishes: 2" - 3" spacing
Spinach: 4" - 6" spacing
Swiss Chard: 4" - 6" spacing
Turnips: 4" - 6" spacing
Other types of vegetables well suited for block style planting include…
Cole crops including Brussels, cauliflowers, broccoli, and cabbages: 18" spacing
Corn: should always be planted in block patterns because it facilitates pollination. Recommended planting width is 5 rows wide for the best pollination results. 12" spacing
Eggplant: 18" - 24" spacing
Peppers: 12" - 15" spacing
Potatoes: 12" - 15" spacing
Vine crops such as pumpkins, watermelons, squash, and cantaloupes can also be planted using this method. In a 4 foot wide planting bed, it is suggested you plant one row of these veggies down the center of the planting box, keeping the late season harvests like the pumpkins and winter squashes in the center, and the other summer harvest vegetables at the edges where they are easily reached.
Raised Garden Planting with Trellises:
Consider using trellises when raised garden planting for crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers. Doing so will not only save you precious space and make harvesting that much easier, but the added air circulation you will get around the trellised plants will also help reduce the risk of disease. Tomatoes should be planted in a single row, spaced no less than 24" apart, while cucumbers can be spaced 9" - 12" apart from one another.
Peas and beans will actually perform better if planted in rows rather than blocks. They will also be far more resistant to disease. Space these vegetables a good 12" between each row, and about 4" between each plant.
Using these suggestions when planting raised gardens will give you many advantages over traditional row planting. As we stated previously, one of the biggest benefits is the increased yields you will see from your veggies. The dense planting patterns will also help prevent weeds from germinating.
Because you have access to the planting beds from all sides, you will never need to set foot into the planting area and that will help prevent the soil from compacting.
Raised garden planting in block style makes the layout much easier to cover in the event of a coming spring or fall frost. This extends your growing season.
Because you've built raised beds specifically for planting, you can control the type of soil that goes into each bed, as well as cut down on wasted water and fertilizer for your plants. Raised gardens give you far more control over your growing conditions than any other traditional form of gardening.
Not only that, but raised flower beds can add an architectural addition to your home while providing a practical use for growing fresh vegetables or flowers.
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