Top 5 Tips For Planting A Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
Happy day friends! I hope all of you are starting to experience some warmer spring temps like we are here in NC!
This is our third year planting two raised bed vegetable gardens but it's the first time I've written about them. The first two years were a lot of trial and error, but now I feel like we have a few solid ideas about what we're doing.
Let's start off by acknowledging that I am no gardening expert. These tips are just my suggestions from what has worked or not worked for us in the past.
- Go organic with your soil but don't pay up for name brands. I want the veggies I grow to be organic but I don't feel the need to spend a lot of money on name brand soil. I buy the cheapest organic soil I can find. Our beds already had a base so we added 4 bags of garden/top soil, 2 bags of cow manure and 1 bag of mushroom compost.
- Follow spacing instructions...for the most part. We made the mistake one year of not paying attention to the spacing between the veggies and naturally some of them pushed others out. Now we always space our veggies out according to the instructions on the tag, give or take a few inches.
- Water regularly but don't drench. Another sure-fire way to lose your plants is to over or under water them. Another mistake we've made, mostly because I would get too lazy or busy to water them and then when I did I would drench them. Don't do that :) I've found that a good balance is watering every 1-3 days depending on the weather. Touch the soil to see how damp or moist it is.
- Pay attention to timing. Some plants grow faster than others of course so I try and group the plants together that grow at the same pace. I haven't had a ton of success with lettuce yet so I grouped them together in case they don't make it and we can plant something in their place. Although our spinach and romaine are looking pretty good this year!
- Feed your veggies. Every few weeks I feed the beds with organic vegetable food. I don't have any real evidence of the effect the food has the plants but from what I can tell it seems to help.
*BONUS TIP: If you can track your weather it's helpful to time your planting accordingly. If you plant your veggies, get a good rain and then a day of sun this should jump start the growth...at least it did with ours this year!
Here is how we prepped our garden:
First, we raked the base soil in our beds leftover from the previous year.
Next, we spread the new soil and raked it until it was combined. Did you know that you can fit 13 bags of soil in a Prius plus all the veggies? Well, you can!
Then we laid out our veggies and measured the distance for planting.
This year in our garden we planted spinach, romaine lettuce and red onions in the left bed and squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, red bell peppers, and jalapenos in the right bed. Depending on how well the lettuce does, we will probably replace it with sweet potatoes when they arrive in store.
Finally, we give the gardens a good watering and pray for rain then sun over the next couple days :)
We bought this soaker hose to try this year but I haven't quite gotten the hang of it so I'm not sure how it's going to work out. I'll let you know if we end up loving it!
Make sure to stake your tomatoes or any veggies that grow up.
Do you guys plant gardens? Like I said, we're amateur gardeners so I'd love your veggie garden tips!