The best vegetables for raised garden beds: top 8 choices

The best vegetables for raised garden beds: top 8 choices

Raised beds are the ultimate means to set up perfect conditions to grow vegetables. Allowing soil amendments, warming up more quickly, and having better drainage properties are just some of the perks that make raised veg beds a great addition to every garden. 

So if you are wondering what vegetables to plant in your new raised beds, we have some recommendations. Read more about the top 8 choices in our article and learn why veggies are some of the best plants for raised beds.

 

Why use raised garden beds?

 

Before the question of what to plant in raised beds pops up in your mind, you probably have some other doubts. Hobbyists and those who are new to gardening often wonder if an investment in raised veg beds is even worth it. Well, it is. And we are here to tell you why.

Growing vegetables in a raised beds garden has many advantages, compared to planting them directly in the ground:

  • Manual soil type selection
  • Easy soil amendments
  • Better regulation of pH and nutrients
  • Better water retention and drainage
  • No soil compaction
  • Longer growing season
  • Keeps roots warm
  • Less soil erosion
  • Fewer weeds

Using raised beds is one of the best decisions you can make for your vegetable garden. If you haven’t set up raised vegetable beds in your yard yet, now is the time. 

UK is climate-friendly to grow most types of vegetables, so if you are ready to bring a twist to your London garden, we are all here for it! Keep on reading for advice on veg plant selection and to understand how to grow certain types of veggies in raised beds:

 

Top 8 vegetables for raised beds

1) Lettuce

Leafy greens like lettuce love warm and well-draining soil, so they thrive in raised beds! One of the best qualities of lettuce is it grows very fast in rich soil with organic fertilizer. 

As a sun-loving plant, lettuce prefers full sun placements. But since it is a very adaptive vegetable, it also tolerates partial shade and cool weather. Lettuce plants will flourish in spring and fall but crops might require cold protection (cloches, plastic tunnels or fleece) when winter hits. 

The good news about salad greens is they do not take that much space. So feel free to plant them on the edges of your raised beds. That would ensure you have more space in the raised bed to plant some complimentary veggies like tomatoes and peppers. 

Other companion plants of lettuce are beets, celery, potatoes, dill, spinach and onions. We do not reccomend planting pole beans near lettuce in raised beds.

2) Carrots

Carrot plants are a fantastic addition to raised vegetable beds. Carrots acclimate easily to the deep and loose well-draining soil in raised beds. And thanks to the adjustable conditions, these root veggies are bound to start growing vigorously due to the lack of rocks and pebbles in the raised beds.

Early spring and late fall are the best seasons to grow carrots. Unlike most vegetables you can grow in raised beds, carrots don’t like high temperatures (even though they prefer sunny spots). In cool weather and slightly cold soil, you can grow delicious carrots of the highest quality, with bold colouration and amazing food properties.

When planted in a raised vegetable bed, position carrots close to taller vegetables which would shade the soil and keep it relatively cool. But not too close, though, because carrots love being exposed to full sun. 

Carrots grow well with beans and tomatoes. But if you want to plant another type of veggie nearby, go ahead. There are barely any plants that could affect carrots or stun their growth, as long as they have enough space to form roots.  

3) Tomatoes

When gardeners think about what to plant in raised beds, tomatoes instantly come to mind. That is because these delicious edibles are very demanding when it comes to soil, warmth and getting their nutrients. 

Tomatoes prefer deep and loose slightly acidic soil and enjoy plenty of sun, making them splendid plants for raised beds. One of the best advantages of cultivating tomatoes is they grow vertically and will not take that much space in your raised beds.

Tomatoes pair well with cucumbers, carrots, celery, onions and peppers. As for negative plant pairings, avoid planting tomatoes near corn and potato plants. 

4) Beets

Beet plants are wonderful candidates for raised bed growing. These root vegetables flourish in loose soil, away from weeds and rocks. Thus, they tend to reach their maximum potential when planted in raised vegetable beds. 

Before planting, note that as a cool-season plant, beets hardly tolerate high temperatures. This type of vegetable does well in chilly weather and grows vigorously during spring and fall. 

Space-wise, beets require little room and can flourish even when you plant them in a small raised bed. Beets also develop quickly so gardeners won’t wait long to harvest the crops from their raised beds garden.

Surround beets with these complimentary plants: bush beans, onions, garlic, leafy greens and veggies from the Cabbage family. 

5) Cucumbers 

Even though cucumbers are very adaptive, they are warm-season vegetables that could barely endure low temperatures and absolutely do not tolerate frost. That only means these veggies would strive for the warmth of a raised garden bed.

Cucumbers grow quick, need full sunlight, lots of nutrients and plenty of water. When you plan them in raised beds, provide enough humidity and ensure the soil is fertile. Mixing it up with manure or compost is a good call.

Growing cucumbers in raised beds surely mean higher yields and lots of saved space. Let the plants climb up trellises and grow vertically to maximize space, or let them cascade around the raised vegetable beds. 

Feel free to plant any other type of vegetables near cucumbers in your raised beds garden. The list of best cucumber companion plants includes beans, corn, peas and cabbage. 

6) Potatoes

Want to plant potatoes in your raised veg beds? Go ahead. 

Potatoes are not very needy so you can easily cultivate them in raised beds. Even though they prefer relatively cool weather, these crops are easily adaptive and can adjust to almost any climate. They will do best in full sun and slightly acidic soil. 

As a root vegetable, potatoes are prone to rot and their growth can be stunned by rocky and compacted soil. That makes potatoes one of the best veggies to grow in raised beds, where the soil is loose, deep, and drains well.

When it comes to companion planting – beans, corn and peas are the best veggie pairings when growing potatoes in a raised bed. Do not plant tomatoes and potatoes together.

7) Eggplants

Other edible plants that will flourish in raised beds are eggplants. The eggplant is a classic raised bed vegetable that loves water and warm soil that is extensively rich in nutrients. Due to its excessive needs and preferences, there is hardly a better way to keep up and grow eggplants in your garden than doing it in raised vegetable beds. 

Eggplants are known for their long growing season. With that in mind, you might need to start them indoors around two months before transplanting them in your raised beds garden in late spring. That way, you get to protect young veggies from frost damage and ensure maximum raised beds yield.

Direct sunlight and warm temperatures are vital for the well-being of these vegetables. Therefore, promoting a healthy growing environment for eggplants in raised beds should be on top of your list. 

The best complimentary plants for eggplants are pepper and beans. 

8) Onions

Onions will best develop in loose soil with good drainage, enriched with compost. Sounds familiar? In the gardening world, raised vegetable beds are considered one of the best means to cultivate onions. 

In raised beds, onions are able to grow in ultimate conditions, unimpeded by dense and rocky ground soil, away from most external aggressors. Plant these in autumn or early spring. As for the placement, pick a sunny spot in the raised bed for the best growth results. 

Carrots, Swiss chard, peppers and beets are vegetables that grow well together with onions. Unlikely pairings include all types of beans and peas.

 

How to combine plants in a raised bed?

small plants in a raised bed

 

Some plants tend to spread too rapidly or stunt each other’s growth, while others benefit each other by deterring pests and enhancing soil qualities. Companion planting is about which vegetables grow well together, and is something you should strive for in your raised beds garden. 

Here is what to have in mind when combining plants for raised beds:

Same temperature, moisture, and sunlight needs

The thing about raised beds is that each elevated bed is like a whole separate ecosystem. The conditions in raised beds are easy to amend, however, they remain the same throughout the whole raised garden bed layout. 

Meaning that the plants you will grow there will develop in the exact same conditions. In order to ensure healthy development, your veggies and complimentary plants should have similar needs in terms of soil, water, sunlight, and temperature. 

Enough space for growth

Unlike planting in the ground, raised beds do not offer unlimited space for roots to grow and plants to spread. With that in mind, when selecting vegetables for your raised beds garden you have to make sure your plants will have enough space, without suffocating or stunning each other’s growth.

Thanks to companion planting, raised bed gardeners can expect higher yield and even get some complimentary benefits like organic insect control. Some of the best insect repellents to plant in raised veg beds are marigolds and aromatic herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and chives.

Complementary benefits

Now that you know what to plant in raised beds, are you ready to start growing veggies? Follow our professional gardening tips and recommendations and you will grow a wonderful raised vegetable garden in no time.

If your free time and gardening experience are limited, get in touch with us and our raised bed gardeners in the UK. With extensive skills and knowledge about raised beds, we would love to lend you a hand in setting up your raised beds and making your London garden a veggie paradise. 

Get a quote now and take advantage of professional gardening services like planting, weeding, garden maintenance and more!

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