When choosing vegetables for raised beds, it is worth choosing varieties that have been specially bred for growing in raised beds. Varieties for boxes, tubs and pots are also usually very suitable. The focus, of course, is on enjoyment and personal taste, but with skillful variety selection, you can harvest fresh vegetables from your raised bed for months to come: With a little planning, the vegetable harvest in the raised bed lasts from the start of the season until autumn.
Vegetables for raised beds: tips in a nutshell
Vegetables for raised beds are characterized either by a short cultivation period or a long harvest time. The growth habit also plays an important role: the varieties should grow more in height than in width. This saves space.
What vegetables are suitable for raised beds?
In mild locations, you can seed fast-growing vegetables such as leave or babyleaf lettuce in the raised bed as early as the end of February. A proven variety is ‘Old Mexico Mix’, for example. Kohlrabis bred for early cultivation or radishes such as ‘Celest’ are also sprinters in the raised bed. Radishes sown starting in March, such as ‘Bluemoon’ and ‘Redmoon’, are nearly two weeks ahead of traditional varieties like ‘Easter Greetings’ in harvest date. Don’t wait until the tubers and roots reach their final size. Professionals always harvest a little earlier and reseed immediately.
Bush beans and chard are the best examples of a successful strategy for growing vegetables in raised beds: Both are sown only once in the raised bed and provide vitamin-rich leaves and crunchy pods for the kitchen over many weeks. If you’re stingy with space, go for vegetables that aim high instead of growing wide. Chard ‘Everglade’ is grown like spinach leaves. If you only ever cut the outer leaves, the harvest can be extended for many weeks. Bush bean ‘Red Swan’ grows only knee-high and needs no support. The reddish-tinged, tasty pods ripen six weeks after sowing.
At the feet of the new climbing zucchini ‘Quine’ or the almost forgotten but decorative Malabar spinach, there’s room for beet and compact-growing nasturtiums like ‘Pepe’. Chives ‘Rising Star’ add variety to the border with lavender flowers. Edible golden marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) are just as pretty as the purely ornamental forms. ‘Luna Orange’ blooms bright orange. Leaves and flowers have a tart flavor reminiscent of grated orange peel.
Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, sage and oregano are happy to share space in the raised bed, but must not crowd each other. It is best to place the spices in herb-only raised beds or larger containers filled with herb soil after purchase, but only after they have fully rooted the growing pot. Tomatoes and other fruiting vegetables prefer to stay to themselves, even in raised beds. Water freshly planted peppers and eggplants generously for the first two weeks. After that, water more sparingly, but never let the soil dry out completely.
Chili and pepper have a long growing period. If you prefer to grow the young plants yourself, you should order seeds quickly and sow them by the end of February at the latest.
Vegetables for raised beds
When it comes to vegetables for raised beds, you can definitely go for variety: Certain species and varieties can be so cleverly grown together that even gourmets get their money’s worth. For example, a combination of zucchini, beet, bell pepper tomato, Malabar spinach and Inca berry (Physalis peruviana), is a good idea. The zucchini variety ‘Serafina’ grows bushy and produces many dark green fruits. Beet ‘Tondo di Chioggia’, on the other hand, convinces with mild-tasting, pink-white curled flesh. Bell pepper tomato ‘Candy Apple’ seduces with dark red, sweet fruits. Malabar spinach, by the way, is a climbing vegetable. The leaves are prepared like spinach, the taste is reminiscent of young corn cob. Inca berry ‘Schönbrunner Gold’ ripens in late summer. The golden-yellow, sweet-sour fruits taste good in between and for dessert.
When should you renew the filling of the raised bed?
For a particularly early and abundant vegetable harvest, you need to completely replace the filling of raised beds after five to six years. If you are mainly concerned with back-friendly work, it is sufficient to replace only the top layer to a depth of about 30 centimeters (12 in). If the soil has settled more heavily due to rotting processes in the first few years after the new planting, the box can be filled with a mixture of mature compost and sieved garden soil in the spring (ratio 1:1). As a substitute or for smaller box beds, you can use store-bought, peat-free raised bed soil.
Seed carpets made of biodegradable fleece are practical for the first sowings. They are cut to the bed dimensions with scissors. As with seed tapes, the seeds are embedded in the paper at the correct distance, but additionally offset from each other. Compared to row sowing, you need up to a third less area for the same number of plants.