Wondering what to grow in your raised beds this year? This list is packed with great ideas for growing in raised beds.
I go through ten different crops and say why they are well suited to raised beds as well as pointing out a few problems with some of the crops on this list.
Carrots are probably the best-suited crop for growing in raised beds.
The fine, high-quality, and, more importantly, stone-free soil in raised beds is perfect for carrots.
If a carrot hits a stone or other hard object in the soil, it forks, leading to disfigured carrots.
Raised beds counter this problem perfectly, leading to high-quality carrots.
They also lend themselves to netting, which is excellent for carrots as it helps you protect against carrot flies.
For all the same reasons as the carrots above, parsnips make a great crop to grow in raised beds.
The fine deep soil is perfect for parsnips to grow into, meaning you will end up with perfect-looking roots more often than not.
Onions are great crops to grow in raised beds. They love the rich fertile soil, but there is a more important reason for growing them in raised beds.
That is, like a lot of other crops on this list, raised beds allow for easy netting of your valuable plants.
This is great for onions which suffer from allium root miner.
This pest is the larvae of flies that “mine” into your onions and cause them to rot.
Netting your crop with insect mesh is a great way to stop the flies from being able to get near your onions.
No flies equals no larvae!
I could copy and paste all the information above about why garlic is excellent for growing in raised beds as the reasons are the same.
In fact, this goes for all members of the allium family, so you could also include leeks in this list, but I didn’t want this to be a long list of alliums, so I left them out!
But if you are growing alliums, then raised beds make a great choice.
Sweeetcorn can be both a great crop to grow in raised beds and also one to avoid.
This all comes down to the size of your raised beds.
If they are anything over two feet tall, then don’t grow sweetcorn in them.
This is simply because you will end up with plants eight, maybe even ten feet in the air, which becomes impossible to care for.
However, they can be perfect for raised beds, as they are hungry plants and will significantly appreciate the high-quality soil.
They also need to be planted in blocks to pollinate well, which is ideally suited for raised beds that are usually very blocky.
One of the reasons peas work so well in raised beds is that you can net them easily.
As you can see in the above image, it is straightforward to make a simple structure using the four corners of the raised bed for support.
You can then cover this with a net to protect your peas.
This is a good idea with peas because birds, particularly pigeons, love peas and can wreak havoc on them.
As I did with the sweetcorn above, one thing I will mention is that tall crops are not always great in raised beds.
This is based on the height of your raised bed, so isn’t a problem unless your raised beds are tall.
The simple reason is that it can make harvesting and caring for your crops tough if they are eight feet in the air!
Like peas above, beans make excellent crops for growing in raised beds.
They will love the highly nutritious soil in raised beds and benefit from netting to keep birds away.
Again though, they don’t work well in tall raised beds as your plants will end up huge, and you will need a ladder to harvest your beans!
8. Salad Crops
Salad crops have a few advantages to being grown in raised beds.
One is that you can scatter them here and there amongst your other crops due to their compact nature.
This type of companion growing is great for squeezing the maximum out of your space.
They can also benefit from being grown under cover. Both in the cold and in the heat.
They can be grown under plastic in a raised bed to extend your season in the cold.
In hot climates, you can replace the plastic with shade cloth to help you grow salads in the height of summer.
All brassicas work well in raised beds. The reasons for this are twofold, in my opinion.
One is that they are hungry feeders, and if you look after your raised beds properly, then the soil in them should be very high quality.
The second reason is that raised beds allow you to make protective structures easily.
This is great for brassicas, which should be netted to protect against cabbage butterflies.
You can use the structure of the raised bed to help make a frame for netting, like in the image below.
Let’s finish with a bit of a different one, Salsify.
I bet many of you have never grown this root vegetable, but I’m here to tell you to try it.
Salsify is a root vegetable that grows a long thin root that resembles a parsnip.
It is very popular in France and is known as the vegetable oyster due to its taste.
As you might have guessed from the name, it is commonly used to make vegetarian oyster soup.
Again because this is a root vegetable, it does well in raised beds because of the high quality of soil and absence of stones.