How to grow fruit & veg in a raised bed
Everything you need to know about raised beds, including what they are used for, what crops to grow in them and how to choose the right raised bed for your garden, grow patch or allotment.
Why do I need a raised bed?
One word: soil. As the basis for healthy plants, soil that is stony, compacted or impoverished will probably mean lower yields, smaller crops and, in some cases, total failure. So raised beds (also known as raised vegetable gardens) offer an alternative to planting in the ground and hoping for the best, allowing you to boost nutrient levels, tweak soil structure and composition, eliminate unwanted debris, and basically give your plants the full five star treatment.
What are my raised bed options?
Raised beds are typically made of wood, metal or recycled plastic, and choosing the right one for you will likely be a question partly of aesthetics and partly of function. Wood and metal vegetable beds can look good in the garden but can be time-consuming to build and difficult to extend, with rust or rot an inevitable (and potentially expensive) issue. Well-made recycled plastic beds solve both issues. Barring a direct meteor strike they should go on practically forever, while increasing the length/width is usually a fairly simple process of opening one side and adding a few planks to the end.
How deep should my raised bed be?
The industry standard is a height/depth of 150mm, which is fine for many crops, flowers and plants. However, if you want to grow root crops such as parsnips, carrots and horseradish you really need 250mm deep and upwards (see our crop guide below for more details). Also, you’ll need to factor in a deeper bed if it’s on a patio or other hard surface, since shallow beds dry out easily unless placed directly on to soil. Our 250mm high Build-a-Bed raised beds offer the additional depth needed to grow a greater range of crops. They also feature unique curved edge planks, which 'lock' beds together when stacked vertically, allowing for ultra-deep raised beds without losing structure or stability.
What to plant in a raised bed?
Shallow Root – Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Garlic, Kohl Rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Potato, Radish, Spinach.
Medium Root – Broad Beans, French Beans, Runner Beans, Beetroot, Carrots, Chard, Cucumber, Aubergine, Kale, Peas, Peppers, Summer Squash, Turnips, Melon.
Deep Root – Artichoke (Jerusalem), Asparagus, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Rhubarb, Winter Squash, Sweet Potato, Tomatoes.