The Best Plants for a Raised Garden Bed

Gardening is a lot of hard work, but every time I go out to my garden I remember something important: it’s also rewarding and a lot of fun. Plus, you get to eat what you grow!

So what are some of the best plants for a raised garden bed? The best plants for a raised garden bed are the ones your family likes to eat, as almost every plant can be grown in a raised garden bed.

Even so, some plants do better in a raised garden bed than others do. So let’s talk about which are the best to grow in raised beds!

What Plants to Grow in a Raised Garden Bed

Before you grow any plant, you first need to make sure it can grow in your yard, based on things like your growing zone, the amount of available sun, and what you’ll actually eat.

Because while I’m sure an eggplant would look gorgeous in my garden, I don’t do a lot of cooking with eggplant. And my children think it looks weird and won’t touch it, so there’s that, too. So I don’t grow eggplant – the few times I do make some eggplant parmigiana, I just buy fresh eggplant at the store.

So here are some of the easiest plants to grow in raised beds, based on how comfortable you feel in your skill as a gardener and your patience levels. At least, this is how I’ve expanded as I’ve gotten better at gardening!

Beginner GardenersImpatient GardenerIntermediate Gardener
TomatoesRadishesBig Tomatoes
Bush BeansSpinachPole or Vine Beans
Swiss ChardLettuceWatermelon
CucumbersBush BeansBetter Corn
HerbsCabbageMore Herbs!

Now, there’s one other way to help determine the best plants for your raised garden beds: it’s by when you garden. However, if you’re a beginner gardener, this may be too much. If that’s the case, don’t feel bad in the slightest. Start where you’re comfortable and work up from there.

What You Can Plant 4-6 Weeks Before The Last FrostWhat You Can Plant Right After the Last FrostFall Vegetables To Extend Your Growing SeasonPlants That’ll Survive First Fall/Winter Frost
CabbageCornSwiss ChardBroccoli
LettuceSummer SquashCucumbersBeets and Radishes
CauliflowerTomatoes (start indoors)CornCarrots
Spinach, Swiss ChardEggplantSquashSpinach
Peas, Carrots, Radishes, & BeetsPeppersSome varieties of TomatoCauliflower

In my zone, I’ve noticed that potatoes are hardy – you can pretty much plant them any time! And they grow really well, even in my “still-needs-improvement” soil.

In any case, gardening is a lot of fun. And with practice, you’ll learn what works for you.

Example: we grew a lot of broccoli one year. I loved it, but I couldn’t eat it fast enough and only two other family members would eat it – and they only like it raw. So, we don’t grow as much broccoli any more (4 plants was 2-3 too many!). Now I know.

Finally, make sure you know how much sun a plant likes. The back of each package will tell you. Then, know that it might be a suggestion rather than a rule.

Example: This year we grew carrots and sunflowers. Carrots are a full-sun plant. However, the carrots that grew in the shade of the sunflowers grew a lot better and were a lot tastier than the ones that grew in full-sun.

So don’t be afraid to get it wrong. Go out and experiment. Enjoy your garden. And let your kids have fun helping and getting dirty. Who knows? They may end up teaching you a thing or two – just like mine did when they insisted I plant the carrots in the shade of the sunflowers this last year.

Kimberly C. Starr

I'm a ginger who loves reading, eating, being a nurse, spending time with my family, and writing about it all. I believe humor is the best medicine, followed very closely by chocolate and tacos. To read more about me, click here.

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