Planting Vegetables in an Raised Garden Bed

Planting Vegetables in an Raised Garden Bed

Planting Vegetables in an Raised Garden Bed 887 666 Eco Garden Systems

In the Garden with Jessica: Planting Vegetables in an Raised Garden Bed

Getting seedlings ready for life in the vegetable garden can be a bit tedious. The right container. Transplanting. Watering. Air circulation. Getting that grow light exactly right. But you get over it because each time you pick up a plant to care for it, you are amazed at how fast the seed became an actual plant (indoors during a Minnesota winter, no less). And you can eventually eat that plant right out of your raised garden bed! The best part is brushing against a tiny little tomato seedling and getting the most intense aroma on your fingers. Totally worth the effort.

Over the last two weeks, I have planted up almost my entire Eco Garden Systems elevated garden bed and Vertical Limits tray with both the seedlings I nurtured and seeds. I grew tomatoes, peppers, basil, and lettuce indoors. The hardening off process—where you bring the seedlings outside over a week at increased intervals to get them used to their new surroundings—was a little harrowing. I lost one of my Purple Russian tomato seedlings in the process. The poor thing toppled right out of my hand (yes, I was carrying too much) and in the end lie broken in multiple places in my doorway. Devastating after all that love and attention. The wind has been a bit ruthless too, so it was hard to watch their stems twist and sway.

raised garden box by Eco Garden Systems

It felt a little early for the tomatoes and peppers due to the upcoming cooler weather and rain, but I planted all the seedlings in the vegetable garden. They seemed to be yearning to get outdoors, plus they were outgrowing their space. And the best part? In an Eco Garden, you can plant early due to the design of the bed. I absolutely love the planting process. I planted cooler weather veggies two weeks ago and they are already popping out of the soil. The lettuce I transplanted looked weak at first, but now it’s looking healthy and getting fuller every day.

I still have two tomato plants indoors, just in case any of the others don’t make it (one of them is looking a little sick). I don’t have space in the Eco Garden for them otherwise, so my plan is to put these extra tomatoes into a large pot. The top reason they aren’t going out yet is because I am already waging war with the squirrels. I need to construct a barrier around the container if I have any hope of them surviving (no worries about the Eco Garden – its elevated bed and rounded edges keep the pests out). To be honest, I love the squirrels and ample wildlife that roams my urban lot, so it’s with mixed feelings that I added cayenne to my pots and the Vertical Limits tray. The squirrels ate all my marigolds, nibbled away on the sage and thyme, and keep pulling out other flowers. Ugh. This never happened last year; I thought we were friends.

Here’s my garden plan for the 6’ x 4’ Original Garden—I planted several varieties of peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, beets, carrots, kale, and kohlrabi, and marigolds line the perimeter:

raised bed garden planting guide

Here’s my garden plan for the 4’ x 4’ Vertical Limits tray—I planted several varieties of lettuce and basil, and marigolds to line the perimeter:

garden box planting guide

The only veggies I have left to plant are cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow neck squash. I’ll wait until after the cool weather passes, maybe Memorial Day weekend. I even got in a few succession plantings of lettuce and kohlrabi already. Because you can overplant in an Eco Garden, I tucked in extra herbs, like dill, basil, and cilantro—they make great veggie companions. There are a few extra herbs I decided to buy as starter plants at my favorite local nursery because they smell nice, like lemon balm, lavender, and rose geranium. I couldn’t resist even though I said I was only sowing seed this year!

The Eco Garden test gardens were also planted up early and faring well, even though the wind ravaged a few plants. It will be fun to see how all our gardens do this year. I’m hopeful that my gardens will be better than last year with all the soil improvements I made. And that they outlast the squirrels.

Tell us: What are you growing this year?

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