The type of plants you choose for your raised bed will obviously be based on things such as your zone, the availability of sun in your garden, and your own personal preferences. But we’re going to talk about how to choose vegetables for your raised beds in a general way.
First of all, you should be sure to plant only those vegetables your family actually likes to eat. Sure, those golden beets may be beautiful, but do you eat beets? Do your kids like beets? Is your spouse going to run away screaming if you try to serve them? You should only plant varieties that you actually believe your family will truly enjoy.
The easiest plants to grow in raised beds include beans, Swiss chard, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, and radishes. These plants are all great for beginners. Herbs are also generally very easy to grow. You should choose some of these easier types if you’re new to raised bed gardening or to gardening in general.
If you want plant vegetables that reach maturity very quickly, you can choose varieties that are better for this purpose. Some of us can be very impatient. If you hate waiting around to harvest your first vegetables, you can try radishes, spinach, lettuce, beans, beets, squash, cucumbers, carrots, and peas.
If you prefer to get your plants out as early in the season as possible, you should choose varieties that are especially good for early planting outdoors. Some varieties you can plant four to six weeks before the last frost include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley, peas, and spinach.
You can plant beets, carrots, radishes, and Swiss chard up to four weeks before the last frost. You’ll be able to plan beans, corn, summer squash, and tomatoes on the date of the last frost. And you can plant cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and winter squash about two weeks after the last frost date.
If you want to extend your growing season as late in the year as you can, you should choose great fall vegetables. You can harvest beans, Swiss chard, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes, and tomatoes up until the last frost.
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, lettuce, and spinach can all be planted just a few weeks before the last frost and will have time to mature before the frost hits. And you can plant lettuce and radishes up to a week before the first frost in many areas!
If you’re a beginning gardener, you should probably stick to those plants you can grow during the normal growing season. You won’t want to get too complex or too complicated when you’re just starting out. You should stick with the easier varieties, and plant them during the normal growing season.
Also, be certain to choose varieties that grow well in your area. You should check your USDA zone chart to be certain a particular variety of plant will grow well in your area. Don’t pick varieties that won’t grow in your area, no matter how tempting they may be.
And be sure to choose varieties that will grow under your lighting conditions. If you have a very shady yard, don’t pick vegetables or herbs that need full sun. You need to work with the conditions available to you, especially if you’re just starting out.