Sunday, August 17, 2014

Choosing Plant Varieties for a Raised Bed Garden

To be totally honest, you can grow just about every variety of veggie seed in a raised bed.  The key is to choose varieties that you LIKE and varieties that you'll EAT.

For example, I don't grow Butternut Squash because my husband won't eat it.  This year I'm growing Acorn Squash because we LOVE it!
Table Queen Acorn Squash
With a 4X4 Raised Bed I have the option to plant 16 different heirloom seed varieties using the square foot gardening method all in a small space while also conserving water.  Yeah for eco-friendly gardening! 

Plan Ahead
Make a list of veggies and herbs that you'd like to grow.

From Basics of Square Foot Gardening:
There are four basic spacing guidelines:
Extra Large
– one per square for 12 inch spacing
Large – 4 per square for 6 inch spacing
Medium – 9 per square for 4 inch spacing
Small – 16 per square for 3 inch spacing.

I arranged my seed varieties on paper according to the companion planting guide.  If you're more visual, here's another guide:

For example: I planted 3 Roma Tomatoes along one side of the raised bed with Eggplant at the end.  Those are Companion Plants.  AND to encourage pollinators and deter "bad bugs" I also planted Marigold seeds within each square.  This way I utilize all of the space and I help the bees in the process.

As my main heirloom seed varieties I chose Roma Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers, Listada De Gandia Eggplant, Table Queen Acorn Bush Squash, Golden Beets and Purple Plum Radish.
Sneak Peak: approx 2 weeks old
My Companion Plant "additions" include Genovese Basil, Dark Purple Opal Basil, Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, LOTS of Marigolds, Oregano and Borage.  Outside of the 4X4 Raised Bed I planted Mammoth Black Sunflowers to add a bit of color and attract more bees and butterflies. 

I noticed that I already had a few aphids hanging around so I gave everything a coating of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.  For more info, read Using Diatomaceous Earth for Organic, Non-Toxic Pest Control.

It it important to give your plants plenty of nutrients especially during the beginning.  When I was filling my raised bed with soil I added homemade compost as well as organic plant nutrients.  I knew that I would be planting "heavy feeders" so I made sure to give them plenty of food. Find out more, Which Plant are Heavy Feeders?

Helpful Links:
August Seed Planting Guide for the US by Region
Using Coconut Coir Pellets for Seed Starting
Plant Nutrients - Getting Started
Benefits of Lemonbalm, Basil and Borage

Sign up for our E-Newsletter

No comments: