Planting Guide For A Three Season
Raised Bed Vegetable Garden 

This three season planting guide for raised vegetable garden beds contains the same plants as an in-ground garden but with less work and higher yield. With raised beds you have an intimate relationship with your plants; caring for them daily, harvesting when you are ready to use, replanting after harvesting, watering individually when needed, eliminating weeds and pests. With this plan you will waste less seed since you will not sow long beds and then waste plants by thinning.

In a traditional in-ground vegetable garden, you sow your seeds a certain distance apart, then after they come up, you thin them. You make the rows far enough apart so you can access the rows and perhaps cultivate or mow between them. With the planting guide for raised beds, you will space the plants according to planting directions to begin with, using all you plant and wasting none.

For instance, if broccoli needs to be 12 inches between plants, you will leave 12 inches on each side. If beets need to be 4 inches apart, don't sow them then thin to 4 inches. Put the seeds in 4 inches apart in rows that are 4 inches apart. (Some seeds are so tiny that you may have 2 or 3 plants come up in that space. Nothing to do but to pull all but one after they sprout.)

There will not be a wide pathway between the rows. If you have a seed that does not sprout, just put one in its place.

Don't plant too much of any vegetable to begin with. Remember that you can go back and plant more as you harvest. Only plant what you and your family like and in quantities that you will use. Those of us who plant raised bed gardens are not growing enough to can or freeze. We are feeding our families wholesome, organic foods fresh out of the garden during the growing season.

A few plants are perennials, such as asparagus, strawberries and some herbs. I have two small beds that are not replanted each year. One is devoted to asparagus and one to strawberries. These are easy care beds. I put them to bed each winter with a compost cover and they come up each spring and I do not have to replant. Both can initially be planted in the spring.

I do not plant herbs in my raised beds. Those go into containers. Many are perennials and suit my gardening plans better in the pots. But they can be put in the beds if you so choose.

For a spring garden find out the average date for the last frost in your area. Thirty days before that, you can put in cool weather crops. You can plant from seeds, transplant what you have already started from seeds indoors, or buy the transplants from a nursery.

The cabbage family, brassica, (which includes cabbage, broccoli. Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi) takes so long to grow that there is not time to plant seed directly. Put out transplants that you buy from the nursery or that you have started yourself indoors.

Cauliflower is also of the cabbage family, but it is not really suitable for a small garden. It takes a lot of room, about 30 inches for each plant. It is very picky. It needs rich soil. If the weather is not exactly right, it may not form heads at all. 

Some of your spring crops will continues through the summer and into the fall, such as chard. Others will not thrive with the onset of hot weather. You will pull the leftovers of these crops, adding them to  the compost bin, and plant summer crops in their place.

Along about mid-August, depending on your growing zone, you can again plant cool weather crops. You will be surprised how well these vegetables grow in the fall. The ground is already warm, so growth rate will be accelerated. 

Seasonal Planting Guide

This is a partial listing of all the vegetables available. 

Planting Guide For Spring Vegetables: Started 30 days before the average date of the last frost in your area: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chard, Chinese cabbage (bok choy),  kale, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips.

Planting Guide For Summer Vegetables: Started after the last frost: Beans, beets, cantaloupe, carrots, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, onions, okra, parsley, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, squash, sweet potatoes, tomato, watermelon.

Planting Guide For Fall Vegetables: Started 5 to 10 weeks before the first fall frost: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chard, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsley, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, turnips.

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