Whether you are a first time vegetable gardener or have been growing your own produce for years, it’s hard to beat the ease of a raised bed. You can control the soil, set up a watering system, and weeding is practically nonexistent.
A four x four foot bed may not look like a lot of space, but if you keep in mind a few tips the area will accommodate up to twenty plants.
Making the Most of Available Space in a Four x Four Foot Raised Vegetable Garden
Read the plant tag. Before you load up your nursery basket with plants take a look at the plant tag for information such as mature size, spacing and light requirements. This information will help you determine how many plants you need and which plants will make good bed fellows.
Consider the size and shape of your plants. Just as with container gardens it’s important to consider the shape and size of your plants when designing a raised bed. Plants grow in three basic shapes – tall and spiky, round and full, and cascading. Place cascading plants along the edges of the bed, tall and spiky in the back and round and full in between the two.
Note the direction of the sun. Place the taller plants where they won’t block light to the shorter plants as the day progresses. Most edibles need 6 to 7 hours of sunlight. Vegetables such as lettuce that can take a little shade are an exception to this rule. You can position these plants where they will receive shade part of the day.
Treat your plants right. In a small space you will position your plants a little closer than you would in an expansive bed. This means there is more competition for light, water and nutrients. Fill your bed with quality soil that includes plenty of organic matter. Space your plants so that they have room to mature without crowding each other out. Water and feed your plants regularly.
Four x Four Foot Raised Vegetable Garden Designs
Both vegetables and herbs will thrive in a raised bed like this. Here are four designs from my friends at Bonnie Plants to get you started.
Vegetables for the Shade
This planting plan includes vegetables that are suitable for full sun or light shade. Plants include collard greens, ‘Red Sails’ lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, kale and Swiss chard. Best for the spring and fall growing seasons. Click here for details.
Raised beds are a great way to get your children interested in gardening. This design includes kid-sized vegetables such as ‘Yummy’ peppers, cherry tomatoes and ‘Hansel’ or ‘Gretel’ eggplants. Also included are a few herbs that attract butterflies, caterpillars, and hummingbirds. Perfect for the summer growing season. Click here for details.
Salad greens are some of the easiest and most rewarding veggies you can grow. This planting plan will give you everything you need to prepare great salads and you can start harvesting almost immediately. Plants include leaf lettuce, spinach, chives, arugula, Swiss chard, and parsley. Plant in spring or fall. Click here for details.
This plan includes popular vegetables and herbs for preparing your favorite summer dishes. With this four x four foot design you’ll be able to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, six types of herbs, and peppers. Click here for details.