27 Easy-to-Grow Vegetables for Raised Beds

Raised bed gardening has many advantages for beginners, and these easy-to-grow vegetables make it especially simple to grow your own food. Garden expert and former organic farmer Logan Hailey details the easiest crops for growing in raised beds!

A raised wooden bed boasts orderly rows of vibrant basil, crisp lettuce, and fragrant rosemary, creating a lush garden scene ripe with culinary possibilities.


Whether you choose wood or metal, short or tall, raised beds are the cream of the crop—literally! Elevated growing beds provide a wealth of benefits to your crops, including better drainage, looser soil, improved root growth, earlier planting, and higher yields. Raised beds make the easiest vegetables even easier to grow, particularly if your native soil is poor, compacted, or excessively weedy.

Better yet, you can save your back, cut down on weeding, and enjoy the aesthetic uniformity of a raised bed garden. If you’re looking for the most beginner-friendly crops for your new garden beds, here are 27 low-maintenance vegetables that don’t require an experienced “green thumb.”


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What Are the Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Raised Beds?

A wooden raised bed nestled in a garden, encircled by grasses, overflowing with luscious green and red lettuce leaves, eagerly awaiting their moment to be plucked for a fresh harvest.
A raised bed filled with quality compost provides an ideal, well-drained environment for roots.

Tomatoes, basil, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, bush beans, snap peas, kale, and radishes are among the easiest vegetables for raised beds. These plants grow rapidly and yield well even in imperfect conditions. Raised garden beds make it even easier for beginners to cultivate these crops because the soil is elevated off the ground. 

Instead of digging into hard or compacted soil below, a raised bed can be filled with quality compost, topsoil, and organic materials that create a rich, well-drained area for roots to thrive. The structure of a wood or metal garden bed makes it easy to irrigate, mulch, weed, harvest, and protect plants from extreme weather.

27 Easy-to-Grow Vegetable Crops for Raised Beds

The best beginner vegetables have two main things in common: They grow rapidly, and they tolerate a bit of neglect. It is much easier to germinate radish or bean seeds than a finicky carrot or a picky specialty melon. All of these veggie crops (plus a few herbs and fruits!) are eager to please as long as they have a raised bed filled with quality soil, regular moisture, and plenty of sunshine.


A close-up of red tomatoes, nestled on the vine, surrounded by lush green leaves, promising freshness and flavor straight from the garden to the table.
Easily transplant seedlings by removing the lower leaves and planting them deeper.

Thankfully, this fan-favorite garden classic is easy to grow and ready to thrive in a raised garden environment. Tomatoes appreciate the deep soil of a raised bed so they can dig their roots down and out, creating a strong, sturdy base for their vigorous summer fruiting season. They need full sunshine and frost-free weather to thrive.

Beginner gardeners can’t go wrong with a tomato bush. If you haven’t yet developed your “green thumb,” it’s easiest to start with established tomato seedlings from a local nursery or organic farm. Look for seedlings that have:

  • About 5-12” of lush green growth
  • Several sets of healthy leaves
  • Pencil-thick or thicker strong, central stem
  • Strong root balls without too much circling (pull the seedling out of the pot to check)
  • No flowers or fruit (if there are a few flowers, pluck them off before planting)

Bring your seedlings home and prepare to plant outside in your beds right around your last frost date. Tomatoes are super easy to transplant because you don’t have to worry about the depth. If the stems are a little spindly and you want to encourage stronger roots, you can even strip off the lower leaves and plant them deeper in the soil. They will develop roots all along their stems. 

Place a stake or tomato cage around the young plant for support. Provide your plants with consistent irrigation and mulch to conserve moisture. It’s easiest to put in a drip system or soaker hose under a layer of fine straw or leaf mulch. As long as your raised bed is filled with lots of rich compost and a couple of handfuls of all-purpose slow-release organic fertilizer, these plants are sure to fruit in abundance!


Smooth and glossy basil leaves basking in sunlight, thriving in a raised bed, exude freshness and vibrancy, their vibrant green hues reflecting the gentle rays of the sun, promising culinary delight.
This forgiving herb deters pests and benefits pollinators when in bloom.

Pesto-lovers—prepare your food processors! Basil is one of the easiest vegetables you can grow, and it yields prolifically all summer long. Pinching is the number one secret to continuous basil harvests. All you need to do is regularly pinch the tips of your basil plants to encourage bushy growth and more leaves. It also prevents the plants from bolting (going to seed), allowing for an extended pesto-making season. Pinching can coincide with harvests, keeping your pestos stem-free and your plants lush. It’s a win-win!

Plant basil in full sunshine or the partial shade of a trellised tomato or cucumber plant. This is the perfect companion herb for nearly every vegetable in the garden. Basil’s strong aroma deters pests, and if you let it go to flower, the blooms are very beneficial for pollinators. This iconic herb is also very forgiving. If you forget to water, it may droop and wilt, but it will instantly perk up again with a good soaking.

If you struggle with bolting basil in extreme heat, try a bolt-resistant variety like ‘Italian Genovese.’ For more culinary adventures, try out a specialty basil like ‘Tulsi Holy Basil,’ ‘Sweet Thai Basil,’ or a Six Basil Blend. Dappled shade, consistent moisture, and regular pinching can prevent flowering and ensure more leaf harvests.


A wooden raised bed overflowing with luscious strawberries, vibrant red fruits dangling gracefully amidst lush green stems and leaves, promising a bountiful harvest and a taste of summer's sweetness in every bite.
Planting strawberry crowns in short raised beds helps focus the plant’s energy on fruit production.

These juicy red berries are not technically vegetables, but they are the easiest-to-grow fruits for raised-bed gardeners. Strawberries are stout herbaceous plants that can be grown perennially in zones 3 through 9. The plants go dormant in the winter and regrow in the spring. For easier maintenance, I prefer to grow them as annuals by using day-neutral varieties that fruit abundantly in the same year as they are planted.

You can start strawberries from plugs or crowns, but plugs are the easiest for beginners. They will come in a 4-pack or 6-pack, much like your familiar vegetable starts. Plant them in compost-rich soil around your last frost date and provide consistent irrigation. Straw or leaf mulch is helpful to protect the plants from drying out. Mulch also keeps the berries off the dirt so they remain clean and rot-free.

Strawberries have very shallow roots, so there is no need to take up valuable real estate in your ultra-tall raised beds. Instead, plant strawberry crowns in a short round raised bed with 6-10” between each plant. For more fruit production, remove the runners whenever you can. These long side stems are sometimes called “suckers” because they suck the energy away from the central plant as they try to ramble off and grow new baby plants. By snapping or pruning off the runners, you signal to the plant to channel its energy into fruit production.


Vibrant zucchini leaves bask in sunlight, flourishing within a quaint wooden raised bed, nestled amid lush greenery, creating a picturesque scene of natural abundance and tranquility.
Space plants 18-24 inches apart to prevent fungal diseases caused by dense planting.

Commonly known as one of the easiest vegetables to grow, this classic summer squash is a staple in any raised bed garden. With full sunshine and regular moisture, zucchini plants basically grow themselves. They often yield so much squash that you won’t be able to keep up. As you pick more, the plant produces more, and you may have to try every recipe for zucchini bread, pancake, roast, soup, and “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) just to keep up! 

Wait until a week or two after your last frost date to sow zucchini seeds. Direct sowing is best because the plants dislike root disturbance and often suffer from transplant shock. You can plant zucchini in your shorter beds because the roots typically only reach about 12-24 inches deep. These plants need at least 18-24” of space between them, as the leaves can grow very wide. Planting too densely may cause issues like powdery mildew and other fungal diseases. 

Try a unique variety like ‘Round’ zucchini or ‘Max’s Gold’ yellow summer squash. Both grow exactly the same as regular green cultivars. Don’t forget to try the delectable squash blossoms! Harvest the male flowers that grow on the end of long slender stems. Leave the short-stalked female flowers near the base of the plant to grow into fruit.


In a spacious garden, a substantial wooden raised bed hosts scallions and various vegetables, surrounded by additional raised beds crafted from wood, enhancing the verdant backdrop of the thriving garden scene.
Plant scallions early in the spring for an ongoing supply throughout the season.

Also known as green onions, scallions are a beginner gardener staple. These plants are literally just baby onions, harvested while they are still young and slender. They grow so quickly that it’s difficult to mess them up. Scallions are easy to start from seed with any onion seed variety, but you can grow them even faster with onion sets. Sets are small established bulbs that you plant in the ground, like garlic. They can yield fresh green onions at least a pencil-thick in about four to five weeks.

Plant scallions from sets in early spring as soon as the soil is workable. The seeds need soil that is at least 45-60°F (7-16°C). For a continuous supply of green onion garnishes, sprinkle clusters of onion seeds in the corners of your raised beds every two weeks. Aim for a half inch of space between each plant to allow for nice long bunching stems. 

Scallions are a nice companion along the border of any shorter raised bed. Their roots are fairly shallow, and they don’t take up much space. Just be sure they don’t get overshadowed by larger vegetables.

Green Beans

A rustic wooden bed crafted from logs, nestled amidst dark soil, showcasing green bean seedlings sprouting, evoking a serene harmony of nature's bounty and craftsmanship in homely tranquility.
Consistent harvesting encourages the continued growth of green beans.

Green beans are a summer staple, used in everything from casseroles to skillet sautés to canning recipes. This warm-weather crop thrives in a raised bed and makes the most of compact spaces. A single green bean bush can yield at least a pound of fresh snap beans, and they only take about 50-60 days to mature. Seed ‘Provider’ or a colorful blend of ‘Trio Bush Beans’ about one to two weeks after your average last spring frost date and leave 6-12” between plants.

Green bean lovers can plant several successions of these stout bushes throughout the summer as long as temperatures don’t get too sweltering. Areas with extra hot weather should take a break from green bean growing in midsummer because temperatures consistently above 90°F (32°C) prevent bean formation. 

Like zucchini, these plants will continue producing until frosts as long as you continue harvesting. Picking the beans regularly encourages more flowers and pods. 


A wooden bed elevated off the ground, adorned with cucumber leaves, nestled amidst a verdant oasis of lush foliage and greenery, creating a serene and natural sanctuary for relaxation and growth.
This is best planted directly in the garden after the last spring frost.

Pickles and fresh salads are only 50 to 70 days away from the time you direct seed cucumbers. This easy-to-grow vegetable performs excellently in raised beds with a simple trellis to train the plants upward. I like to use a cattle panel hung between two T-post stakes. You can also try an A-frame wood trellis or any type of fencing. The vines of cucumbers will eagerly climb and flourish as long as they have full sunshine and lots of water.

This deep-rooted crop reaches up to 48” deep in the soil, and it especially loves raised beds with loose, loamy soil that drains quickly. Transplant shock is the biggest mistake most beginners make with cucumbers. The plants are ultra-sensitive to root disturbance and do best when sown directly in the garden. Wait until one to two weeks after your last spring frost when the soil is at least 60°F (16°C). 

Many raised bed gardeners can get away with planting a little earlier because metal beds warm up more quickly in the spring. Use a soil thermometer probe to check the temperature before seeding. I like to protect young cukes with a layer of row fabric to keep the cucumber beetles away and provide extra warmth in the early stages. Be sure to remove covers once plants begin vining and flowering.


A vibrant green lettuce leaf emerges from rich, dark soil, nestled within a wooden raised bed, showcasing the thriving growth of this vegetable against the earthy backdrop.
Optimal lettuce growth requires consistent irrigation in loamy, rich raised beds.

You can never go wrong with extra salad greens! Perfect for containers or shallow raised beds, lettuce is an easy crop to tuck in just about anywhere. These leafy greens thrive in the partial shade of taller companions like tomatoes or cucumbers. There are thousands of varieties to choose from, but ‘Buttercrunch’ takes the trophy for its vigorous growth, buttery flavor, and perfectly tender texture. 

If you’ve had problems with bolting lettuce, remember these tips:

  • Harvest lettuce at the proper time for the variety. Don’t wait too long.
  • Prevent transplant shock and water stress, as these can cause bolting.
  • Use shade cloth or the dappled shade of taller plants to protect from intense sunlight.
  • Avoid growing head lettuce in the heat of the summer. This is a cool weather crop.
  • Baby lettuce is best for small spaces and hot summers because you cut the leaves young.

All lettuce plants have shallow roots, so be sure to keep them consistently irrigated. Loamy, rich raised beds are ideal because they provide a proper balance between moisture-retaining compost and proper drainage.


Lush spinach thrives in a garden of wooden raised beds, its vibrant green leaves promising a bountiful harvest, while the wood structures provide a rustic charm to the flourishing vegetation.
Plant this four to six weeks before the last spring frost and throughout autumn.

This cool-weather favorite is ideal for your early spring and late fall raised beds. When it’s too cold to grow many other crops on this list, spinach will be ready to shine. I have grown spinach through the frigid winters of New Hampshire in an unheated greenhouse, so rest assured that these hardy plants can handle some cold and neglect!

Spinach can be grown as baby greens or full-sized bunching greens. Baby leaf spinach is usually preferred by beginners because it yields in just 28 days and can be re-cut several times for multiple harvests. Baby spinach should be sown just one inch apart and harvested when four to six inches tall by cutting an inch above the soil surface.

You can plant as early as four to six weeks before your average last spring frost and continuously throughout the autumn until your first fall frost. You can even overwinter spinach with heavy mulch or row cover. Avoid growing in hot weather, as temperatures above 85°F (29°C) inhibit germination.

Baby Salad Mix

Fresh baby lettuce nestled in rich, dark soil, arranged in a pot-like formation, set against a bed of golden hay, showcasing nature's bounty and the promise of vibrant growth.
Water salad mix seeds from overhead to prevent drying out.

If you want a quick reward for your first raised bed experiments, baby salad mix is the easiest veggie for you! Baby greens can include a pre-mixed blend of mesclun greens or you can mix together your favorite lettuce, kale, mustard, and chicory seeds for a flavorful medley. The coolest thing about baby salad mix is—it only takes 21 days to harvest delectable, tender greens! The plants can be cut at just four to six inches tall, and they grow back for one to three more additional harvests.

You can seed salad mix almost any time of year as long as the soil is workable and above 40°F (4°C). Sprinkle the seeds on the surface so they are about one-half inch apart. Sowing densely will reduce weed pressure and make it extra easy to cut the greens with minimal stem in your salads. 

As an organic farmer, we grew hundreds of pounds of baby salad mix every week and discovered this key secret makes a huge difference: rake the seeds into the soil surface with your fingers or a rake (don’t bury them) and water the seeds from overhead! You don’t want to bury lettuce seeds deeper than ⅛ inch, or they may struggle to germinate. Moreover, you don’t want those fragile shallowly-sown seeds to dry out close to the soil surface. While drip irrigation is preferred for many crops on this list, use your hose to water salad mix every day or so to ensure the seeds don’t dry out.

Rainbow Chard

A close-up showcases white, red, and yellow Swiss chards contrasted against dark, rich soil, their lush green leaves adding a lively burst of color to the composition.
This can be easily grown from seed and transplanted before the last spring frost.

Also known as Swiss chard, these rainbow-stemmed leafy greens are members of the beet family. They grow prolifically and easily, often requiring just one planting to supply you for the entire season. Chard does very well in the corners of raised beds where the beautiful hued leaves can splay out over the side. 

The plants are easy to grow from seed and transplant as early as four weeks before your average last frost in the spring. You can densely sow seeds as baby greens or grow full-size chard with spacing of 8-12” between each plant. As beet cousins, you will notice that the bulbous base of the plant resembles a beet. The roots do not dig terribly deep in the soil, so a 12-15” deep raised bed is sufficient. Lay a drip line near the base of the plant and water when the soil is dry. 

To maintain a continuous supply of chard, simply snap off the lowest leaves as needed. The plants will regularly produce new leaves from the center and can provide harvests well into the autumn or early winter.


Blue painted raised beds teem with lush green kale leaves intermingled with rich deep purple varieties, creating a picturesque and bountiful display of nutritious and colorful vegetables thriving harmoniously.
This leafy green is best in the cooler seasons of spring and fall.

Kale (particularly ‘Lacinato’ or dinosaur kale) has become the grocery store diva of the vegetable world, and it is super easy to grow in your raised beds. Why pay $3 for a bunch of greens when you can grow nearly infinite amounts in the garden?

Kale shines in the cooler seasons of spring, fall, and winter. You can grow it through the summer, but it becomes more susceptible to aphids and other pests when under heat stress. I like to separate my plantings into successions: an early spring planting and a late summer/fall planting to harvest throughout the winter.

Start kale in seedling cell trays indoors four to six weeks before your average last frost date, and transplant outside one to two weeks before the last frost. Leave 18-24” of space between plants to ensure they can reach their full lush potential. Young plants need more warmth, but mature plants are frost-hardy. Light freezes even make the leaves sweeter and more flavorful due to the concentration of sugars in the leaf cells. Harvest regularly by gently snapping off lower leaves from the base, just like chard. This will promote more growth from the top.


Green and red peppers, accented by lush leaves, glisten with droplets of water, creating a refreshing and enticing close-up scene of nature's bounty.
This plant benefits from row fabric in unpredictable climates.

Sweet or spicy, large or miniature, peppers are always one of my favorite raised bed crops. These colorful plants come in a vast array of varieties and flavors, but most of them are grown about the same. They appreciate the well-drained, compost-rich soil of a raised bed, and they handle transplanting very well.

Peppers are long-season crops requiring up to 90 days to mature from transplanting, so they do best with a head start indoors to ensure a long harvest window. The seedlings are slow-growing, so beginners may prefer to buy established starts from a nursery. Transplant peppers several weeks after your last frost date to ensure they aren’t exposed to nighttime temperatures below 50°F (10°C). In areas with unpredictable spring weather, row fabric is very beneficial to ensure sufficient warmth for young seedlings.

Provide consistent moisture through drip irrigation and be patient as peppers ripen on the vine. ’Jimmy Nardello’ sweet Italian frying peppers and ‘Shishito’ peppers are fast to ripen and produce prolific amounts of smaller fruits throughout the summer. If you like it hot, try ‘Serrano’ or ‘Thai Hot Chile’ and always wear gloves when handling the seeds.


A wooden raised bed filled with beets, their green hues soaking in the intense sunlight, thriving under the harsh but nurturing rays of the sun.
The seeds need four-inch spacing when sowing and thinning to avoid overcrowding.

You can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned beet. Modern varieties and recipes have brought this humble crop back into trendy cuisine. From candy-cane-striped ‘Chioggia’ to fresh-eating-worth ‘Touchstone Gold,’ beets are ultra-sweet bulbs of nutritious goodness that can be roasted, boiled, mashed, shredded, or pickled. They grow quickly and easily in raised beds.

A unique thing about beets is that each seed is actually a capsule of several seeds. When sowing this crop, leave about four inches of space between each seed, and don’t forget to thin. A single beet seed can actually produce two to four seedlings, so it is essential to cut out any extras to ensure they don’t get overcrowded.

Beets do best in cooler weather of spring, fall, and winter. Harvest them while small (about one to three inches in diameter) for the most tender texture. The greens can be enjoyed just like chard. Consistent moisture and proper soil boron levels prevent the internal black spots that sometimes occur randomly inside the roots.

Pole Beans

Lush green leaves frame dangling pole beans, their elongated forms contrasting against the verdant foliage, showcasing a vibrant tapestry of growth and abundance in the garden.
These thrive when directly sown after the last frost or transplanted in biodegradable pots.

If you’re short on space and want to grow upwards, pole beans are beginner-friendly vining vegetables that yield in abundance. These easy-going legumes can produce beans for shelling or fresh-eating and readily ramble up fences, posts, wooden trellises, and even corn stalks. The vines are lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about reinforcing the trellis.

Pole beans are best directly sown around your last frost date, along with other warm-weather crops. They can be transplanted in colder areas but perform best in biodegradable pots or soil blocks.

Like all legumes, pole beans have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil. If you’ve ever pulled up a bean plant and noticed rounded nodules on the roots; this is where the bacteria reside. In poorer soils, the plants may benefit from a Rhizobium inoculant to boost bacterial populations. They can supply their own nitrogen needs and enrich the soil for surrounding crops.

Snap Peas

A close-up of green snap peas showcasing their crisp texture and freshness, with a lush foliage background providing a soft, natural setting for the vegetables to stand out.
Provide support for the snap peas’ tendrils to latch onto.

Another delicious legume, snap peas are extremely beginner-friendly. There is a reason you may have sprouted these seeds in bags during elementary school! Peas germinate in as little as five days and grow rapidly in cool weather. Like pole beans, you can vine them up any trellis and snap off the pods as they ripen. Harvesting snap peas regularly signals the plant to keep producing new flowers.

Snap peas do best in the cool seasons and stop producing in temperatures above 90°F (32°C). Plant them two to four weeks before your last spring frost and succession sow every couple of weeks until the weather is too hot.

The seeds are best directly sown in raised beds about one inch deep and two inches apart. Use twine or rope to angle them toward your trellis, and they will eventually latch on with their cute little curly-q tendrils. Consistent moisture is a must, as peas are not drought-tolerant.

Collard Greens

Fresh collard greens basking in warm sunlight, nestled in a rustic wooden planter, hinting at the promise of a delicious harvest and the joys of gardening.
Irrigate with drip lines for the best harvest of plate-sized greens.

This brassica-family green is like the kale of the South. Collard greens shine when many other greens whither in the heat. They can grow practically year-round, from early spring through the heat of summer and into late fall. Collards are both cold and heat-tolerant, making them ideal for beginner growers seeking low-maintenance, nutrient-dense vegetables for the garden.

‘Georgia Southern’ is the classic variety known for its large blue-green crumpled leaves perfect for wraps, sautés, or slaws. Start indoors in early spring and transplant out up to four weeks before your last frost. Provide 18-24” of space between plants and don’t forget to thin those seeds! If you want to harvest collards all season, ensure each plant has sufficient space to fuel the continuous production of plate-sized greens. Snap them off from the base of the stalk as needed and irrigate with drip lines.


A close-up of an eggplant plant's base, showcasing two young fruits dangling delicately from the stems, promising a future harvest of fresh and flavorful produce.
Transplant eggplants alongside tomatoes and peppers for low-maintenance growth.

Plump Italian eggplants are not the only varieties available to gardeners. Slender pink and purple long Japanese eggplants are becoming increasingly popular for their quicker production, superior flavor, and less spongy texture. They mature in 70-80 days and grow exceptionally well with the extra drainage of a raised bed.

Eggplants are warm-weather crops best transplanted with your tomatoes and peppers. The fuzzy leaves and pretty purple flowers have ample ornamental value and grow with little maintenance. As long as the weather is above 60°F (16°C) and the soil is moist, eggplants will bask in the sunshine all summer.

Harvest the fruits at 10 inches or smaller. The skin should be shiny and bright. Dull-colored skins or a golden color may signal over-ripeness and bitter flavor. When in doubt, harvest your eggplants young rather than old.


A wooden raised bed is enveloped by a lush mix of plants and weeds, featuring garlic shoots emerging from the earth, promising a bountiful harvest in the garden.
This should be planted two to three weeks before the first fall frost.

The garlic plant has its place in nearly every meal, and it should have a home in every raised bed garden! This flavorful allium grows on an opposite schedule of most garden plants—you plant the cloves in the fall and harvest the bulbs in mid-summer. Garlic may seem complicated to grow, but it is actually quite simple for beginners as long as you plant properly.

Garlic seed is not a “true” seed. Rather, it is vegetative propagation material that grows into a clone of the original plant. It is important to purchase quality seed garlic cloves in the right variety for your area. Generally, softneck garlic is best for the South, and hardneck garlic is best for the North. The suitability of different varieties primarily depends on the amount of winter cold you experience in your region.

The ideal time to plant is two to three weeks before your first fall frost. Plant garlic cloves with the “butt” side down and the pointy side up, approximately two to three inches deep, with six inches of space between cloves and 12 inches between rows. Water, mulch generously, and wait until spring when the cute little green tips begin poking above the surface. Garlic is best grown in its own raised bed since it functions so differently from other crops.


A close-up of fresh leeks emerging from rich, dark soil in a wooden raised bed, showcasing tall green stalks against the earthy backdrop.
Start leeks indoors 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost.

Potato-leek soup made this onion family member famous, but leeks have far more uses in the kitchen. You can use them in nearly any meal for an onion-like flavor and delicious, buttery texture. Leeks are a super cold-hardy, long-season crop, requiring up to 120 days to mature, but quicker maturing varieties like ‘King Richard’ can be ready in 75-80 days. Fortunately, you don’t have to care for them much during that time. Once you plant leeks, you can practically forget about them until harvest.

Leeks are best seeded indoors in open flats 8 to 10 weeks before your average last spring frost. They are among the very first seeds you can start inside in late winter. Plant seeds one- quarter inch deep about three to four inches apart and give them a haircut trim when they are five to six inches tall. 

Once seedlings reach a pencil thickness, transplant them into your raised beds. Leeks can be planted extra deep for longer blanched-white stalks. Mound up the soil around them a few times throughout the season and use mulch to conserve moisture. They can handle temperatures as low as 20°F (-7°C).


A neat row of radishes, their lush green leaves peeking out, nestled snugly in a rustic wooden bed, ready for harvest in the morning sun.
Thinning out plants creates room for their roots and helps retain moisture.

Renowned as one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow, radishes are perfect for short raised beds. Their roots are shallow and bulbous, maturing in less than a month! Even gardeners with a “black thumb” can grow radishes! The key for most varieties is to harvest them when they’re about the size of a golf ball. Any larger, and they become pithy, spicy, or bitter.

Sow radish seeds directly in your beds about one-half inch deep and one to two inches apart. You can grow lots of roots in a small area, but be sure to thin out the plants. Imagine the finished size of the radish root and ensure the plants have that much space to spread out. Provide regular moisture and keep sowing throughout late spring for a regular supply. Radishes get spicier in hot weather.

Row cover is very helpful for keeping flea beetles away from radish greens.


Yellow turnips arranged in neat rows contrast against the rich, dark soil, their vibrant hue popping against the earthiness, while their leafy greens reach upward, adding height and texture.
The seeds should be sown directly in spring and fall.

If grandma’s turnips made your nose crinkle, rest assured that trendy ‘Market Express’ Japanese turnips are sweeter, milder, and more tender. These white globes of goodness are super easy to grow and adaptable to almost any raised bed garden. They are ready to harvest in as little as 30 days and juicy enough to snack on straight out of the garden.

Direct sow turnip seeds throughout spring and fall, and during winter in mild climates. The plants need four to six inches of space between them and don’t mind the dappled shade near a taller crop. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Like radishes, row fabric is needed to deter flea beetles from eating unsightly holes in the turnip leaves.


 Fresh potatoes growing in a wooden raised bed, their lush green leaves soaking up the warm sunlight, thriving in their natural habitat.
Planting potatoes in raised beds deepens growth and prevents sun exposure.

Spuds are a grocery store staple, but you can grow a far more enticing variety of flavors and colors in your garden! Like garlic, potatoes are not typically grown from “true” seed. Instead, they are vegetatively cloned through seed potatoes, which are actually just potato tubers. You can technically plant potatoes from the grocery store, but you must be sure that they are organic and have not been treated with a sprouting inhibitor.

Potato tubers sprout from their “eyes” or buds around the plant. If you’ve ever left a potato on the counter for too long and noticed it growing sprouts, then you already know what a “chitted” seed potato looks like! You can pre-sprout the tubers indoors for a head start or plant the potatoes straight into the soil around your last spring frost date.

These plants love raised beds because they can grow extra deep and produce loads of plump tubers. Hilling is essential for successful potatoes, as you don’t want the tubers to be exposed to sunlight and turn green. Plant your spuds four to six inches deep with the eyes facing upwards. Mound up soil around the base several times throughout the season and add leaf or straw mulch to conserve moisture.


A close-up of an okra pod surrounded by lush green leaves, the blurred background hinting at a thriving garden filled with flourishing vegetation.
Harvest every one to two days for tender pods ready in just 50 days.

Like collard greens, okra is a southern classic. If you live in a scorching hot climate, okra is one of the last-standing vegetables in the summer heat. The plants are very easy to grow in raised beds; in fact, my dad grows them every year in his side yard while barely providing any maintenance. As long as they have full sunlight, ample space, and occasional watering, okra plants are eager to please.

Wait until the weather is sufficiently warm to direct sow or transplant okra. This crop is in the Solanaceae, or nightshade family, along with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. In warm weather, the plants mature in as little as 50 days, and the pods form quickly after that. Harvest every one to two days while they are still tender and green.


A close-up of fresh white kohlrabis nestled among green leaves, contrasted against the rich, dark soil, showcasing the earthy beauty of a thriving garden.
Place these plants 4 inches apart while maintaining consistent moisture.

This alien-shaped brassica crop is not always the most popular at the farmer’s market, but it is perfect for beginner gardeners. Most people don’t like kohlrabi because they have only tried the oversized, hard, bitter bulbs. I prefer to grow kohlrabi as baby roots, harvesting them when the rounded bases are around three to four inches in diameter. They have a sweeter, slightly nutty flavor and delectably tender texture.

Plant kohlrabi in the spring or fall in the same manner as kale. This cool-season plant should not be grown in summer. Leave about four inches of space between plants and provide regular moisture.


Deep green jalapenos hang from the vine, swaying gently in the breeze, as leaves bask in the warm sunlight, creating a picturesque scene of nature's bounty.
Caution is needed to avoid irritation when handling jalapenos.

We mentioned other types of peppers, but we cannot forget jalapenos. This iconic spicy pepper is amazing for raised bed gardeners because it loves the extra warm soil and excellent drainage. It’s best to plant jalapenos two to four weeks after your last spring frost date when soil temperatures are at least 70°F (21°C). Row cover is helpful in the early season to protect from cool nights. The plants will yield abundantly all summer and become the hottest when they ripen from green to red. 

Wear gloves, wash your hands, and avoid touching your eyes after handling the seeds or fruits of this plant!


A sturdy wooden raised bed hosts tall, flourishing shallots, their vibrant green shoots reaching skyward, a testament to diligent gardening care and nurturing.
The shallots are suitable for both fall and spring planting.

Shallots are an underrated allium relative that tastes and looks like a cross between onions and garlic. Although they’re not technically a hybrid between the two, the analogy works well when considering how to grow them. You can plant shallots just like garlic, using sets of smaller cloves to establish new bulbs. The papery skin is important for protecting the bulbs inside.

Shallots thrive in raised beds and are very popular in French cuisine. You can plant in the fall and allow them to mature in cool weather, but some gardeners also grow in the spring without issue. Full sun is ideal, but the plants tolerate partial shade. Ensure at least inches apart for proper bulb development and provide regular moisture to the shallow roots.

Final Thoughts

Raised beds make growing easier on the plants and the gardener. The secret is to fill your raised bed with quality soil, enrich it with compost every year, and properly time your veggies to their preferred season. A drip irrigation or soaker hose system will make watering super easy during the driest months. Don’t forget to mulch regularly and harvest your food to keep your crops producing for as long as possible!

pollinator garden raised beds. Close-up of a white wooden raised bed with various flowering plants attracting pollinators to a sunny garden. The raised bed features red and yellow petunias, Verbascum 'Southern Charm', purple and white Sweet Alyssum, Echium pininana, pink and purple hydrangeas, Phlox, Salvia and more.

Raised Bed Gardening

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A close-up reveals lush, vibrant spinach plant leaves, their deep green hues hinting at their readiness for harvest. Nestled in dark, rich soil, they await eager hands to pluck them, promising freshness and nutrition.


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Carrots are one of the early spring vegetables. Close-up of a gardener holding a freshly picked bunch of carrots in the garden. Carrots have a slender, cylindrical shape with tapered ends, featuring vibrant orange skin. Their surface is smooth and slightly textured with fine root hairs. The leafy green tops are feathery and lush, contrasting beautifully with the bright hue of the root.


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Chilly nights, lengthening days, and spring rains are the perfect conditions for your favorite cool-weather greens, roots, and snacks to flourish in your garden. Former organic farmer Logan Hailey digs into the best early spring vegetables to plant while your garden is waking up.