How to Grow a Victory Garden in Raised Beds This Memorial Day

Looking for a project to start this Memorial Day? Why not try a Victory Garden? In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago walks through all you need to know about Victory Gardens, and why they make the perfect memorial day project.

victory garden


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer! Everyone is out and about having barbecues and working on their yards. This holiday weekend is a great time to spend with friends and families as we remember those who have given everything so we can enjoy the sunshine and our beautiful yards.

As you are enjoying this Memorial Day weekend, take a walk around your yard. Do you have a space in your yard that would be perfect for a vegetable garden? Maybe a very sunny space on a patio? If you have any sun space that you are not using yet, this is a perfect spot to start growing a victory garden and repairing the rewards of hard work.

This is the perfect time to gather your family and head to the garden center to stock up on supplies for a victory garden that will last you through the growing season and maybe even longer.

What is a Victory Garden?

Close-up of a wooden raised bed with "Victory garden" sign in a sunny garden. A variety of vegetable crops grow on a raised bed.
During World War 1, Victory gardens were promoted to support soldiers by increasing food supplies.

The concept of Victory gardens originated during World War 1 when food supplies were dwindling. The idea was that if home vegetable gardening was promoted, it would free up food supplies for our brave overseas soldiers.

When it became evident that the United States was going to win the war, the name “victory garden” gained popularity.  This new home gardening hobby took hold, and it was revitalized in World War 2 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By the end of the war, victory gardens were producing 40% of the consumed produce in the United States.

Growing your own food has always been a part of American culture, and over the last few years, it has been gaining popularity with gardeners, new and old alike. It is empowering to grow your own food right in your backyard and become more self-reliant.

Growing a victory garden should not be complicated, so do not let yourself be intimidated. You should choose the fruits and vegetables that your family loves. If no one likes green beans in your home, do not plant them. There are no specific rules to follow other than planting what you love!

Let’s Start Planting

Close-up of a male hand holding a young cabbage seedling above a raised bed before planting. The cabbage seedling has a root ball, and a pretty rosette of upright pale green thin stems and oval green leaves with slightly wavy edges.
Plan ahead to plant seeds or seedlings in raised beds or containers using good-quality soil.

If you plan ahead, you can plant many plants from seed. If you wait until Memorial Day Weekend to plant your victory garden, you will probably be planting seedlings from your garden center or local farm. Either way, grab your family, and let’s get planting!

Because this victory garden will be in raised beds, containers, or a combination of the two, you will need a lot of good-quality soil. While you can use bagged potting soil, there are many alternatives that can be cheaper. Consider DIYing a high-quality organic raised bed soil or picking something reliable up from a local landscaping company.

Once you have your pots and beds filled with soil, you will need a water source, some planting tools such as a small hand trowel, and your plants. Dig holes just large enough for your plants, place them in the holes, and backfill them with soil and water!

Just like our flowerbeds, raised gardens can become overgrown with weeds. I would recommend using garden straw as a mulch on top of your soil. Garden straw breaks down over time and will not damage your soil structure or cause harm to your plants. You will quickly have a beautiful and functional addition to your outdoor space.

Choosing a Raised Bed or Container

Birdies raised beds. The garden is full of iron raised beds, round and square, in black, light green and white. Young seedlings of various vegetables grow on raised beds.
Utilize existing raised beds or containers, or start small with available grow bags or containers.

You may already have a raised bed or collection of containers ready for your victory garden. Birdie’s raised beds are a perfect place to start if you don’t have any raised beds.

You can also start smaller with a few grow bags, ceramic containers, or anything else you have on hand. I personally use a raised garden for my vegetables and keep pots of herbs nearby. Once you get the hang of this, I guarantee you will want to expand your victory garden.

What to Plant in Your Victory Garden

What you will plant in your victory garden is a personal choice. You should choose fruits, vegetables, and flowers you use frequently in your home.

There should be a variety of perennial edibles alongside quick-growing annual edibles to ensure that you have fresh food for as much of the year as possible. Everything I have included below is strictly a suggestion to get you started. These plants are easy to grow and will produce a bountiful crop for your family.


Flowers are not only beautiful but also attract pollinators to your victory garden, which is essential for pollination and the production of an abundant crop. Below are just a few ideas for easy-to-grow flowers that would beautify your victory garden but can also be cut and used in vases indoors.


Close-up of blooming marigolds on a raised metal flower bed against a blurred background. Marigolds have lush dark green foliage, strongly dissected, fern-like. The flower heads are medium-sized, double, and consist of several rows of small, corrugated petals in orange and red.
These easy-to-grow annuals bloom in red, yellow, and orange.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-4 feet tall, 1 foot wide, depending on the variety

Marigolds are easy to grow annuals. They are typically found in shades of red, yellow, orange, and white. Marigolds have a nice aroma to them that most animals do not like, making them the perfect addition to your victory garden.


Close-up of blooming zinnias in a sunny garden on a raised bed. Zinnia flowers are bright and colorful, ranging from bright yellows and oranges to pinks, purples and reds, with multiple petals that create a full, daisy-like appearance. Zinnia leaves are green and slightly rough to the touch, lanceolate in shape with prominent veins.
Colorful zinnias swiftly add brightness to your victory garden, with options of small or giant varieties.
  • Full Sun
  • 6 inches to 3 feet tall, 1 foot wide, depending on the variety

Zinnias come in a wide range of colors and will quickly brighten up your victory garden. There are both small and giant zinnias available that can be neatly tucked in amongst your vegetables or grown in their own pot.


Close-up of blooming cosmos flowers. Cosmos flowers are distinguished by delicate, daisy-like flowers of bright pink color. They have a distinct central disk of bright yellow, surrounded by petals. The leaves of the cosmos are fern-like and pinnate, with a fine lacy texture in dark green.
These popular flowers are available in pink, orange, and white shades, and are bushier annuals that require ample space.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Cosmos flowers come in many shades of pink, orange, and white. This annual is a bit more bushy than others and can take up a good amount of space. If you have the space for them, they are cheery and beautiful.


Fruits are an essential part of our diet and are so fun to grow at home. Nothing excites the kiddos more than picking their own fruit right off the plant and snacking away!


Close-up of ripe blueberry bunches on branches. Blueberries are small, round berries that are dark blue or purple when ripe. They are covered with a gray-white powdery coating. Blueberry leaves are oval, shiny, dark green.
Include blueberries in your victory garden by planting them in the ground, ensuring sufficient space.
  • Full sun- Partial sun
  • 6-8 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide

Blueberries are perennial shrubs that require a decent amount of space and are best suited for being planted in the ground. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of your victory garden, though! Plant a few different varieties to promote cross-pollination and encourage the largest yield.


A close-up of a ripe fruit on a lemon tree in a garden against a blurred background. Lemons are citrus fruits known for their bright yellow color and sour taste. The fruit is medium in size, oval in shape, covered with a textured rough skin. The leaves of lemon trees are glossy, oval-shaped, bright green in color.
Enjoy growing citrus fruits like lemons and Meyer lemons in your victory garden by planting them in large containers.
  • Full sun- partial sun
  • 6-10 feet tall at maturity, 4-8 feet wide

Citrus fruits are fun to grow. Lemons and Meyer lemons make great additions to your victory garden. Plant this citrus tree in a large container and place it on wheels if possible.

This will make it easy to bring into your home in the winter if you live in a cooler climate. Use lemons in your water for lemonade or cocktails, and use the zest while cooking chicken or seafood.


Close-up of growing strawberries on a wooden raised bed with a layer of mulch. Strawberries are small, juicy, cone-shaped, bright red fruits with a sweet taste. Strawberry leaves are green and consist of three leaflets arranged in triplets. They have jagged edges and a slightly rough texture.
Choose both June-bearing and everbearing strawberry varieties for your raised beds to enjoy a continuous harvest.
  • Full Sun
  • 6 inches to 1 foot tall, 1-2 feet wide

Strawberries are the perfect plants for your raised beds. When choosing strawberry varieties, be sure to select a June-bearing variety as well as an everbearing variety to keep your crop coming all year long.

June-bearing varieties will produce fruit early in the season, while everbearing varieties will produce two crops: one early in the season and another later in the summer.


Top view, close-up of a ripening watermelon on a raised bed in a sunny garden. The fruit is large, rounded, with a thick green skin with dark green vertical stripes. The leaves of watermelon plants are large and lobed, dark green in color. They have a slightly rough texture and are arranged in an alternating pattern along the vines.
Easily grow watermelons in containers using a pot with at least 5 gallons of potting soil.
  • Full  Sun
  • 10 inches to 2 feet tall, 8 to 10 feet wide

Growing watermelons in a container is very simple to do. Start with a pot that is at least 5 gallons or more to ensure there is enough soil and nutrition to support the melons. A 10-gallon pot is even better!

Potting soil will be better for watermelons in a container rather than garden soil that could compact too quickly. Look for compact watermelon varieties for planting in pots or raised beds; if you are planting in the ground, you can choose any variety. Slice the melons and enjoy all summer long.


View of a garden filled with raised beds. Raised beds are square, wooden. A variety of vegetables grow on the beds, such as: cabbage, beetroot, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and several flowers.
Focus on growing vegetables that you enjoy eating in your victory garden.

Vegetables will inevitably make up the bulk of your victory garden. Remember to plant what you will eat and that these are just suggestions. You can plant seeds in succession for many vegetables to lengthen your crop. You can also take up canning, pickling, drying, or freezing to save your produce for later.


Close-up of a growing beetroot in a sunny garden. Beetroot is a root vegetable - a swollen root that has a hard texture, covered with a thin purplish-brown skin. Beet leaves are large, wide, oval, green with wavy edges and purple veins and stems.
For optimal growth, plant beets in full sun and cool temperatures.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Beets grow best in full sun and cool temperatures, so May might be a bit late to grow beets. However, you can prepare an area in your victory garden now for the fall.

Beets are root vegetables that will need some space to grow into the ground. Once your beets are ready to harvest, you can add them to salads, fresh or roasted.


Top view of a raised bed of broccoli. Broccoli is a vegetable known for its dense clusters of edible flower buds called florets. These inflorescences form a large compact head, dark green. Broccoli leaves are numerous and leafy, lighter green in color than the florets, with wavy margins and white veins.
Broccoli, a tasty and versatile vegetable, thrives in spring and fall, offering various culinary options.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

This yummy and versatile vegetable grows best in the spring and fall but is worth the wait. Eat this raw veggie, cook it on the grill, or roast it in the oven for a delicious side dish.

Do not waste the leaves of the broccoli plant. They are also edible and can be used to make vegetable broth or added to salads.


Close-up of growing corn in an iron raised bed in a garden. Corn is a tall annual plant belonging to the cereal family. It has a strong stem and long, narrow leaves that emerge from the stem in an alternating pattern. The leaves are large, lobed, bright green. They have distinct parallel veins and a slightly rough texture. There is a high wooden fence and a wooden stepladder on the background.
Opt for container-friendly corn hybrids like ‘On Deck’ by Burpee for your victory garden.
  • Full Sun
  • 4-5 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

There are new hybrids of corn that are meant specifically to be grown in containers, such as ‘on deck’ by Burpee. These plants are perfect for your victory garden, especially if you love corn and do not have the space for standard corn. Each stalk of corn should produce up to 3 ears of corn!

If growing corn, plant all of your corn in a dense planting to help with pollination. You must grow more than 10 plants for wind pollination to be viable, although you may be able to hand-pollinate.


A close-up of a ripe cucumber fruit hanging from a raised wooden bed in a garden. Cucumbers are oblong, cylindrical fruits with a smooth and waxy dark green skin. Cucumber leaves are large and wide, usually palmate or lobed, and bright green in color.
Cucumbers are kid-friendly veggies that can be enjoyed directly from the plant without any preparation.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 3-8 feet climbing and spreading

Cucumbers are a great veggie for your kids to grow. They are easy to enjoy right off of the plant and do not require any prep. They are also very easy to pickle and preserve if you don’t think you will get through them all in the summer.

Green Beans

Close-up of a green bean growing on a raised wooden bed in a garden. The plant has vines covered with medium, wide and flat green oval leaves with pointed tips. They are arranged alternately along the stems and provide shade and support for growing beans.
These popular beans are effortless vegetables to cultivate and enjoy, with options for both bush and pole varieties.
  • Full Sun
  • 2-15 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

Green beans may be the easiest veggie to grow! They have become a garden staple and are loved by many adults and kids alike. There are bush beans as well as pole beans; choose the type of bean to grow based on how much room you have.

If you select pole beans, you will need a trellis or something for them to climb up. Eat your green beans fresh. Alternatively, you could freeze or can your green beans.


Close-up of a young lettuce growing on a raised wooden bed. The lettuce has a rosette of large, oval, oblong, bright green leaves with smooth edges and a slightly wrinkled texture. The soil is covered with leafy mulch.
Lettuce comes in various types, including heat-tolerant varieties, but some prefer cooler weather.
  • Full sun- partial sun
  • Up to 1 foot tall, 6-8 inches wide

There are so many varieties of lettuce, from head varieties to leaf varieties. Many types of lettuce prefer to grow in cooler weather and will bolt when the temperatures rise. However, new heat-tolerant varieties will work well for your victory garden.


Close-up of an onion plant growing on a raised wooden bed. Onions are bulbous vegetables with a layered, paper-like skin covering the edible part of the plant. The leaves of the onion plant are long, thin and hollow, resembling green tubules. The soil is covered with a layer of mulch.
Growing onions is surprisingly simple, and they are a versatile addition to any dish.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 6 inches to 1 foot tall

Onions may seem tricky to grow, but they are pretty easy. I can hardly imagine a dish that does not require onions, making this veggie the perfect addition to your victory garden. Onions can easily be pickled as well for later use.


Close-up of a growing pea plant on a raised bed with a layer of straw mulch. The plant possesses vertical climbing vines covered with folded leaves with several pairs of leaflets attached to a central stem or tendril. Leaflets are medium, oval, green, with jagged edges. Large garden pitchfork stuck into the soil.
Most peas are easy to grow and provide tasty snacks or nutritious meal additions.
  • Full sun
  • 2-3 feet tall, 6-8 inches wide

Peas like sugar snap peas are easy and fun to grow. They make great snacks right off of the vine but can also be steamed and shelled for a nutritious addition to your meal. Peas will need support to grow properly, so add a trellis or pea tower to your victory garden.


Close-up of growing peppers on a raised bed. The plant has an upright stem, oval dark green leaves with smooth edges and pointed tips. The fruits are large, cone-shaped, with a smooth glossy skin of bright red color.
Select the pepper varieties that suit your family’s preferences, such as bell peppers and jalapenos.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1 foot wide

There are a few good peppers to choose from. I always include bell peppers and jalapenos in my vegetable garden because that is what my family eats the most.

Every family is different, so choose the varieties that work for you. These jewel-tone beauties are easy to grow, added to pasta dishes, or snacked on raw.


Close-up of growing potato bushes on a raised wooden bed in a sunny garden. Potato stems are usually thin and erect, growing to varying heights depending on the variety. The leaves of potato plants are compound and consist of several leaflets attached to a central stem. The leaves are oval or lanceolate, medium to dark green in color.
Plant potatoes in May for a fall harvest and enjoy a variety of dishes.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Potatoes are one of the most commonly used vegetables in American cuisine. They take a while to mature, so planting in May will produce potatoes in the fall.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Make fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or breakfast potatoes. You can also can them and save them for later.


Close-up of a ripe pumpkin in a raised bed. The pumpkin is large, rounded, with a hard orange peel and vertical segments. The plant has spreading vines, large, broad, dark green leaves with serrated edges, and a large orange star-shaped flower.
Grow pumpkins for seasonal use in fall, enjoying them in pies, pasta sauce, or as pet food.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-3 feet tall, 2-30 feet spread

In the past, I have enjoyed growing pumpkins just for fun, but this squash certainly has its seasonal moment in the fall. Use it in pies, pasta sauce, or feed it to your pets.

Pumpkins have greater use than just becoming a jack-o-lantern. Miniature varieties can be used for decoration or are perfect as a single-serving roasted mini-pumpkin. Larger types can be used in so many ways. The seeds taste great when roasted, too!


Close-up of a radish growing in a raised bed. The soil is covered with fine granular blue fertilizers. Radishes are small root vegetables that are known for their crunchy texture and spicy flavor. The root crop is small, rounded, with a bright pink skin. The leaves of radish plants, often referred to as radish greens, are leafy and elongated. They grow straight from the root and are dark green in color. The leaves have a slightly textured surface and may be lobed or divided into smaller leaflets, depending on the cultivar.
Radishes are simple to grow from seeds or plugs, and homegrown varieties are tastier than store-bought ones.
  • Full Sun
  • 2-3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

These little snacks are easily grown from seed and even easier from plugs. Another cool season grower, radishes grown straight in your garden are much more delicious than those at the grocery store.

Keep the radish greens and add them to your salads, sauté them, or use them to make a different spin on pesto.


Close-up of a raised wooden bed with spinach in the garden. Spinach leaves are usually broad and slightly wrinkled or wrinkled. They grow in a rosette from the center of the plant.
Growing spinach from seed or plugs is effortless, and it effortlessly enhances your diet.
  • Full sun- partial sun
  • 1 foot tall, 4 inches wide

Spinach is really easy to grow from seed or from plugs and is even easier to incorporate into your diet. Spinach is loaded with vitamins and can be added to salads, sautéed, or even added to your smoothies or green juices.

Summer Squash

Close-up of a growing summer squash in a garden. The fruits are oblong, cylindrical shape of bright yellow color. The leaves of summer squash are large and lush, growing on sprawling vines. They are bright green in color and distinctly shaped, often with broad, lobed or palmate leaflets. The leaves are slightly rough in texture, providing a strong support system for the plant.
Popular in raised beds, summer squash adds a vibrant touch with its yellow color and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes.
  • Full sun
  • 2-3 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

Summer squash are pretty yellow squash that are very similar to zucchini. Use summer squash on the grill, sauteed in a skillet, or added to ratatouille. This squash also freezes nicely after slicing.


Close-up of tomatoes growing on a raised bed in a garden. The tomato plant has oval, medium-sized fruits that are bright red in color. Tomato leaves are dark green and small to medium in size. They are alternate, that is, they grow singly along the stems of the plant. The leaves are smooth or slightly hairy, with serrated edges and a pointed or ovoid shape. The raised fence is made of orange bricks. On the side of the raised bed is a basket with freshly picked fruits.
A garden staple, tomatoes are highly favored in victory gardens.
  • Full Sun
  • 3-10 feet tall, 1-4 feet wide

Tomatoes are probably one of the most popular vegetables grown in victory gardens because there are so many different kinds with so many uses!

I often opt for a few different varieties of cherry tomatoes and only one of a larger tomato because that is what my family prefers. Top your burgers with tomatoes, or make a tomato salad with the smaller varieties. Pasta sauce is another wonderful way to use up your tomatoes. Don’t forget the salsa!


Close-up of a growing zucchini in the garden on a raised bed. Zucchini fruits are usually cylindrical in shape with a smooth, shiny dark green skin.
Zucchini, like summer squash, is a low-maintenance vegetable that elevates summer dishes.
  • Full Sun
  • 2-3 feet tall, 4-5 feet spread

Just like summer squash, zucchini is easy to grow and a great vegetable to add to your summer dishes. It may help to give your zucchini some support, but there are bushy varieties of zucchini available if you don’t want to do the extra work.

Grill zucchini as a side dish, or fry them up into zucchini fries. Don’t forget the flowers; you can stuff the blossoms with cheese, fry them, and have them as a snack.


Close-up of a raised bed with growing herbs in a sunny garden. Herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, swiss chard and others grow on the raised bed.
Growing herbs from seed or 6 packs is a breeze, making them ideal border plants in your victory garden.

Herbs are really easy to grow from seed, and you can typically find them in 6 packs at your garden center.

Herbs make great border plants within your victory garden, but they are also good choices for small containers that you may cluster on your deck or around your raised beds. Try a stackable vertical garden if you are tight on space.


Top view, close-up of a growing basil plant on a raised bed in a garden. Basil has oval, glossy, cup-shaped leaves that are bright green in color.
This versatile herb has delightful flavor and fragrance and enhances various cuisines.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Basil is a delicious and fragrant herb that can be used in many different cuisines. Use it to make yummy fresh pesto. Pinch the white flowers back to increase foliage growth.


Close-up of Chives on a raised wooden bed. Chives is a herbaceous plant with beautiful flowers and long thin leaves. Green onion flowers are small and delicate, forming round, plump clusters atop long thin stems. They are mauve or purple in color and shaped like a star with six petals. Onion leaves are long, thin and tubular in shape. They grow in clusters from the base of the plant and are bright green in color.
This member of the onion family is a low-maintenance perennial that yields versatile greens.
  • Full Sun- Partial Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Chives are a member of the onion family and are very easy to grow. This plant will return year after year. The greens can be chopped and added to eggs, salads, or soup, sprinkled over baked potatoes, and so much more. The flowers are small purple globes are make a pretty cut flower.


Close-up of dill growing on a garden bed. Dill leaves are tender and feathery, reminiscent of thin fern leaves. They are thin and thread-like, with several segments that give them a lacy appearance. Dill leaves are bright green in color and soft in texture. They grow in clusters from the stems of the plant, producing dense and attractive foliage.
This fragrant herb adds an anise flavor to soups, dips, and vegetable dishes.
  • Full Sun
  • 3-5 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

Dill is a large herb that can take up quite a bit of space, so skip it if you do not like this fragrant herb. It can be easily used in soups, dips, or other vegetable dishes. Dill has an anise-like flavor. It is very easy to care for, and the leaves can be harvested, frozen, and saved for later.


Close-up of a rosemary growing on a raised bed in a sunny garden. Rosemary has upright stems covered with needle-like, evergreen leaves that are narrow and elongated.
This is an easy-to-grow and drought-tolerant herb that enhances different meat dishes.
  • Full Sun- Partial Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Rosemary is easy to grow and drought tolerant. Harvest new leaves and use them in your meat dishes. You can also throw rosemary in your bonfires to help keep bugs safely away. Freeze the stems for later use.


Close-up of a sage plant in a sunny garden. Sage leaves are distinct and textured, known for their oblong or lanceolate shape. They are silvery green in color with a velvety or fleecy texture. Sage leaves are arranged in pairs along sturdy stems, creating dense and compact foliage.
A lovely addition to victory gardens, sage offers harvestable leaves for culinary use.
  • Full Sun
  • 1-2 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide

Sage is a beautiful plant to add to your victory gardens. Harvest the leaves to use in your cooking. The flowers are also beautiful and can be cut and added to your arrangements.


Close-up of thyme growing in a white pot. The plant has long red stems covered with small oval leaves. Thyme leaves are grey-green in color, sometimes tinged with silver or purple, and have a slightly fuzzy texture.
This herb serves a dual purpose in victory gardens, with edible leaves for dishes and attractive flowers that attract pollinators.
  • Full Sun
  • 6 inches to 1 foot tall, 6 inches to 1 foot wide

Thyme does double duty in your victory garden. The leaves are edible and easily added to your dishes, but their flowers also attract many pollinators into your garden. Thyme is hardy in zones 5-9, making it a perennial for many gardeners.

Final Thoughts

Planting a garden together as a family is a bonding experience. Everyone can be given a particular task while planting and a chore for caring for their specific plant. You will all reach your end goal together and enjoy the literal fruits of your labor. I hope you get into the garden with your friends and family this weekend while we remember the men and women who have fought for everything we have.

A black and orange parasitic wasp waits on a green leaf to strike in the garden.

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