Considerations for Raised Bed Gardening

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Written by:  Beth Lyon-Smith, Ashe County Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer

As spring is here, there is much excitement about planting a garden, especially with the concern of food insecurity. You cannot beat the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs. Raising herbs, vegetables, and flowers in raised bed gardens is an efficient way to grow plants in small areas. When placing raised beds, make sure to have adequate sun for plants to grow and make a regular watering schedule or employ a mechanized watering system.

Use various combinations of amendments to media or soil. You can also purchase a raised bed mix that has already been prepared. Fertilize, but not directly on the plants or seedlings. Purchase seeds or use seeds harvested from a previous year’s garden. Start the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before planting time for your area. Check your planting zone for the last frost date for your area. Ashe County is in zone 6A. Consider planting time, total plant maturation time, and temperature tolerance. These seedlings will need to be hardened off before planting outside.

Consider plants to assist in pest control. Marigolds will repel most insects and inhibit the green horn worms. Nasturtiums deter beetles that attack beans. Herbs also discourage harmful insects and can add flavor to foods.

Here is a list of compatible herbs and vegetables.

  • Oregano deters most insects
  • Thyme repels cabbage worms
  • Chives and garlic discourage aphids
  • Mint near cabbage and tomatoes will deter white cabbage moths
  • Plant parsley near asparagus, corn and tomatoes
  • Rosemary deters cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies
  • Sage deters cabbage moths and carrot flies (Do not plant sage near cucumbers)
  • Thyme deters cabbage worms
  • Plant garlic near roses and raspberries, because it deters Japanese beetles.
  • Plant dill with cabbages (Do not plant dill near carrots)
  • Plant chives with carrots
  • Plant basil with tomatoes
  • Plant chervil with radishes
  • Marjoram, oregano and tarragon can be planted with all vegetables.
  • Be sure to plant fennel away from other herbs and vegetables.
  • Plant summer savory with beans and onions to improve growth and flavor.

You may be surprised by how many plants can be grown in small areas of raised beds. It is helpful to consider companion planting, which refers to planting crops together that are compatible. Companion planting may also facilitate pest management. Also, consider succession planting if you want to extend your harvest. You can do several plantings of the same plants at intervals or follow with a separate planting after an early harvest. Consider making a planting chart. As your success is achieved from year to year, it is important to rotate crops to avoid disease and maintain soil nutrients.

The following is a chart of herbs and vegetables that are friends and foes! Happy gardening and enjoy your harvest.

Vegetable Companion Plant Don’t Plant Together
Cabbage Family (cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts) beets, celery, dill, Swiss chard lettuce, spinach, onions, potatoes Pole beans
Carrots beans, tomatoes none
Celery beans, tomatoes, cabbages none
Corn cucumbers, melons, squash, peas, beans, pumpkin tomatoes
Cucumber beans, corn, peas, cabbage none
Eggplant beans, peppers none
Melons corn, pumpkin, radish, squash none
Onions beets, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, peppers all beans and peas
Peas beans, carrots, corn cucumbers, radish, turnip garlic, onions
Potatoes beans corn, peas tomatoes
Squash corn, melons, pumpkin none
Tomatoes carrots, celery, cucumbers, onions, peppers corn, potatoes, Kohlrabi
Asparagus tomatoes none
Beans (bush or pole) celery, corn, cucumbers, radish, strawberries, summer savory garlic, onions
Beets bush beans (not pole beans) cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce, onions, garlic pole beans