96"x24" Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas
You are excited to grow a vegetable garden. You've built your raised bed in a space that gets at least six to eight hours of sun a day and filled it with soil. How do you know how much to grow? I thought I'd put together a 96"x24" raised vegetable garden layout to show how much can be grown in raised beds. I ended up creating a pair because I had so much fun growing all these virtual veggies!

Deciding what to plant in a small vegetable garden layout

I would like to suggest starting with your shopping list. What items will appear each week? For me, that means lettuce and other veggies like spinach, swiss chard, kale and bok choy, cucumbers, onions, various herbs, peppers (I usually grow at least one pepper for habanero jelly, and various others bell peppers), odd-root beets, and carrots. One thing that doesn't end up on my grocery list very often are tomatoes. But it's not because I don't like them. They're no match for the ones you grow yourself (or buy at the farmers market in summer). So tomatoes have always been on my planting list. And I often grow more than I need - any excess is frozen for winter meals.

I also recommend planting at least one new vegetable. It's fun to watch it grow, then give it a try at the end of the season. While it's easy to get carried away and want to grow everything, you only have so much room. I always seem to get more seedlings and seeds than I have room for. That's why my collection of raised beds and planters has grown over the years. What to do if you have excess seedlings? Don't let them go to waste! Tuck them into perennial gardens or pots.

Calculate the pitch of the raised bed

Read your seed packet (or plant label) carefully. They should provide the height and width of mature plants, as well as spacing recommendations. Remember that one of the benefits of raised garden beds is that you can plant vegetables closer together (this is called dense planting or gardening) rather than in rows like in traditional underground gardens. This also helps control weeds and reduces the need for frequent watering. You do need to keep an eye on your garden and the growth of small plants to keep the air flowing, which can help prevent disease.

Many gardeners find Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening method helpful. In a loft bed, you divide the space into squares of 1x1 square feet. Then you follow his plan to determine how many plants or seeds should be added to each square. Density depends on the size of the plant. So that could mean a tomato or some carrots. This is a useful way for beginners to get organized.

Vegetable Garden Planning Tips

Assess which direction the sun is coming from and make sure not to plant tall crops in front of dwarf crops. I learned this lesson the hard (fun?) way a few years ago. A pack of PastelDreams zinnias seemed like the perfect bloom to plant them in front of one of my raised beds. For some reason, I didn't read how tall they would grow. Then the answer is three or four feet high! This means they cast a little shadow on the vegetables behind them at certain times of the day. I am now very careful about planting shorter varieties.

I always grow columnar basil near some of my tomatoes (which I include in my grocery list plans). It grows nice and tall, doesn't get lost in the shadow of the tomatoes, and makes a lot of pesto! Of course, there are plenty of great basil varieties yet to be discovered.

Choose spreading compact plants. They may have been bred with containers in mind, but they're also great for raised beds. If you grow butternut squash in raised beds, it can easily take over your entire garden! However, a compact breed won't have as many pigs, and if you plant it strategically, it will pour down the sides. You can also grow pumpkins before peas...once that's done, use the same trellis to grow pumpkins.

Continuous planting plan

What many newbies don't realize is that when you're growing heat-loving plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons, the vegetable growing season isn't over. For example, the space created with peas in the garden can be used later in summer to grow root crops or vegetables such as Swiss chard and kale for a fall harvest. This is called continuous planting.

Also, add some compost to the raised bed when you've removed summer peas or garlic and are ready to plant something else. This will add some nutrients back into the soil. Now you're ready to plant more!

I like to grow garlic in one of my raised beds in the fall, but keep in mind that you can't grow garlic in that garlic space until around July.

My Shopping List Favorite 96"x24" Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layout

Alright, let's start the layout. This loft bed has eight rows. For rows of onions, greens, and root vegetables, the photos do not represent the exact quantities planted. They are just placeholders to indicate where they go. According to my shopping list, I'm going to plant two rows of onions; one row of two tomatoes and one columnar basil; one row of three pepper plants (one pepper, one snack, one bell -- or both ); a row of kale, spinach, or Swiss chard (from seeds); a row of two cucumbers (patio varieties); and rows of root vegetables (from seeds). In the picture, I added beets and carrots, but you can add turnips or turnips. I also sneaked in some herbs, curly parsley, and flat leaf parsley.

96" x 24" Home Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Layout

This is another layout idea for home plots. Sow peas or beans in double rows/grids at the north end. Then, add two rows of onions, one row of two tomatoes (probably a cherry variety and one sliced tomato), one row of two pepper plants (one hot and one snack) and one snack cucumber (three in a tomato cage) medium), a row of butternut squash (dwarfed at the edges) and zucchini (plant or seed) - I like Burpee's lemonade squash - and a row of carrots.