Why densely plant in raised garden beds?
Intensive planting is a technique for reducing open spaces in the garden where weeds can find room to grow. Planting the seedlings closer means that the plants themselves act as a mulch over the soil, keeping them cooler and reducing evaporation.

Plants that do well when planted densely include vegetables such as arugula, mustard greens, lettuce, and spinach. Our food expert Niki Jabbour grows her vegetables in small rows or strips. And she grows a little at a time to reduce food waste—you don't need to prepare 100 heads of lettuce at once!

Continuous Planting in Raised Garden Beds

This brings us to continuous planting. If you're pulling out spring crops like peas and root vegetables, or harvesting garlic in the summer, there's no reason you can't add more vegetables to the open space. You may want to give the seeds a head start under grow lights. When planting, keep in mind the composting tip: Amend the soil to add some nutrients and promote a good harvest. Good soil health is key to a thriving garden.

Add a plant stand so you have room for more plants

When planting raised beds, be sure to give some of your plants something to climb to - a trellis, old trellis, cow boards, etc. If you've ever grown a pumpkin seedling in a raised flower bed, you know that as it grows, the plant will take up more than half, or even the entire garden! Adding vertical structure will support climbing plants such as cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, and melons.

Grow vegetables and flowers in raised beds

There are many mutual benefits to growing food in your ornamental garden, and vice versa. I love growing flowers like zinnias, nasturtiums, and cosmos in my raised garden beds. They attract pollinators, who in turn pollinate my tomato, squash, and cucumber flowers (win-win!). When I'm in the garden in the summer, hummingbirds often fly around me, looking forward to landing on my zinnias. Propagate a few flowers so you have some set aside for pollinators, then cut off the rest to keep your summer bouquets in vases.

You can also use flowers as a natural pest control measure when planting raised flower beds. Some of the plants I grow are based on pests that have invaded my garden in previous seasons, while others are done as a preventive measure.