Growing tomatoes in raised beds
Raised beds and raised planters are a great way to grow tomatoes and garden vegetables. A raised bed puts great soil for planting on top of your poor soil.
How to make your own raised bed from scratch? Google it, you will find zillions of suggestions. Whether you make your own or build one from a kit, make sure your raised bed is at least 18 inches deep.
Construct it so you can reach easily inside without having to walk on the soil. For example popular sizes when you have access all around the raised bed are 3-4 feet wide at whatever length you want, typically 6-8-10 feet in length. Most people can reach in 2 feet then go around to the other side and reach in 2 feet. This way you will not need to walk on the soil.
Kits for making your own raised bed. Most big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes have kits for making the sides/walls of the raised planter. Sometime people have existing brick planters they can remove some of the dirt and fill with potting soil.
What kind of soil should you use in your raised bed? Use the great potting soil we have talked about elsewhere. Don’t just buy a bag that says “For use in raised beds” unless sphagnum peat moss or peat moss is the first ingredient. Don’t go through all the trouble to make a raised bed and then fill it with “junk” soil. We reviewed the best potting soil here: The best potting soil or mix for tomatoes and vegetables.
Filling your raised bed that first year with great potting soil may be a little expensive but after that first year you just add more of the great potting soil on top. You will be amazed at your vegetable garden.
During spring season Costco sells the great potting soil for $9.99 for a 2 cubic foot bag. That’s like half price, so load up. If you want to save a little, you can fill six to ewight inches on the bottom of the raised bed with cheaper potting mix/potting soil or compost. Fill in the rest to within a several inches of the top with great potting soil/potting mix. Remember, the first time filling is the most expensive after that you simply add great potting soil/potting mix as your raised bed potting soil rots and decomposes.
After filling your raised bed with great potting soil, — top it with a three to four inch layer of composted steer manure. Mix it up a little soak it down. Add a little more of the great potting soil/ potting mix if needed and you are ready to plant!!!
Tomatoes will do well in raised beds 18 inches deep. Tomato roots go a little deeper than most veggies so a 12 inch deep raised bed is not quite deep enough although it will work.
For more ideas on building raised beds, visit garden departments at Home Depot or Lowes.