How to grow tomatoes in raised beds
Raised beds, 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.
And when you make your own or build one from a kit, make your raised bed at least 18 inches deep. Construct it so you can reach easily inside without having to walk onto the raised bed soil. For example popular sizes when you have access all around the raised bed are 3’- 4’ wide at whatever length you want. Typically 6’-8’-10’ 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 raised bed soil.
Kits for making your own raised bed. Most of your 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.
Here is a picture of a planter in my front yard—I removed some of the dirt and replaced it with great potting mix and grew what else … hahahaha … some tomatoes.
What kind of soil should you use in your raised bed? Let’s use that great potting soil we have already talked about. 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 to use. Take a look at—“Best Soil, Best Potting Soil for Tomatoes.”
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.
Costco during spring season sells the great potting soil $9.99 for about 2 cubic foot bag. That’s like ½ price, so load up. If you need to save a little—you can fill 6”- 8” on the bottom of the raised bed with a cheap ground up tree branches type 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, 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. So, after filling your raised bed with great potting soil– top it off with a 3”- 4” layer of composted steer manure on top. Mix it up a little soak it down. Add a little more of that 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. Go to Home Depot or Lowes, Garden department and ask to see some ideas on raised beds.
You are welcome to share this information with others—family, friends and clubs, etc. Sharing tips helps us be better growers.
Dave Freed / the Tomato Guy