How to Care for Plants in a Raised Bed

Growing plants in a raised bed can be a cinch if you know what you're doing.

You don't have to be an expert to grow plants in a raised bed garden – even total newbies can do it! Just follow these 6 simple steps. For a jumpstart with veggies and herbs, plant strong young plants from Bonnie Plants® in your beds—no more waiting for seeds to sprout!

1. Start with great soil. With a raised bed garden, you have the chance to give plant roots exactly what they want: midweight soil that holds moisture well, has plenty of air pockets, and is chock full of organic matter. That's what they'll get from Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Raised Bed Mix, so fill your raised bed up with it. (Find out how many bags of soil you'll need with this chart). If you have an existing raised bed garden and aren't starting the growing season with new soil, use Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ Soil Revitalizer to help revive your old soil. When used as directed, it will help replenish nutrients, restore soil structure, and renew water retention.

2. Water when soil is dry. Soil in raised beds tends to drain more quickly than in-ground soil, simply due to gravity (taller beds drain faster, too). Check the soil often by sticking your finger in it; when the top inch is dry, it's time to give the bed a thorough watering. You can use a watering can or a hose (choose the "shower" setting on the nozzle), or you can make your life easier with smart watering devices like the  Gro™ Garden Sprayer paired with the Gro™ Water Sensor Starter Kit. With an ingenious set-up like that, the sensor sends an alert to your phone when your plants are thirsty, then you just turn on the spigot and water is delivered right where your plants need it most. Brilliant!

3. Add a mulch layer. If you cover the soil around the plants in your raised bed with a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch, you'll likely need to water less and pull fewer weeds. Mulch helps keep the soil moist by protecting it from the sun's hot rays, and keeps weeds from growing by blocking their access to that same sunlight. You can use bagged mulch (such as Miracle-Gro® Garden Mulch, made from composted bark), straw, shredded leaves, pine straw, or untreated grass clippings – it's totally up to you.

4. Feed your plants. You know how you get feeling all hungry and out of sorts when you haven't eaten in a while? Plants are the same way. They need regular nutrition to grow their best, especially in raised beds, where they might be planted a little more closely together than they would be in the ground. To keep your raised bed plants happy, begin feeding them a month after planting with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Raised Bed Plant Nutrition Granules. What's more, if you use Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil and Miracle-Gro® plant food to grow your Bonnie Plants®, following all directions, you'll be rewarded with 3 times the harvest over the growing season versus unfed plants!

5. Watch for weeds. Keep a sharp eye out and pull weeds as soon as you spot them in your raised bed garden. They tend to be easier to pull when they're young, and you definitely want to catch them before they go to seed and start spawning baby weeds all over your bed.

6. Go on pest patrol. Visit your raised bed garden daily and take the time to check each plant for signs of pests or disease, which are always easier to conquer when you spy them early. Bonus: If you're growing veggies, herbs, or fruits, you'll also have a better chance of catching your harvest at the peak of ripeness if you're out there each day.