Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Plans for Three-Season Bounty

Enjoy fresh produce from spring through fall with our raised-bed planting plans and checklists.

Planning a vegetable garden and successfully harvesting your own produce is easy with this three-season plan for a raised bed. The layout of a vegetable garden can make or break its success, so it's important to do it right. Follow these planting plans and checklists for each season, and you'll enjoy a fruitful vegetable garden from early spring into fall.

spring raised-bed garden plan
Illustration by Helen Smythe.

Plant for a Spring Harvest

Start in early spring to grow your own produce. Call your local county extension office or garden center to find out your area's average last spring frost date. You may leave part of the garden unplanted so it's ready for warm weather vegetables later.

Early Spring: Plant four weeks before the last frost date. Sow seeds for early spring vegetables directly into the soil, but for an even earlier harvest, we recommend you start with a few transplants. When planting seeds, sow them more densely than recommended, then, using scissors, thin the seedlings to the recommended number once they're a couple of inches tall.

A. 8 butterhead lettuce

B. 8 leaf lettuce

C. 16 carrot

D. 6 cilantro or dill

E. 2 broccoli

F. 1 cabbage

G. 2 cauliflower

H. 12 snow peas (planted in a circle around a tall tomato cage or trellis)

I. 4 spinach

J. 2 parsley

K. 8 onion

L. 16 radish

M. 4 Swiss chard or kale

Spring Checklist

  • Keep the seedbed moist (but not muddy) so the tiny plants don't dry out after they've sprouted. Water with a gentle spray.
  • Support your snow peas with a tomato cage or trellis.
  • Pull weeds as soon as you spot them.
  • Use a bale of clean straw, a bag of last fall's chopped leaves, grass clippings, or other forms of organic mulch on your garden. Apply a two-inch layer of mulch around young plants, but don't cover the seeds you just planted, or they won't grow.
summer raised-bed garden plan
Illustration by Helen Smythe.

Plant for a Summer Harvest

After the last frost date, when the days and the soil are warmer, plant summer-yielding, warm-weather vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and green beans. Herbs grow well now, too.

Late Spring: Plant these vegetables in late spring, two weeks after the last frost date.

Transplant Tips: Some vegetables need space, and indeterminate tomatoes require a large cage. Summer squash, cucumbers, and pole beans can all be grown on a 6-foot trellis at the edge of the garden. Be sure they don't shade other plants.

A. 8 bush green beans

B. 8 carrots

C. 1 cherry tomato (try 'Husky Cherry Red' or 'Patio')

D. 1 cabbage (not yet harvested from early spring)

E. 1 salad tomato (try 'Rutgers' or 'Better Bush')

F. 12 snow peas (not yet harvested from early spring)

G. 1 sweet pepper (try 'Gypsy Hybrid,' 'California Wonder,' 'Albino,' or 'Bell Boy')

H. 2 parsley

I. 8 onion

J. 4 basil

K. 4 Swiss chard or kale

Summer Checklist

  • Use mulch around your vegetables, particularly the tomatoes, to keep the soil moist and to reduce weed problems.
  • Stake or cage tomatoes, even if you have chosen smaller, determinate varieties that produce at the same time. Put the stakes or cages in place immediately after planting, so the plants are supported as they grow. Peppers often require support as well.
  • Visit your garden for a few minutes each day. The soil can be dry on the surface, but don't let it get so dry that plants wilt.
fall raised-bed garden plan
Illustration by Helen Smythe.

Plant For A Fall Harvest

Once the days become cooler, those crops that love cool weather can become part of your garden again. Do continue harvesting tomatoes, peppers, and beans.

Late Summer: Plant these vegetables in mid- to late-summer, eight weeks before the first average fall frost date.

Garden Planning: Fall gardens are often overlooked by gardeners who have planted such a large spring garden that it becomes difficult to keep up with over the season. With a manageable plan like this one, you have time and energy to continue planting and extend your harvest through fall.

A. 1 cabbage

B. 12 bush green beans

C. 16 carrot

D. 4 broccoli

E. 2 cauliflower

F. 1 cherry tomato

G. 1 salad tomato

H. 4 spinach

I. 1 sweet pepper

J. 2 parsley

K. 2 dill

L. 4 cilantro

M. 4 basil

N. 4 Swiss chard or kale

Fall Checklist

  • Renew the mulch around your plants as needed. Continue the daily visits to your garden to harvest and weed. Even though it's fall, watch for warm windy days that can quickly dry out a vegetable patch. You may need to water twice a day if it's windy.
  • Watch for damaging insects. Your garden is small enough that it's easy to handpick and crush most of them when you spot them.
  • After the first frost, remove the dead plants and spread an inch of compost or composted manure over the bed. Your garden will be ready for you again in spring.
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