Top 7 Tips For Growing Tomatoes In Raised Beds
Growing tomatoes in raised beds is a great way to grow these highly-prized vegetables. The high soil temperature and access to plenty of sunlight make this the perfect environment for growing tomatoes. Raised bed gardening is not just for growing tomatoes; you can also use these beds to grow lettuce, herbs, and other salad greens.
Raised bed gardens are relatively easy to set up and maintain. They require a smaller space than traditional gardens, making them suitable for urban dwellers or anyone with limited outdoor space. You do need some carpentry skills to build your own raised garden beds, but for those who have zero carpentry skills and cannot afford to hire someone, here are the top 7 tips on how to grow tomatoes in raised beds:
7 Tips For Growing Tomatoes In Raised Beds
1. Choose the right location and soil.
When choosing the location for your raised bed, remember that tomatoes need full sun exposure and a warm climate. While you can grow them in partial shade, you will get better yields if you grow them in full sun.
The soil in your raised garden beds should be well-drained. Soils that retain too much water rot the roots. To increase drainage, mix sand or crushed gravel with your regular garden soil – 2 or 3 parts of soil to 1 part of sand or gravel. Be sure to add plenty of organic material, such as compost or manure, to the soil. These materials add nutrients and keep the soil loose and well-aerated.
2. Use organic fertilizers
Tomatoes need plenty of nitrogen to grow healthy leaves and fruits. Since you are growing them in raised beds, with excellent access to nutrients and water, you don’t have to add too much fertilizer. When you plant your tomatoes, you can apply some of these homemade tomato fertilizer recipes to the soil. You can also side-dress your plants with a fertilizer once they have reached a certain height. To encourage healthy root growth, add some root fertilizer to the soil.
3. Lay down drip irrigation tubing
The soil in your raised garden beds will remain fairly moist, but you should water regularly. If you don’t want to water your plants by hand, consider installing a drip irrigation system. If your raised bed is large and deep, you may not be able to reach the center of the bed with a watering can. When the water evaporates from the soil, it leaves minerals and other substances that could harm your plants. A drip irrigation system will help water your plants evenly and prevent these harmful substances from building up. You can add a timer so the system automatically waters your plants.
4. Add a layer of compost and manure.
To add nutrients and loosen the soil, add a layer of compost or manure to your raised garden bed. Once you have finished planting, add a layer of compost or manure and mix it into the soil. Wait a few weeks until the compost has decomposed, and then plant your tomatoes. Using compost or manure will add nutrients and organics to your soil and prevent your plants from becoming nitrogen deficient.
5. Install a trellis or support frame
While you can grow tomatoes in a raised bed without any support, you will get better yields and bigger tomatoes if you install a trellis or support frame. You can buy a ready-made tomato trellis or build one using wooden boards and a few hooks. If you are growing other vegetables in the same bed, install a support frame instead of a trellis. You will have easy access to the plants.
6. Add more organic material before planting.
To add more nutrients to the soil, add some organic material before you plant your tomatoes. If you add compost or manure, ensure it is well-decomposed before adding it to the soil. You don’t want to add too much nitrogen to the soil because it could harm your plants. If you have very sandy soil, you may want to add a bit of organic material before planting. You can also add some organic material to the soil if your plants are not growing as well as you had hoped.
7. Grow Dark, Leafy Greens
Tomatoes are not the only vegetables you can grow in raised garden beds. Dark leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and other Asian greens, thrive in raised beds. You can also grow root vegetables in these beds as long as they are planted in the center of the bed.
If you have only a small backyard and wish to grow a large variety of vegetables, a raised garden bed is a great option. Growing tomatoes in a raised bed are especially easy, as the warm soil and full sun will produce healthy and abundant plants.
To ensure that your tomatoes grow well, start by choosing the right location and soil, adding some organic material, installing a drip irrigation system, installing a support frame, and adding more organic material before planting. You can also grow vegetables in raised garden beds, such as dark leafy greens.