Fort St John
weather icon
← Back to Gardening Tips

Convenient & Delicious

Raised Gardening

Find enjoyment and convenience in growing your own food and learning as you go with raised gardening. With a sunny space, a bit of effort and creativity, healthy eating can be very convenient, delicious, rewarding, and therapeutic.

Plants and vegetables growing in raised garden beds

No matter how often we decide to eat healthy, it can be a challenge from finding fresh veggies to keeping that grocery bill down. But let’s not give up, instead find enjoyment and convenience in growing your own food, learning as we go with raised gardening. With a sunny space, a bit of effort and a bit of creativity, healthy eating can be very convenient, delicious, rewarding, and therapeutic.

When we talk about raised bed gardening, it simply means gardening in soil that has been mounded higher than the surrounding soil. Raised bed gardening is growing in popularity because it offers several advantages like, improving soil, water conservation, better drainage, pest control, and height for easy gardening. Raised garden soil will warm quicker in the spring for earlier planting.  You can squeeze out a higher plant to soil ratio in a raised bed because you do not need to leave room for paths.

Fresh herbs and vegetables in a paper bag


Essentially a raised bed is four or more-sided structure with an open bottom that you fill with soil of your choice. The options are endless,  you can pick the shape of your raised garden to fit anywhere in your yard, big or small. Many materials can be used to construct a garden bed. Stone, animal troughs, canoes, recycled plastic and wood are just some creative ways people have dreamed up a garden bed.

Wood is the most popular, attractive and easiest choice for building raised beds. Untreated lumber such as red cedar are considered rot resistant and can last a very long time. Wooden raised beds can be made to any size and height to fit your garden. A traditional size would be 6’x4’ making it easy to reach the center of the bed from both sides. The height of the beds would depend on what you want to plant in the raised garden. Carrots and potatoes would need at least 15”-24” for height. But a height of 12” is average height and good for most vegetables.


Scout out your yard and decide where your raised bed will get the most sunshine throughout the whole day, at least six hours of sun at the most. The best orientation for raised beds is placing them north-south. This allows both sides of the bed to receive sunlight during the day. Place raised bed away from trees that can give shade over time when the tree grows. Place in an area that you can walk all around the bed for easy access to weeding and caring for your vegetables. Avoid placing your raised bed in a low spot or slope but choose a well-draining site that is flat.  Also consider if your raised bed is in close proximity to the kitchen. A garden closer to the home adds convenience when cooking meals. Another thing to consider is if there is water close by for easy watering. If you’re building more than one raised bed leave enough space between the beds to roll a wheelbarrow through. Adding gravel or wood chips between beds can help with weed suppression and make walking in your garden more enjoyable for when the ground gets soggy. Remove any sod and any weeds before laying down your raised bed.  Raised beds are intended to be a semi-permanent structure of the garden, so choose your location carefully.


Raised beds offer soil control.  Whether you battle clay soil, or hard compacted soil, these beds allow you to control the content and nutrients in your soil beds. The sky is the limit when we talk about what soil to add to your beds. Typically you want to add top soil to the bottom or more of your beds. Mixing compost, bagged potting mix, peat moss and manure are all good options. Adding perlite to make the soil lighter is super easy if the soil seems heavy. The main goal is to have the soil light and fluffy for good drainage and to make it easier for rooting. Adding sand will also aid in drainage or if planting asparagus in the bed. Season to season you can adjust by adding or subtracting different soils and see what works. But remember to top dress with compost (we recommend Sea Soil) seasonally to bring up the soil level and replenish with nutrients.

Sea soil - natural compost for growing plants and vegetables
Water Control

Raised beds allow the soil to drain well, avoiding the waterlogged challenges of many in-ground gardens.

Irrigation is also less wasteful in the confined space of a raised bed. Properly installed drip irrigation systems like Rain Drip target the plants roots, ensuring healthy plants as well as saving money on water bills. Add a timer for early morning waterings to reduce watering chores and to help maintain soil moisture.

Drip irrigation system for automatic plant watering
Planting in your Raised Bed

Decide what you or your family likes to eat and create your garden plan. This is the fun stage to your raised garden journey. Herbs and vegetables are the more popular choice for raised beds. Start seeds indoors to later plant in your raised beds, seed right into the beds, or purchase started plants to pop right into your beds to get a head start on your harvest. Don’t forget to add flowers to your raised beds to attract bees and pollinators to your yard.

Suggestions for what to plant in a raised bed:

  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Radishes
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Swiss Card
  • Herbs

Fresh vegetables and plants growing in a raised bed