Rising tomatoes in raised beds: getting began

Tomatoes are one of the most common plants you'll find in a backyard garden. They are popular because they are relatively easy to care for, can be very productive in the right conditions, and many varieties work well in containers or a raised bed. In fact, growing tomatoes in raised beds is a great way to grow them in a small space or in an accessible garden!

Since there are so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from, have some fun building themed beds like a salsa garden or opt for tomato companion plants. One of the many joys of gardening is harvesting what you love to eat. So choose a dish and try to make all the raw materials you need to prepare it.

Growing tomatoes in raised beds is a little different than growing them in the ground. You need to change a few things in your gardening routine and make sure your bedding is deep enough. But in no time you can be growing tomatoes in your raised bed.

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Brief instructions for care

Growing tomatoes in raised beds can be very easy. Source: NoiseProfessor

Common name (s) Tomato, garden tomato
Scientific name Solanum lycopersicum
Days to harvest 50-100, depending on the variety
Bright Full sun, 8+ hours a day
water 1-2 ”a week, twice a day in the hottest parts of summer
floor Well-drained, loose sand loam with a lot of organic matter, neutral or slightly acidic
fertilizer High nitrogen fertilizer when planting; later high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer to promote fruit formation
Pests Aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, tomato hornworms, cutworms, tomato fruit worms, flea beetles, California potato beetles, root-knot nematodes
Diseases Late blight, late blight, Septoria leaf spot, bacterial blot, multiple viruses

Basics about tomatoes

Plastic raised bedEven a DIY raised bed can be effective for tomato plants. Source: ms.Tea

You know the tomato: round, red and juicy. The tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, has become one of the most commonly eaten fruits around the world. It's eaten fresh, cooked, used in sauces, and canned for later. You can find tomatoes in popular dishes around the world that are used in amazing ways to create a variety of unique flavor combinations.

The garden tomato comes in many shapes and sizes. The spherical red tomato is the easy-to-recognize classic shape, but it can take many shapes, sizes, and colors. Tomato plants can form a rainbow and produce fruits that are red, pink, burgundy, orange, yellow, gold, green, purple, black, blue, or variegated. Tomatoes can be near-perfect balls, long and lean, bite-sized, burger-sized, smooth, or lumpy. There are many types to choose from!

There are no specific varieties that are best for growing in a raised bed, but all tomato plants need special care in a raised bed. If space is an issue, grow tomatoes in raised beds that are more of a dwarf variety or intended. If it is a trellis, even a narrow space can allow an indefinite variety to climb high in the garden.

Throughout history, people have avoided the tomato because it was believed to be poisonous. This idea isn't too far-fetched; Solanum lycopersicum belongs to the nightshade family, which consists of many poisonous plants. Eating tomato leaves in large quantities can lead to digestive and nervous system problems, so stick with the fruit!

Plant tomatoes in a raised bed

Tomato supports and plantsProvide a trellis or cage to hold your tomato plant in place. Source: Beaucon

Planting tomatoes in raised beds is a slightly different experience than planting them in the ground. You may find that growing tomatoes in raised beds is easier because they are more accessible, but you need to be vigilant about the moisture in your garden bed. Let's look at some of the aspects that make growing tomato plants in raised beds a little different.

When to plant

Tomato seeds germination can be achieved in a number of ways. Start sowing indoors under a grow light a few weeks before the last frost. This gives you plenty of time to care for your seedlings in the raised bed before planting time.

Once you've grown tomatoes at least 4 inches tall and nighttime temperatures stay at or above 50 degrees, it's time to harden your plants for garden transplant. The soil in raised beds tends to warm up faster than in straw beds, so you have a longer growing season. A cold frame can ensure that young plants grow without any weather damage.

Where to plant

A high-quality raised bed guarantees that you can place your plants exactly where they should be. Tomatoes need good sun exposure and can benefit from some kind of windbreak. Plan a location where your trellis or tomato cage will work well without inadvertently shading other plants.

One of the great advantages of a raised bed is that you can grow tomatoes virtually anywhere. If you only have a concrete patio, a raised bed can be ideal. Fill up with good quality soil and grow to your heart's content! When renting, put some plastic wrap first to avoid staining the concrete with the earth.

How to Plant

At the time of planting, a primary goal should be to make sure your tomato supports are in place. This becomes crucial as your tomato plant needs that extra support!

The distance between tomatoes is also important. Tomato plants should have about 18 inches between them so that the roots have plenty of room to spread out. In a raised bed of 4 & # 39; x4 & # 39; placing a plant in each corner should provide plenty of room for four plants with plenty of room to grow.

Plant tomatoes deeply as they will create extra roots along the stem. Your raised bed should be at least 12 inches deep. The more roots that form along the stem, the easier it is for the tomato plants to absorb moisture from the soil in your raised bed.


Raised bed gardenWork companion plants around your tomatoes for good growth. Source: Jill Clardy

Tomatoes grow surprisingly well with minimal care. Most of your efforts go into preparing the garden soil or other advance planning. Let's explore the ideal conditions for growing tomatoes!

Sun and temperature

Tomatoes will thrive if they are exposed to direct sunlight for 8 hours or more every day. The ideal temperatures for tomatoes are between 70 ° F and 85 ° F. If the temperatures rise above 90 ° C, a shade towel will help them in the afternoon until it cools down.

Tomatoes grow in USDA Zones 3-10, but are sensitive to long periods below 60 ° F. For plants in the early season, a cold frame can be beneficial until the weather in your garden warms up. Wrap plastic around the outside of tomato cages to create a short-term cold frame for very young plants to protect them from unexpected frosts.

Water and moisture

Water tomatoes early in the morning so the tomato plants can dry out when their foliage gets wet, and earlier is better! Use a soaking hose or drip irrigation at root level.

Your raised bed drains faster than a soil bed because most use a well-drained soil mix. As a result, you may need to water more often. In hot weather, you definitely need to add extra moisture to keep the garden from drying out. Aim for 1-2 inches of water per week, but let the moisture in your soil guide you.

A big problem for many raised bed gardeners is cracking. This is usually caused by sudden overhydration, as the peel of the fruit cannot grow as quickly as the plant pumps moisture into it. To avoid this problem, ensure that the soil moisture is even in the garden.

Mulch around your plants to prevent weeds from developing, reduce evaporation of soil moisture, and regulate soil temperature.


Another benefit of raised beds is that you can optimize your soil. Tomato plants need rich, fertile and well-drained soil that is filled with organic matter. Start with sandy loam and mix in additional organic matter such as worm cast, compost, or forest products to retain moisture, or alternatively opt for a pre-made raised bed mix that contains what your plants need to be successful. Mixing compost into your pre-made mix can improve this as well.

Tomatoes prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5. Test your soil annually to see what nutrients it is lacking and how you can improve the soil for the next year. It is recommended to practice good crop rotation even in a raised bed garden, as all common tomato mushrooms that can live in the soil have time to dissolve.

Tomatoes will not work if the soil quality is poor. Avoid hard-packed loam or soil that does not have good organic content. Also avoid compacted soil as it can reduce root development.


Fertilize tomatoes in a raised bed initially when you plant them and later in the season when they are fruiting. Choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, such as 10-5-5, in the beginning and later switch to high in phosphorus and potassium for fruiting.

Organic long-term fertilizers in granulate form are ideal for raised beds. Tomatoes usually need fertilizer regularly during the growing season, especially if your soil isn't rich. Check the manufacturer's recommendations and adapt them to your garden and its needs.

Pruning & Training

Pruning your tomato plants is a necessity. In raised beds, your vegetables are closer together than they could be in the ground. Therefore, you need to ensure good ventilation. Without ventilation, diseases such as tuber rot can spread through your plant.

Remove the lower leaves when a tomato plant is growing. Suction cups should generally be removed to reduce the extra cut required as well. Keeping an eye out for suction cups should be regular gardening as they are quick and easy to remove.

Use plant ties to secure your garden plants to their cages or trellises. If you space these about a foot to a foot and a half apart, provide support while your plant is loaded with produce.


Raised beds in the gardenMake sure to prune your tomatoes so they get better airflow than these. Source: Rachael & Zane Ross

You are sure to find problems with your plant as it is only part of the tomato growing process. Let's look at some of the issues you should prepare for in order to protect your future harvest.

Growing problems

Both too much and too little watering can become big problems.

Too much water can cause problems with Fungal root rot or Split tomatoes. Too small will a. cause Reduction in fruit growth and make the plant less healthy and vigorous. In summer too little water can be too severe wilting.

And finally, wild fluctuations in the pouring consistency can lead to that Flower end rot, as tomatoes need soil moisture in order to be able to absorb the nutrients from their soil.

Water your vegetables evenly and regularly, but only enough to ensure healthy growth. Provide good drainage so that excess water can drain away. In addition to good drainage, a layer of mulch can reduce evaporation of soil moisture.

Temperatures above 90 ° F can be too Tomatoes drop their flowers. They will produce less overall. Providing a shade cloth can help prevent the loss of yellow flowers in summer and contribute to healthy plant growth. Look for something that provides at least 40% shade to best protect your tomato flowers.


Aphids, Spider mites, and Whiteflies suck the sap from plants. Both of these irritating pests can be treated with neem oil or insecticidal soap. If the infestation is severe, pyrethrin can be used to reduce their numbers. This treatment keeps them away from other vegetables too!

Tomato hornworms are by far the most harmful pest for tomatoes. Other larvae such as Cutworms and Tomato fruit worms can also wreak havoc in your garden paradise. These can all be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis, also called BT. You can browse your plants with black light at night because hornworms glow in UV light. Once you find them, handpick what you can and the BT will take care of the rest.

Flea beetle and the Colorado potato beetle Both feed on tomato leaves and can make lots of holes in them, reducing the tomato's ability to photosynthesize. These also attack other types of vegetables. Some horticultural oils and neem oil can reduce your tendency to eat. Dusting the leaves with kieselguhr also helps. Pyrethrin should be used if the infestation is severe.

After all, the final pest we cover cannot be easily found through a visual search. Root node nematodes live in the soil and chew on the roots. Yellow foliage could be a sign of their presence, but the tell-tale sign is only visible in the root system, where large nodules form as the plant tries to heal itself. Useful nematodes feed on them in their underground location and prevent the root-knot nematodes from causing damage.


Early rot (Alternaria solani) is a fungal disease that causes leaf yellowing, bullseye spots, stem lesions, and can damage fruits. Crop rotation, resistant varieties and good plant care prevent this disease. If it does occur, an OMRI-rated copper fungicide can be used for treatment.

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is caused by water mold. Most common in cool (70's or below) and humid conditions with no space between plants, this rot begins with dark, water-soaked spots on the leaves. Spots grow in size quickly, and whitish mold may appear on their edges. Good garden maintenance can prevent late blight from spreading, and copper-based fungicides can be used to treat it.

Septoria leaf spot (Septoria lycopersici) is a fungus that causes yellowish leaves with small brown spots. It often starts low on the plant due to spores splashing out of the soil and is most common in conditions favorable to late blight. A Xanthomonas spp. caused bacterial stain. Bacteria can thrive in similar environments too. Copper fungicides adequately treat these problems, but again, good maintenance will prevent them.

A variety of viruses can be transmitted by pests, including but not limited to Mosaic viruses, Tomato stain wilt, and tomato leaf curl. There are no treatments for these viruses. Remove infested plants from this location and destroy (do not compost). Plant tomatoes that are disease-resistant varieties.

frequently asked Questions

Unripe tomatoYour efforts will be rewarded with delicious products. Source: Sirelroka

Q: How deep should a tomato raised bed be?

A: 12 inches or lower is ideal. This gives you plenty of room for deep plantings to encourage better root development.

Q: How many tomato plants can I grow in a 4 × 4 raised bed?

A: You can put four tomatoes in a raised bed of 4 & # 39; x4 & # 39; with one plant in each corner. Tomatoes should have about 18 inches between them.

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