Raised bed garden: what can we grow?

raised bed garden

Dear GrowJoy,

We want to start a small garden this year and use organic seeds. We are going to use a raised bed garden 4ft x 8ft and use garden soil to put in it. We will be using landscape timber untreated, of course.

My question to you is will the seeds grow in something like that or not, and what do you think we can and can’t plant? We live in a subdivision so we are limited to what we can and can’t do but want to go the organic route really bad.

Also, are the organic seeds safe? I am sorry to ask you these questions but we are new at this and wanted to know before we wasted our money.

Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you soon. Bob & Penny B.


Bobby, thanks so much for your questions.

I will try and answer them for you. First off all your seeds will love the raised bed that you are building; the soil retains heat better. Organic seeds are the safest seed you can plant as there are no chemicals used in the growing or harvesting of them.

You can grow anything you like in this raised bed; just keep in mind the space each plant uses. Plants that grow vertically will allow you to put more varieties in the small space. Tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and plants that grow up trellises like pole beans, cucumbers, and peas would also be great to consider.

We think the book Carrots Love Tomatoes would be a big help to you. It describes which plants grow together harmoniously.

Please email me if you have any further questions.

Sincerely, GrowJoy


Thanks for getting back to me about the seeds. Can I ask one other thing: is it okay to use treated lumber if I can’t find anything that is not untreated around where I live?

Thanks again,



NO! Do not use it! I can not stress that enough. You do not want those chemicals saturating the soil near your edible plants! You do not have to have lumber at all. Simply mound up the area where you want the garden. Then put straw or some other organic mulch around the edges where you will be walking. Or, consider edging your bed with bricks, flat rocks, or other natural materials.



We live in a subdivision that has regulations as far gardens go. I was going to make a bed out of lumber.

Do you think it would be safe to go to a local mill and get them to cut the wood? We just can’t plow the ground up where we live so my hands are sort of tied on that.

Give me your input if you don’t mind and let me know what you think. Sorry to bother you about all this but being a first timer, I want to do it right and I remember as a boy growing up that my dad planted gardens at my grandparents’ farm, so I know a little about some things but not a lot.

Thanks again.



Tell the lumber yard what you are hoping to install, and they should be able to hook you right up. They should know the best wood to recommend.

Let me know how it goes!


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