Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding sets of plants that one can ever find in their garden. This is especially true if they are grown in the season that is similar to their habitat. With the ease that they present while growing, it is only human to experiment different kinds of growing methods with them, to help us know how we can reap the benefits of growing tomatoes in a multitude of ways.
One such experimental way that many people take in include growing tomatoes in raised beds. However, one question that always perpetuates the minds of the gardeners is that how deep a raised bed should be to grow tomatoes.
This is important from a number of perspectives. The very first being, having a general understanding of the depth of the raised beds for tomatoes, and others circling themselves around the fact that tomatoes benefit the most from this setting.
The answer to this question cannot be objectively defined and depends on a number of factors. However, as a general rule it is said that traditionally, the raised beds for tomatoes should be 12 inches deep for an optimal plant growth.
In the following article, we cover in detail about this aspect of growing tomatoes while also discussing some of the important points to keep in mind while growing them. If you want to know more about how to grow tomatoes in raised beds, keep reading.
How Deep Should a Raised Bed Be for Tomatoes?
It can be difficult and highly exhausting to try and get your native soil conditions just right every time. Therefore, the concept of growing tomatoes in raised beds allows you to explore easier and more efficient options for growing tomato plants, thus accelerating the pace of their growth.
But, once you have decided that you need to grow tomato plants in raised beds, something that immediately comes to our mind is how deep should a raised garden bed be for tomatoes. This authentic question deserves a well-researched and empirical answer, else the results can be truly devastating.
To get just the right conditions for growing your tomato plants in raised beds, here are a few most important and significant considerations that you can keep in mind and follow next time you decide to build a raised bed for your tomatoes or other plants for that matter:
Also Read: Should I Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants
Preparing the Site
When you decide to prepare a raised bed for growing your tomato plant, there is something that you need to take care of. And this is most important, because it lays the foundation for the rest of your process. That is, finding a perfect site for the laying of your raised bed and soil.
To prepare a site for your raised bed, it is necessary to find a space that is evenly leveled up and is free from all kinds of hard rocks and debris. If possible, try and manually remove the debris to make the space as even as is humanly possible.
Make sure that the spot you choose has easy and routine availability of both sunlight and water whenever you require it. A rough idea is to have at least 7 hours of direct sun exposure to your plant, so that should be considered while finding a spot.
Once you have found the perfect site, it is now time to prepare it for further usage. This can be done by following these tips as listed below:
Loosen and turn the soil repeatedly by making use of equipment like a tiller and by means of removing visible sods. If you feel that a tiller cannot be of much help in breaking up a hard soil bed, you can also put in use a spading fork or spading knife to work efficiently.
It is important to properly loosen the soil because doing this will make enough room for the deep roots of your plant to penetrate further in the soil and furthering the plant growth.
Decide the length and breadth of your raised bed and use simple materials like flour from your kitchen to create a rough outline at the periphery of your site.
A general idea is to keep the soil bed at least twelve inches deep. But, to arrive at a perfect estimate, you can multiply the length, width, and depth of the raised bed and see what are the final estimates.
The final step for preparing an ideal site of raised beds for your tomato plants would be to properly edge materials like stones or umber.
By edging your raised beds with heavy edging materials, you make sure that any drastic environmental conditions do not necessarily have the power to move the raised bed out of its place.
In addition to this, these high volume materials do not require much resources to find and are relatively inexpensive. This DIY is the most effective and widely adopted measure to prepare a site for your raised beds to grow high quality tomato plants.
Check this out: Is Chicken Manure Good for Tomato Plants?
How deep can your raised garden bed go?
The ultimate question comes back to how deep can we keep our raised garden beds, especially if we are considering growing plants like tomatoes. The answer varies on a lot of factors and is unique for every gardener.
Traditionally, the width of a general raised bed would be about three to four feet with the length going as long as eleven inches.
With this range in mind, it is safe to say that you can keep the depth of your raised garden bed at least 12 inches deep. But, under what conditions should we consider other alternatives and why is it important that we try to deviate from the standard norm of being twelve inches deep? Let us look at the possibilities.
Tomatoes are one of those vegetable plants that can just not do anything in a shallow sense. They strive only in deeply penetrated soil conditions and that is why it can sometimes be a good idea to keep the depth of your raised soil garden bed as deep as 36 inches, which is 3 times the recommended value.
Keeping the depth as high as 36 inches would not harm the growth of your tomatoes but would definitely leave out additional space for the nourishment of the deeply grown roots.
Consider lowering the values if the length of your raised garden bed is too small or too stunted or it may create additional pressure on the plant to grow more than the expected amount.
Keeping the depth as high as possible is also helpful in conditions like a raised garden bed because they usually require less space, directly resulting in little gaps between the growth of any two plants.
Therefore, to keep the plants for interrupting in each other’s way, it is important to pave the way for the growth of their individual root system development.
Also Read: Why My Tomato Branches Curling Down?
One of most prominent reasons for why so many people are shifting to the adoption of methods like raised beds for growing their vegetables is that it accumulates so less space and allows for the timely and proper growth of your tomato plants without compromising on the quality.
While this is true for all the raised garden beds, you never would want to miss on certain additional tips to make it a sustainable and more effective gardening method:
Do not keep your soil away from the raised garden bed. Soil is one of the most underrated ingredients when it comes to creating a perfect environment for your garden bed. With this, it is important that you invest yourself in the right kind of soil.
Always choose something that gives out the properties of being well-drained and water absorbent. If you cannot find a soil type with these properties, try adding some mulch or organic materials and you will see the difference in the shortest amount of time.
For growing plants like tomatoes, that need the support of something durable when they are growing, make sure to make provisions for materials like stakes or wires or cages.
The installation of such elements in your raised garden bed will provide ample support to your tomato plants and will support their growth throughout, without you having to check on the drooping plants time and again.
Check this article: Why Are My Tomato Flowers Falling Off?
Importance of the depth of your raised bed
Although we have covered most of the part concerning the importance of the matter of depth in your raised garden bed, here is a more elaborate view that will convince you to pay attention to this aspect the next time you decide to adopt to this method:
In the modern day and age, we do not have the time to manually pick and clear out debris and other hard material from the soil that we are exposing our plants to.
While there are readymade soil sachets available, many people find it to be too expensive and prefer opting for the naturally present soil. Now, if you plant your tomatoes in such harsh soil conditions, you cannot expect them to show complete growth.
However, making enough allowance for the depth of your root growth will lay down a safe environment and certain parameters that will give your plants a comparatively nourishing environment to grow.
Benefits of growing tomato plants in raised beds
Some people might ask, why grow tomatoes in raised garden beds at all? What is the problem with the traditional gardening scheme and what can we actually gain from changing our gardening methods?
Well, if you aren’t already convinced, here are some points that will give you a very definite idea of why you should consider the method of raised garden beds for your tomato plants:
- One, having a higher raised garden bed saves you from the double of bending or kneeling down to provide your plant all the necessary resources. So, it is a win-win situation for both you and your plants.
- The depth provided by raised garden beds exceeds all other possibilities of providing the plant roots with enough space to grow.
- If you are clever in selecting the right kind of raised garden beds for your tomato plants, you can also enhance the scenic beauty in your garden, while employing minimal resources and accounting for less space than the traditional practice of gardening in open ground.
As mentioned earlier, tomatoes are a rewarding set of plants and demand little care. However, they are very precise about the amount of nourishment that is provided and that is where the question of knowing everything about tomatoes comes into picture.
Next time you think of growing tomatoes in a raised bed, do not forget to refer to the tips that we have mentioned above, along with some of the care measures that should be necessitated in the growing environment of the tomato.
To get solutions for more such queries, read through more of our articles and apply them to your regular house gardening practices. Happy Gardening!