Cold Crop Raised Bed Garden Box Project

Succession planting in the Pacific Northwest can yield prolific harvests if a little planning is applied. Crop rotation, second sowings, and two harvests of what might commonly be considered a single-harvest crop can be achieved. Many people wonder what to do when the spring season starts to get warmer and their lettuces start to “bolt” upward and go to seed. In my own garden, I found a clever way of utilizing the microclimate around my home to extend my growing season for cold crops that would otherwise be done by mid-May.

Watering can graphic by Eugene Garden Design

For this particular raised bed planter box, I took special advantage of a unique pocket of micro-climate created behind the foundation of my house. On the north side of my house, the thick cement foundation stays cold year-round. It is also nearly constantly shaded, creating a cold area that can be felt standing up to eight feet away from the outside wall of the house. By placing a raised bed right up against the foundation of the house in this location, I am taking advantage of this cool spot for very deliberate gardening purposes. 

While my other raised beds are currently being harvested for cold crops like lettuce, here we are in early May, and I’ve just put in a second sowing of cold crops in this new cold box including lettuces, broccoli, brussels and a few gifts from friends that can grow to harvest a second round of cold crops later in the year thanks to the addition of this new, particularly located raised bed.

Cold Crop Raised Garden Bed by Eugene Garden Design
  • The raised bed planter box sits flush against the tall cement foundation of my old farmhouse. In full shade, the cool from the North-facing foundation can be felt by anyone standing nearby. *If you don’t have this sort of feature on your own property, cold crops will be harder to grow in summer. Contact Eugene Garden Design to talk about possible solutions like trellises to create deep shade from summer sun, and other good solutions.
Cold Crops Raised Bed Garden Planter by Eugene Garden Design
  • A picture just before I added fresh weed-free gardening soil to this new raised bed. For a larger project I would usually call in a delivery of several yards of mixed topsoil and compost selected to suit the plants that I intend to grow in that particular garden bed, but this small box didn’t need that much to fill it so I went the easier, but more expensive route.
Smoothing soil in a new raised bed planter box by Eugene Garden Design
  • Above, my son smooths the fresh loose soil we’ve just added to the new planter box.
Cold crops ready to plant in a raised bed garden planter by Eugene Garden Design
  • I set out my vegetable starts and consider their adult harvest size when planting in a new box like this. I also consider how I will reach things when tending and harvesting out of the box. Vegetable plants need to have enough room and spacing to grow without crowding one another. This can be achieved by spacing them generously when planted as new starts, or gradually spacing them out as they grow. 
Freshly planted cold crops in a new raised bed garden planter by Eugene Garden Design
  • Freshly planted, the new vegetables look tiny! Give them time, and this planter will yield a wonderful harvest of cold crops far later in the season than some might think possible because of the utilization of the pocket of micro-climate behind the North-facing foundation of the house.tree icon image by Eugene Garden Design

Do you need an assessment of the unique micro-climates that exist around your property in order to better utilize these aspects of your garden? LEARN MORE

Need help creating crop rotations and succession planting in your own garden? Get in touch with Eugene Garden Design!

Blurry Garden Leaves by Eugene Garden Design