How do you prepare a raised bed for planting seedlings? What steps are needed? Learn how easy raised bed preparation is with just a few steps and tools.

raised bed preparation

When you are ready to transplant seedlings into a raised bed, there are a few steps needed to prepare the bed properly to improve the chance of your plants doing well.

Clean Out the Bed

If you’re planting a second crop after a first one is done, remove the spent plants.

If you’re planting in spring and had a cover crop planted, cut down the cover crop early enough to allow the crop to decompose.

If you have a lot of weeds, clean them up as best as you can.

Be sure to dispose of the waste plant material properly. I’ve covered some ways to be more sustainable in this article: How To Be A More Sustainable Gardener: Dealing with Garden Waste

In this case I left a young broccoli plant in place

Add Fertilizer

You can add a slow-release organic fertilizer if you think your soil needs it.

Follow the application rate on the package of fertilizer to make sure you don’t over-fertilize. At least with slow-release fertilizer you won’t burn the plants if you do add too much.

My recommendation:

Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag

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Add Compost

Now add a layer of compost. It can be your own or bagged compost.

Ideally you want at least 2 inches (5cm) but a bit more can’t hurt.

Essentially you’re following the no-dig/no-till process of building the soil gradually over time with more and more inputs of compost.

Transplanting Plants

Now we can plant the seedlings. For this, spacing is important so be sure to use one of the methods for plant spacing that I mention in this article: 7 Tips to Space Out Your Plants Properly and Avoid Overcrowding


And that’s it! Water the transplants in well if the soil is dry to the touch and remember to keep them watered over the course of a week or so until they have a chance to establish themselves in their new environment.

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If you enjoyed this article, have something to add or have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Wishing you all the best!

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Marc Thoma

Tranquil Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC

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Marc Thoma

Marc is the founder of Healthy Fresh Homegrown, a published author and owns Tranquil Urban Homestead, an urban homestead on 1/8 acre in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada. He has more than 15 years gardening experience and is working steadily on improving his own urban homestead, working toward being more self-sufficient by growing most of his own vegetables and fruit for his family.

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