How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Garden Bed

How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Garden Bed

Mar 21st 2024

Tomatoes are popular, delicious crops to grow in your backyard. They can be highly productive under the right conditions and are easy to care for. Many varieties of tomatoes grow well in raised beds. Tomatoes thrive in well-draining soil with a pH of about 6.5.

Growing tomatoes in a raised bed allows you to create ideal growing conditions for your plants instead of amending native soil. Raised garden beds make gardening simpler and more fun. Thus, growing in raised beds is an excellent way to grow tomato plants in a small space. Here is the complete guide on successfully growing healthy tomatoes in a raised bed and enjoying delicious home-grown tomatoes.

Grow Tomatoes in Raised Garden Beds

Growingtomatoes in raised garden beds is a little different experience than planting them in the ground. Planting tomatoes in raised beds is easier because they are more accessible. Also, the soil in raised garden beds warms up faster, which gives tomatoes a great head start. Tomatoes take 8 to 17 weeks from sowing to harvest. Carrots, asparagus, basil, marigold, parsley, and celery are good companion tomato plants.

How to Prepare a Raised Bed Site?

Choose a site for a raised bed where there are no weeds and no shrubs, large plants, and trees to compete with it. Cultivate the ground at least 1 foot below the soil surface to ensure proper drainage. Remove dirt and debris from the ground and use a tiller to loosen the soil. If the ground is hard, you can use a transplanter to turn the soil. When choosing the material for the beds, there are multiple options. Wood, metal, brick, concrete, or stone are exciting options. However, wood-sided raised beds and metal raised beds are a great choice.

How to Choose the Right Size of the Bed?

A raised bed must be at least 12" tall to give plants' roots enough room to grow and allow for adequate drainage. Gardeners who are elderly or disabled prefer raised garden beds that are waist-high, so they do not have to bend down.

Ideally, the bed should be no wider than four feet. Arrange your raised bed so you can access the center from both sides. The 4' width allows you to reach the plot's center from either side to plant, weed, and harvest plants.

Where to Install a Raised Garden Bed?

Tomatoes love heat and warmth. They are sun-loving plants, so they prefer full sun and grow best in a south-facing part of the yard. Choose a garden site for your raised garden bed that receives at least 8 hours of sunlight daily and is close to a water source. Placing your tomatoes in full sun will give you the best results. Also, the site where you install the raised bed should be level and debris-free.

Choose a location where your trellis or tomato cages won't affect other plants' growing conditions or sun requirements.

One of the huge perks of growing tomatoes in a raised bed is that you can plant them almost anywhere—in your garden, patio, or deck. Fill the raised garden bed with high-quality soil to grow your favorite tomato variety. Use wire mesh to keep rodents out of your garden bed or place a plastic sheet under it if you are placing the garden bed on a deck or balcony.

Related Post:How to Fill and Plant in a Raised Garden Bed

Soil and Fertilization Needs in Raised Bed

Healthy soil is essential to a successful raised bed. Tomatoes grow well in well-draining, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Add light raised bed soil to the estimated depth of your raised bed. Mix two to three-inch layers of compost, worm castings, or cow manure into the topsoil and rake it.

Remember, tomatoes do not grow well in poor soil. So, avoid heavy or hard-packed soil that lacks organic contact. Also, avoid using compacted soil as it may reduce root development.

Tomatoes thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0-6.8. Test your soil every growing season to determine what nutrients it lacks. Additionally, crop rotation is recommended in raised gardens so that any tomato fungi living in the soil have time to disappear.


Slow-release and organic fertilizers are ideal for raised beds. Fertilize tomatoes when you plant them and later in the growing season every four weeks to encourage the plants to produce more flowers, which will become fruit.

When planting tomatoes, you can add a lot of fertilizers to the soil. You can start with a high nitrogen fertilizer with a 10-5-5 ratio and switch to a high phosphorus and potassium ratio. Furthermore, you can use coffee grinds, eggshells, and baking soda to help your tomatoes grow stronger and healthier.

When to Plant Tomatoes

You can start tomato seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost date. This will give you enough time to nurture your seedlings before planting them in a raised bed. Once the fear of the last frost has passed, tomatoes reach at least 4 inches in height, and nighttime temperatures remain at or above 50° F (10° C), it's time to plant tomatoes outside. Tomatoes thrive in warmer soil, and raised garden beds warm up sooner than in-ground beds, giving you a long growing season.

Make sure to harden your plants before transplanting. A cold frame will make plants more resilient to face the outside world.

How to Plant Tomatoes in Raised Bed

It would help if you built your tomato supports at the time of planting. This will become crucial because your tomatoes will need extra support. You can use wooden stakes, trellises, wire supports, twist ties, and cages to support tomatoes.

Plant tomatoes deeply because they can form roots along the stems. Therefore, choose a bed at least 12 inches deep and dig a deep planting hole. The more roots will form along the length of the stem; the easier it will be for tomatoes to absorb moisture from the soil.


Tomato spacing is crucial. Plant tomatoes at 18- to 24-inch spacing so the roots have enough room to spread out. Rows of tomato plants should be spaced at least 3 feet apart. In a 4'x4' raised bed, you can plant one plant in each corner, providing plenty of space for your plants to grow.


Water tomato plants during planting and keep young plants moist to avoid blossom-end rot, which can develop if the soil dries out. Keep the raised bed soil moist but not soggy. Tomatoes don't like waterlogging, but young tomato plants do not need the stress of drying out. Water more deeply and thoroughly once a week.

Never water a plant from above using a garden hose or spray. Always water at the plant's base. A drip irrigation system is recommended for irrigation of raised bed crops. It is the most efficient method of delivering water directly to the plant's roots, ensuring slow and deep watering. Dripworks offers garden bed kits to meet the water requirements of your plants. 

Many raised bed gardeners face an issue when growing tomatoes: cracking or splitting. To prevent tomato splitting, it is crucial to maintain consistent soil moisture.

Related Post:Why Tomatoes Split and How to Prevent It


Apply a 2-3" mulch layer around the base of your plants to stop weed growth, hold soil moisture, and regulate soil temperature.

Which Varieties of Tomatoes Grow Best in a Raised Garden Bed?

You can grow almost any type of tomato in a raised bed. However, small-growing, determinate, and bush tomato varieties are great for raised beds. Bush tomatoes are smaller in size than vining tomatoes, and determinate tomatoes produce fruit in a short time. 

Planting indeterminate or vine tomatoes in raised beds requires strong support and can make harvesting difficult. If you choose to grow these tomatoes, give them support in the center or side of your bed. You should build a trellis or other support system into the sides of the raised bed at the start to make it strong enough to hold vigorous tomato vines. You can tie tomato branches with a trellis using twist ties so the plant grows vertically instead of sprawling across your bed. 

Moreover, you can grow tumbling tomato varieties on the edges of your raised beds. Allow their branches to cascade down the sides of the bed. They will look aesthetically beautiful and make your raised garden beds more attractive.

Here is a list of tomato varieties that grow best in raised beds.

Bush Tomatoes

  • Bush Goliath
  • Raspberry Rose
  • Patio F
  • Silver Fir
  • Ida Gold
  • Fred's Tie Dye
  • Big Boy Bush

Tip: Support bush tomatoes with tomato cages.

Determinate Tomatoes

  • Roma
  • Rutgers
  • Celebrity Tomato
  • Husky Cherry Red Tomato

Wrapping Up

Raised beds are ideal for growing healthy and best-tasting tomatoes in your garden. Nothing is more exciting than trying a freshly picked tomato from your yard. You can enjoy them in salads and sauces or eat them in the garden. Following this guide, you can successfully plant, grow, and harvest this colorful, delicious crop this growing season. 

Are you looking for high-quality and affordable raised beds for planting tomatoes? DripWorks carries a comprehensive collection of metal raised beds ideal for growing healthy tomatoes. Explore our raised beds collection and choose the one that suits your gardening needs.

Meta-description: Learn how to successfully grow healthy tomatoes in raised garden beds. Plant them in raised beds this growing season and enjoy delicious home-grown tomatoes!