19 Shallow Rooted Plants for Your Raised Beds

In the Garden Sue May 26, 2024
1277 People Read
Shallow rooted plants

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases 


Shallow-rooted vegetables, fruits, and herbs are a great option for container and raised bed gardening, especially if you have limited space or poor soil conditions.

We define shallow rooted vegetables as ones  with root systems of 12-18 inches in depth.

The consequences of having too shallow soil levels are many.

  • Shallow soil can cause plants to be stressed due to lack of adequate nutrients, water, and air.

  • This leads to weakened plants that are susceptible to disease and pest infestation.

  • Shallow soil can also lead to an increased risk of crop failure. 

Here's a closer look at some of the most popular shallow-rooted plants and how to grow them in containers or raised beds with soil 12-18 inches deep.

Most Popular Shallow Rooted Plants:


1. Arugula -

Arugula is a spicy salad green that grows quickly and can be harvested in just a few weeks. It prefers cooler weather and partial shade, making it a great choice for container gardening. Sow the seeds thinly and keep the soil moist. Harvest the leaves as needed when they are young and tender.


2. Basil -

Basil is a popular herb that adds flavor to many dishes. It prefers warm weather and plenty of sunlight. Plant basil seeds or seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves frequently to encourage growth.

herbs

3. Blueberries -

Blueberries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be grown in containers or raised beds. They prefer acidic soil and plenty of sunlight. Plant them in a mix of peat moss, compost, and perlite. Water regularly and fertilize with a blueberry-specific fertilizer.


blueberries

4. Broccoli and Cauliflower -

Both broccoli and cauliflower can be grown in containers or raised beds. They prefer cooler weather and well-drained soil. Plant them in a container with at least 12 inches of depth and water regularly. Harvest the heads when they are fully formed but before the buds open.


5. Cabbage -

Cabbage can be grown in containers or raised beds with at least 12 inches of depth. It prefers cooler weather and well-drained soil. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the heads when they are fully formed.


6. Celery -

Celery can be grown in containers or raised beds with at least 12 inches of depth. It prefers cooler weather and plenty of water. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the stalks when they are fully formed.


7. Chives -

Chives are a popular herb that can be grown in containers or raised beds. They prefer well-drained soil and partial shade. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed.


chives

8. Cilantro -

Cilantro is a popular herb that adds flavor to many dishes. It prefers cooler weather and partial shade. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed. 


9. Corn -

Corn can be grown in containers or raised beds with at least 18 inches of depth. It prefers plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Plant seeds in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the ears when the silk is brown and dry.


10. Garlic -

Garlic is a popular herb that can be grown in containers or raised beds. It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade. Plant cloves in the fall in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the bulbs the next summer when the tops have turned yellow and dry. 


garlic

11. Kale -

Kale is a nutritious green that can be grown in containers or raised beds. It prefers cooler weather and plenty of water. Plant seedlings in a container in the early spring with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed.


12. Lettuce -

Lettuce is a popular salad green that can be grown in containers or raised beds. It prefers cooler weather and partial shade. Plant seeds or seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed.


13. Mint -

Mint is a popular herb that can be grown in containers or raised beds. It prefers partial shade and plenty of water. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Mint can be invasive, so consider planting it in a container separate from other plants. Harvest the leaves as needed.


14. Onions -

Onions can be grown in containers or raised beds with at least 12 inches of depth. They prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Plant onion sets or seedlings early spring in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the bulbs when the tops have turned yellow and dry.


onion

15. Parsley -

Parsley is a popular herb that adds flavor to many dishes. It prefers cooler weather and partial shade. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed.


16. Fingerling potatoes -

Fingerling potatoes can be grown in containers or raised beds with at least 12 inches of depth. They prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Plant seed potatoes in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the potatoes when the leaves have died back.


17. Radishes -

Radishes are a quick-growing vegetable that can be grown in containers or raised beds. They prefer cooler weather and well-drained soil. Plant seeds thinly in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the radishes when they are young and tender.


18. Strawberries -

Strawberries are a delicious fruit that can be grown in containers or raised beds. They prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Plant strawberries in a mix of peat moss, compost, and perlite. Water regularly and fertilize with a strawberry-specific fertilizer. Harvest the berries when they are ripe.

strawberries


19. Thyme -

Thyme is a popular herb that can be grown in containers or raised beds. It prefers well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Plant seedlings in a container with well-drained soil and water regularly. Harvest the leaves as needed.

These raised garden beds and containers are suitable for optimal growth of your shallow crops

1. Greens Fence Raised Garden bed

At Amazon  https://amzn.to/3lidsD8

Greenes Fence Company

PROS

  • Great for small patios or yards

  • Don't have to bend over to garden (It’s waist high!)

  • Accessible for people in wheelchairs or limited mobility

  • Easy tool free assembly

  • Made in USA from Cedar

  • Great for an herb garden

CONS

  • Wood will deteriorate over time (15-20 years)

  • Small

  • Only plant very shallow rooted plants like herbs due to the depth on soil is 10 inches

2. Vego Garden Raised beds: Various Sizes

    At Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3JRJcZo

Vego Garden Beds

PROS

  • perfect height to promote safe ergonomics in gardening

  • Interchangeable components to create different sizes and configurations

  • 20+year life expectancy

  • High quality

  • Can get extension kits

  • Some beds come with rolling wheels

  • Does not deteriorate over time like wood garden beds

CONS:

  • DIY assembly (30 minutes)

  • Heavy to move


3. Mayne Self Watering Container

at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uKNm08

Mayne

PROS:

  • Self watering

  • Elegant design

  • Made of long lasting plastic material

  • Waters up to 2 weeks

  • Double wall design

  • Fade resistant

  • Has good drainage to avoid root rot

  • Accessible for seniors with limited mobility

  • Can be placed on a patio or ground

CONS:

  • May need light scrubbing year to year on outside

  • Small


4. Premium Cedar U-shaped Raised Garden Bed

At Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3TnIDJT 

Cedar Raised U-Shaped Garden Bed RCUSB / RCPUSB / RCOCUSB

Greenes Fence Company

PROS

  • Great for yards

  • Grows a lot of plants

  • Accessible for people in wheelchairs or limited mobility

  • Easy tool free assembly

  • Made in USA from Cedar

  • Great for therapy gardens

CONS

  • Wood will deteriorate over time (15-20 years)

  • Expense

  • Not suitable for patio or decks (open to ground on bottom)


5. King Bird 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed

At Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3GvQC2j

King Bird

PROS:

  • Three different soil depths to meet the needs of shallow or deep rooted plants

  • Large area for many plants

  • High quality and 3 year warranty

  • Made of long lasting galvanized metal

  • Can be stacked or made into 3 side by side raised beds

  • Can be laid on ground (open bottom)

CONS

  • Assembly required


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q: If my raised garden bed is on the ground, do I have to worry about the my tomatoes root depth?

A: If your raised beds are on the ground, you don’t have to worry about the proper soil depth, but if your container garden or have a raised bed on the patio or gravel, then it would be imperative to consider the soil depth to achieve success in growing vegetables in your backyard. 

Q: Which Vegetables have the shallowest roots and don't need deep soil? 

A: Broccoli, cauliflower, corn, onions, kale, lettuce, cabbage, celery, fingerling potatoes, arugula, swiss chard, spinach, shallot, radish

Read this article for more information on how much soil is needed for other vegetables.

Q: Which herbs have shallow roots?

A: garlic, chives, cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, thyme

Q: Which fruit plants have the shallowest roots?

A: strawberry, blueberry

Q: How much soil depth is needed for growing tomatoes?

A: Tomato roots can grow 24 -36 inches in depth when grown in the soil. If you are growing them in raised beds or pots that are not open to the ground, grow them in at least 24 inchesof soil. 

The only exception I have for the depth of containers is Grow Bags(from Amazon)  If you want to garden in containers, this is the way to go on your patio.

In Grow Bags, the roots have more air circulation and don’t need great depths of soil. The roots naturally air prune their roots for greater absorption of nutrients and water.

We would suggest using  grow bags(from Amazon)instead of plastic containers or buckets on your patio for vegetables like tomatoes for better harvests. 

More Tips:

When planting in containers or raised beds, be sure to use a high-quality potting mix that is well-drained and nutrient-rich. Water regularly and fertilize as needed with a fertilizer specific to the plant.

Remember to give each plant enough space to grow and thrive, and don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations of shallow-rooted plants to create a beautiful and bountiful container or raised bed garden.

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Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases