How to Create a Nursery Bed in Your Garden

| Prepare, Video

I start far more seeds indoors than I can hope to fit in my garden, but that’s on purpose. I like to have some backups to replace plants that fail to thrive or have reached the end of their lifespan. But those seedlings can’t stay in 50-cell trays indefinitely — the roots will have nowhere to go. So I take those extra seedlings and I transplant them outdoors into a nursery bed. In this video, I share the benefits of creating a nursery bed.



A nursery bed provides instant access to your own private nursery, saving you both time and money. Of my 16 raised beds on the GardenFarm™, I’ve set aside one to be my nursery bed. I pack the extra seedlings into the bed densely so I can fit in as many as possible. They won’t have adequate room to grow to maturity in the nursery bed, but they will have the space they need to expand their root systems.


Densely planted greens in a nursery bed

In a nursery bed, transplants can be densely packed because this is not their final destination. When they are transplanted to their final destination, they will have adequate room for their roots and foliage to really spread out.


When space becomes available in another garden bed, I fill the vacancies with some plants from the nursery bed. For example, when frost kills my pepper plants in fall or I finish harvesting my sweet potatoes, cool-season crops from my nursery bed take their place.  

My nursery bed is also great for filling any gaps I find in my garden beds. I don’t like to leave any blank spaces when there is an opportunity to add more plants. When I noticed that my Brussels sprouts bed had room between the plants, I decided to interplant with lettuce from the nursery bed. (Of course, I had to take care not to disturb the roots of the Brussels sprouts when popping in the lettuce.)

Once you have a nursery bed, you’ll love the convenience and the opportunities it offers.


spaces plants

Having young plants at the ready in a nursery bed means that whenever space becomes available in your garden, you have something to fill it with.


Do you have a nursery for young plants? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 014: Top Tips for Saving Money in the Garden

Episode 037: Starting Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 1

Episode 038: How to Start Seeds Indoors: The Non-Negotiables for Success, Pt. 2

Episode 045: Succession Planting: Practical Tips For Growing More Food

Episode 094: How to Start and Care for Seedlings Indoors: My Steps for Success

Episode 170: Succession Planting Tips, with Meg Cowden

Episode 220: Fall Succession Planning and Planting Tips, with Meg Cowden

Episode 250: Mastering the Art of Succession Planting, with Meg Cowden

Episode 275: Cool-Season Vegetables to Grow in Fall 

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Peppers?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Brussels Sprouts?

joegardener blog: How Do I Grow Lettuce?

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Harvest, Cure, and Store Sweet Potatoes

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Organic Vegetable Gardening: My new premium online course membership opens in 2023. Sign up for the waitlist here.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Learn how to grow epic tomatoes with Joe Lamp’l and Craig LeHoullier. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Pests, Diseases & Weeds: Learn the proactive steps to take to manage pests, diseases and weeds for a more successful garden with a lot less frustration. Just $47 for lifetime access!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Perfect Soil Recipe Master Class: Learn how to create the perfect soil environment for thriving plants.

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Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, AeroGarden, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, PittMoss, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally, National Wildlife Federation and TerraThrive. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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