A nursery bed is a small area of a yard or garden that’s used simply for growing certain selected plants without regard to design.
The goal of the nursery bed is to grow young plants to a certain size, such as the size at which they can be easily transplanted, a size at which they’ll make an impression in the larger garden, or the size/age at which they will flower.
A nursery bed can also be used to evaluate plants to see if they’re worthy of planting in the larger garden, to observe their growth habit and color, or to watch them for pests or disease without putting other garden plants at risk.
Plants in a nursery bed may be seedlings, divisions or cuttings taken from a larger plant, or simply purchases that don’t yet have a place in the garden.
Nurseries can work for ornamental plants or edible plants. A nursery bed is especially helpful for vegetable gardeners practicing succession planting, in which a steady supply of fresh produce is maintained by staggering the planting of seeds. While one batch is maturing in the main garden, seeds may be sown in the nursery bed, producing plants ready for transplant at the time that the first crop is exhausted.
Making a nursery bed is no different than preparing any garden bed, except that you don’t need to worry about carving out a pleasing shape or arranging the plants in an artistic way. Nursery beds are typically tucked away where they won’t interfere with views of the main garden.
Grow a big, beautiful garden for little money with the tips and advice in Plantiful, which describes how to take advantage of easy-to-propagate garden plants.
Find out how to improve the overall look of your garden in every season with the advice of Horticulture columnist Rebecca Sweet in Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form.