Healthy Recipes Using a Raised Bed Garden

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I can never remember a time in my childhood that we didn’t have a garden. It was hard work, but reminiscing, those are some of my fondest memories. I was assigned the task of chopping the weeds and placing dirt around each plant. Oh how I dreaded the day when it was time to pick those green beans! We would sit and break the green beans under the big shade tree at my grandparents’ house. I made so many memories with my family, even breaking beans was fun!

This Spring my husband and I decided to build our own raised beds. There are a lot of different ways to build a raised bed. We chose to build one with a frame out of wood that was very inexpensive. If you planning on building your own beds, make sure to build them somewhere that receives a lot of sunlight (at least 5-6 hours daily). Fill your beds with a mix of good quality top soil and compost, and make sure you give your plants plenty of water. Watering during the early evening is best, but make sure you regularly check them on hot summer afternoons.

Amanda Royall with her raised bed garden

Amanda Royall, 4-H EFNEP Program Assistant, poses with the raised bed garden that she and her husband built.

Gardening can have a positive impact on our eating habits, physical activity level, and overall well-being. Whether you are a beginner or expert gardener, health and safety are always important. There is nothing more enjoyable than having the opportunity to taste all of the vegetables you have harvested from your own garden. Here are some great recipes that you can make with the fresh vegetables from your own garden!

Fresh-Made SalsaSalsa and chips


  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, or juice from half of a lime
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  1. Rinse and cut onion, pepper, cilantro, and lime.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add some reserved tomato liquid to thin salsa, if desired.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours to allow flavors to blend.


Oven FriesSweet potato fries


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 medium baking potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Seasoning options: ground black pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Wash potatoes thoroughly and dry with a paper towel.
  4. Cut potatoes into long strips about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Put oil into a plastic bag. Add potatoes and toss to evenly coat with oil. You mad add seasoning to the bag as well.
  6. Spread strips in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven.
  7. Bake at 475 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, remove baking sheet from the oven and turn potato strips over.
  9. Immediately return baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.