Author Topic: Raised Bed Gardens  (Read 22552 times)

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Richard Myers

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Raised Bed Gardens
« on: June 05, 2008, 11:14:16 AM »
The blessings that can come from raised bed gardens appear to be significant. Therefore, we will begin a topic to discuss them.

Before building one, I wanted to better understand how to do so and some of the principles involved. Here is a little of what I have read.

When confining a garden within sidewalls, we no longer work our walking paths. Less tilling. Less watering, and less weeding!!

Also, we are in need of less soil and therefore, we can spend some of our resources on creating a better growing medium. Using things such as vermiculite, compost, and peat moss. Not spreading them over a large area and going down deep, keeps the soil in the area where the plants are growing.

The depth of soil for many plants does not have to be deep if the soil is rich in nutrients.  In other words, we create a super soil since we have less area to work with.  Never ever walking on the soil will go a long ways to keeping it healthy.  Never again do we have to turn over the hard soil with a tiller.

I have not gotten to the issue of which plants need deeper soil. That is yet to be learned!!

A side thought....what is the difference between raised beds and growing in pots?  Very little, but some very important differences. What is the most striking difference?
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Mimi

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 11:29:01 AM »
The roots can spread better in a raised bed vs. a pot.

I like what you have found. It will help when I can get to constructing my own.

What about elongated horse troughs? Many people use them here for flower gardens. They are not that expensive and they won't rot. WDYT? The ones I have seen are about 6 feet long and about 3 feet high. 
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Wally

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2008, 01:08:25 PM »

A side thought....what is the difference between raised beds and growing in pots?  Very little, but some very important differences. What is the most striking difference?

The nice thing about pots is that you can move them wherever you want.  And, when you grow a few tomatoes in pots you can bring them in in the fall and enjoy tomatoes just a bit longer.  We need a smiley face that smacks its lips. ;)

I think you need to keep a closer eye on the watering situation with pots.  Less soil means quicker dehydration.
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Ed Sutton

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2008, 01:26:32 PM »
What about one of those horse troughs but without a bottom set over a double dug ammended plant bed or, a directly on top of a deeply mulch covered plant bed then filled with what ever you want to grow the plants in ?

Even an open double row of interlocking paving blocks instead of a horse trough.
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Larry Lyons

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2008, 08:04:51 PM »
I built some boxes this year with some scrap cedar that someone gave me last year. They are only a little over 7 inches deep. I built 3 4X4, 2 3X3 and 3 2X2 foot boxes and filled them with various planting soils compost and vermiculite. So far the plants are looking good.
Coincidentally, one of my neighbors used a steel culvert, the kind that they put under roads as storm drains. He cut it up in pieces about 18 or so inches deep and is planting in them.
Of course that is not something that one can do at home with a hacksaw even if they had a old steel culvert. :)

It sounds like raised beds are getting popular.

Wally

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 05:10:06 AM »

It sounds like raised beds are getting popular.

In this part of the country it is done for two major reasons:  to get a jump on spring (raised beds thaw and dry sooner than the surrounding soil--especially if one has clay soil like me); and for easier soil maintenance and weed control.  Now, if I could just find the time and space to build one . . . .
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 08:29:36 AM »

A side thought....what is the difference between raised beds and growing in pots?  Very little, but some very important differences. What is the most striking difference?

The nice thing about pots is that you can move them wherever you want.  And, when you grow a few tomatoes in pots you can bring them in in the fall and enjoy tomatoes just a bit longer.  We need a smiley face that smacks its lips. ;)

I think you need to keep a closer eye on the watering situation with pots.  Less soil means quicker dehydration.

That's it.  Pots are small and need water daily, maybe twice a day at times. But, raised beds have more soil, so do not need watering as often.  The smaller the bed, the more frequent watering.  In moderate climates, the raised beds can be covered easily for extended protection.
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Esther 7

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 09:20:32 AM »
Make sure you put medium sized gravel in the bottom of your pots to facilitate drainage. Also, to keep from having to water so often, make your own self watering system by recycling a 2-liter soda bottle. http://www.instructables.com/id/Self-Watering-Plant-Container-out-of-a-2-liter-bot/

Mimi

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 09:28:29 AM »
That is great, Esther - thanks. Have never tried watering this way.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 07:15:47 AM »
We dedicated our first raised bed to strawberries and we are now eating them!  :) I really enjoy the bed. The weeding is easy!  The plants are doing well. We are moving forward with putting in quite a few more.

My questions concern the depth for various plant. Anyone have any experience? Which plants require greater depth than a raised bed affords?  I am not willing to build a raised bed that is more than a foot deep right now. The amount of soil would be huge and I am not using any garden soil presently.
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Immanuel

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 09:57:10 AM »
I did all raised beds last year. 6" depth. Grew great tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, etc. No problems that I noticed, I got a lot of tomatoes though not all of them ripened, but that was due to a cool summer as many people in my area had the same problem.

You do need to have a very good soil with lots of compost material so the plants get good nutrients. My mix was 1/3 peat moss 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost (used my own and several different purchased bags to get a good mix). I bought in bulk and it cost $40 to fill 40 square feet. This year I only need to put in some more compost to fill in where I pulled out the plants from last year.

This is based on the Square Foot Gardening method. My mom, who lives in Calif., has used this method for years with good results. Little weeding, no tilling, and general plant maintenance is much easier. You can get more plants in a smaller area with this method without a reduction in plant quality.

Richard Myers

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 12:04:09 PM »
Thanks Immanuel. Are there any plants that will not do well in 6"?

How about artichokes?
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Richard Myers

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2010, 12:06:20 PM »
Another positive for raised beds:  My strawberries are not getting eaten by whomever. I put chicken wire on the bottom and have covered them with chicken wire. The birds stay out. The cats stay out and whoever else would have been feasting on them are kept away. And, yes that includes Betsy!!  She is still hanging around, but I will add to that in the deer thread.  :)
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Immanuel

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2010, 12:21:04 PM »
I haven't tried root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, etc. I don't know how well they would do - it would be pretty hard to grow an 8 inch long carrot in 6 inches of soil.  :)

colporteur

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2010, 01:30:18 PM »
I've got 9 raised beds 4'x8' by 12 '' deep with strawberries, asparagus, flowers, beans, tomatoes, carrots, beets, cilantro,  curly and Italian parsley, sage, lemon mint, spearmint and peppermint, echinaceia, oregano, garlic, chives, and kohlrabies. I have found that if the soil is light it takes alot more watering because of the increased drainage in a raised bed.
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Mimi

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2010, 01:31:50 PM »
Young man, your gardening efforts are impressive! May God bless you with the bountiful fruits of your labor!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Immanuel

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2010, 02:00:47 PM »
Cp, what do you use for soil in your beds and what do you use to construct your beds?

colporteur

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 05:07:36 PM »
Cp, what do you use for soil in your beds and what do you use to construct your beds?

I used a combination of horse manure and soil that was given me. Unfortunately there was more sand in it than topsoil. If I had it to do over again I would use pure compost. Who needs sand ? I think you have an excellant set up in terms of soil.

I used treated 2"x6"s  and went two boards high. That makes them about 11 inches deep.  I did a little investigation on the arsenic in the boards. On web sites I read that you should not use treated lumber. At the lumber yard they told me there is more arsenic in the seeds of an apple than in a treated board. There is little doubt in my mind though that the more expensive cedar boards are the best.

I mitered the ends of the boards at 45 degrees and used 2 1/2 and 3 inches coated screws. I used boards at a 45 degree angle on the inside of each corner for support and then on each 8' side an 8" in 2" x 6" horizontally centered 4 ft from each end, on the inside, to hold the two board high frames together in the center for greater stability. Then to dress them up a bit I made 2ft. long 4"x4" corner posts, and cut recess notches up and down one corner of the posts so I could screw them onto the corner of the frame. This would be like cutting a 2" x2" board out of the corner of the post.  I mitered the tops at a 45 degree angle and then cut a couple of lines all around the post to make them look nice. I really like the deeper beds but am not content with the soil/sand as it takes so much water.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2010, 05:12:16 PM »
I am laying out irrigation line for nine beds. Each bed will have about 30 feet of 1/4 soaker line. The lines apparently will use .75 gallons and hour per 15 feet. I am wondering if I can water four beds from a 3/4 line at 40#.  It seems like it 0ught to work.

cp, are you using drip or soaker line? How many boxes can you get off of one valve?
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colporteur

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Re: Raised Bed Gardens
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2010, 05:20:47 PM »
I am laying out irrigation line for nine beds. Each bed will have about 30 feet of 1/4 soaker line. The lines apparently will use .75 gallons and hour per 15 feet. I am wondering if I can water four beds from a 3/4 line at 40#.  It seems like it 0ught to work.

cp, are you using drip or soaker line? How many boxes can you get off of one valve?

I am using the old fashioned manual hose in hand. You method is the way to go.
I'm thinking your operation should work.
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