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Thread: Raised Garden

  1. #1
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    Raised Garden

    Anyone have one and have any suggestions, we are considering making the one show. I have made the widest part 4' across so you only need to be able to reach 2' from each side. Looking at making it out of double stacked 2x8's or 2x10's with 4x4 corner post and bolt it all together. Then drive stakes into the ground on the inside and attach those to the 4x4 post.

    Anyway, just seeing if anyone had suggestions on a raised bed, height, material, etc.

    Pic and sketchup file attached.
    Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails garden.gif  
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Rise above the rest

  2. #2
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    There used to be a PBS program called Square Foot Gardening - and there was a book by the same name. Lots of very good info between the covers. You might want to get your hands on one.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post
    There used to be a PBS program called Square Foot Gardening - and there was a book by the same name. Lots of very good info between the covers. You might want to get your hands on one.
    Exactly what I was going to say Rennie.

    If you do an Internet search on "Square Foot Gardening" there is a wealth of information.

    Start Here: Square Foot Gardening Official Site



  4. #4
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    I've always wondered why that show and book were so popular. I guess it filled a niche and had a catchy name. It's extremely useful for a rear court terrace in georgetown, but for other situations...

    Anyway, here's a start: http://www.google.com/search?q=raise...ient=firefox-a

    Really, you have three choices:

    1. build the bed right on the ground (lets the roots grow into the ground, but also lets things grow up...
    2. put landscape fabric or black plastic under it (isolates the growing medium, but means you have to water. A lot!
    3. put hardware cloth or metal mesh under it. (keeps burrowing critters out...

    What to build it from depends on whether it's for ornamentals or food. If it's ornamentals, use treated landscape timbers. They're cheap, and they stack! I usually drill them, and drive rebar down through the holes, one on top of the other. Do not succumb to the temptation to stack 2x lumber. It will sag out, no matter how many posts you use, and the water will just go down around the edges of a dry bed, doing little or no good.

    Four inches of height is plenty for a raised bed. What's your goal in building them? To simply define the area? To overcome drainage problems? To keep rampant plants confined? Or does the gardener have difficulty bending over? Those are the major reasons for a raised bed, and your answer will influence the construction details.

    Growing medium should be heavily amended soil. Think half peat moss, and half "dirt". Local dirt. Like, what's there now... You may need to add some lime. Feed with a combination of foliar feeding and compost, or pure compost if you're inclined that way.

    If you're growing food, the options for construction are more limited. You should probably stay away from treated lumber, and cedar, etc, can get pretty pricey quick. I usually solve that problem with tufa... which has the advantage of standing up to a Kansas winter...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 01-05-2009 at 06:19 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    I've always wondered why that show and book were so popular. I guess it filled a niche and had a catchy name. It's extremely useful for a rear court terrace in georgetown, but for other situations...

    Anyway, here's a start: http://www.google.com/search?q=raise...ient=firefox-a

    Really, you have three choices:

    1. build the bed right on the ground (lets the roots grow into the ground, but also lets things grow up...
    2. put landscape fabric or black plastic under it (isolates the growing medium, but means you have to water. A lot!
    3. put hardware cloth or metal mesh under it. (keeps burrowing critters out...

    What to build it from depends on whether it's for ornamentals or food. If it's ornamentals, use treated landscape timbers. They're cheap, and they stack! I usually drill them, and drive rebar down through the holes, one on top of the other. Do not succumb to the temptation to stack 2x lumber. It will sag out, no matter how many posts you use, and the water will just go down around the edges of a dry bed, doing little or no good.

    Four inches of height is plenty for a raised bed. What's your goal in building them? To simply define the area? To overcome drainage problems? To keep rampant plants confined? Or does the gardener have difficulty bending over? Those are the major reasons for a raised bed, and your answer will influence the construction details.

    Growing medium should be heavily amended soil. Think half peat moss, and half "dirt". Local dirt. Like, what's there now... You may need to add some lime. Feed with a combination of foliar feeding and compost, or pure compost if you're inclined that way.

    If you're growing food, the options for construction are more limited. You should probably stay away from treated lumber, and cedar, etc, can get pretty pricey quick. I usually solve that problem with tufa... which has the advantage of standing up to a Kansas winter...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Building it for food

    goal: to make weeding easier, make it easier on the back, and also we just have a big rectangle for a garden now, so we have to walk through it to weed, pick veggies, etc. So being able to reach from all sides is the main goal.

    Animals: We used to have a lot of rabbits but haven't seen those around much. Mostly squirrels & chipmunks

    Dirt: The dirt below the 1-2" topsoil put down at construction (when it was built) is very thick, heavy clay. We have added lots of dirt, manure, compost to where we garden now, but the set up just isn't good.

    Wood: I was thinking of using redwood, not sure what tufa is??
    Rise above the rest

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Beaver View Post
    Building it for food

    goal: to make weeding easier, make it easier on the back, and also we just have a big rectangle for a garden now, so we have to walk through it to weed, pick veggies, etc. So being able to reach from all sides is the main goal.

    Animals: We used to have a lot of rabbits but haven't seen those around much. Mostly squirrels & chipmunks

    Dirt: The dirt below the 1-2" topsoil put down at construction (when it was built) is very thick, heavy clay. We have added lots of dirt, manure, compost to where we garden now, but the set up just isn't good.

    Wood: I was thinking of using redwood, not sure what tufa is??
    Aaron,

    Cruise around here for a while: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/

    you'll find more info than you'll ever need...

    Tufa, or hypertufa, is a mix of portland cement, peatmoss, and vermiculite (or perlite). Most people use it to create 'naturalistic' planters and pots, but I think it's best use is actually for raised beds. One can make a tall frame of treated lumber, cover that with 1" chicken wire (to keep the wet mixture from sloughing, and the dried product from cracking), and then cover the frame with tufa. It solves most of the problems inherent in tall raised beds. But if you've got a cheap source of redwood, I can't think of anything better than that!

    Squirrels, chipmunks, and mice love to burrow into raised beds. Hard to blame them, really...

    The square foot guy used to do what we all do: build a frame, dig the soil underneath, and amend it with enough peat moss to build the soil up to the new level. Since then, he's gone to simply building a frame and dumping tons of potting soil (peat moss, compost, and vermiculite) into it, essentially making a giant pot. What he calls "Mel's mix" is what greenhouse gardeners have used for decades, in controlled environments. It would work, of course... but so would having a bunch of big pots filled with potting soil sitting on the middle of your lawn...

    If you've got heavy clay, it means you likely have some drainage problems, which raised beds will solve. If you've got enough redwood, go ahead and build them up, but make sure they're well supported (think of all the weight of wet soil... and trust me, it doesn't just push *down*, but also *out*).

    Here's the wierdest thing: one of the best raised beds I ever had was in the site of a pond I had to fill in. It was 4' x 8'. I kept the 2x4 frame from the pond (the soil was very heavy clay). The pond had been 2' deep. I just threw back in the original soil, mixed with peat moss, and didn't worry about drainage (conventional wisdom would say I'd essentially have a dirt filled pond, 4 " above ground level, in which the soil would quickly sour). Au contraire... the whole thing absolutely thrived. I had a dahlia plant so big it literally required a 2x4 as a stake!

    Anyway, your plan sounds pretty good to me. Just use a bunch of peat moss and compost to amend the soil!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    2. put landscape fabric or black plastic under it (isolates the growing medium, but means you have to water. A lot!
    I disagree. If you build a raised bed, I think you'll have to water a lot period. It's raised above the ground, the water drains out, it dries out.

    I've built my wife a couple of raised gardens in the back (for veggies) and they dry out. You must water them more than ground-level beds.

    As for what to build them out of... I just built them out of cheap SPF 2x stock from the lumber yard. I forget if they are 2x6 or 2x8s. It's been 4+ years and they haven't rotted out yet. They will eventually, and then we'll just replace them. Considering the cost of cedar, or the cost of "artificial" wood (ie: plastic, or recycled plastic/sawdust/concrete thingies), I think just going with cheap construction lumber and replacing them when they rot is the simplest and cheapest.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  8. #8
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    I thought high was better, you know the old saying, 'high & dry', I have seen it on some gardening sites. I guess they are thinking better root growth if the roots have to go down and get it?

    Art, what is SPF?
    Rise above the rest

  9. #9
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    Jan 2007
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    810
    We currently have four raised garden beds, Each one is 4'x8' and is 20" high. They were made from 2"x10" spruce and are about four years old. They're just starting to rot out, so this is likely their last summer. Each one is held in place with a 2"x2" post driven 2' into the ground at each corner with one on the centre of the8' span making a total of six posts for each bed. We put a layer of straw and peat moss on the ground of each one before we added soil, so we find that we don't water them any more often than we watered our regular ground beds when we had them. This year we're going to grow through grass clippings to try and use even less water.

    Attached is a picture. With these four beds we can pretty much stay ahead of all our fresh veggie needs as long as the produce is in season. We grow garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, carrots, beets, cucumbers (on a lattice that is not shown in this picture), radishes and various herbs in the barrel. I also grow flowers in with the veggies. They attract the birds to the garden which keeps the bugs and grubs down.

    cheers

    John
    Last edited by John Bartley; 11-26-2010 at 12:38 AM.

  10. #10
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    Currently I have one that is 20' wide by 30' long. In the spring it is getting redone and made into 4' wide strips. It is 15" high(rabbits) , drain pipes under it and a layer of fabric. The water is gravity feed via a 400 gallon drum that catches water from the shop roof. The bottom 4 inches are gravel to help the draining. So far it has been a exellent garden that is overflowing with veggies every summer.

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