Help on raised beds

gooup(z9, LA)March 17, 2010

My wife and i are in Houma, LA and we'd like to do two small (3' x 8') raised beds. The question i have is in the setup. i've read that i should line the inside of the SIDES of the timbers with plastic so the soil doesn't leech out of the sides. Also, anyone have any tips on what kind of soil to use to fill the forms?

Thanks so much!

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brhgm(z8b LA)

Any good gardening mix is fine. I try to avoid the ones with fertilizer and pesticides. The important thing is you want good drainage. You can even add lots of soil improvements to existing soil such as compost, manure and peat and sand and do it that way. The important thing is raising the soil for good drainage, as the water table is rather high in South Louisiana.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 12:55PM
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nolaphoto1

Hi gooup. I too am in Houma and I just finished building a raised garden bed for my wife. I made ours 6' long and 2' wide. My wife wanted to plant annuals in it, nothing big. I started with a sand base. Then I used the standard 8' landscape timbers and notched the ends so that when I made the box, the ends overlapped. I then screwed the lapped ends together with 3" screws, 2 in each end. I then drilled a hole in the center of the lapped ends. Here I drove 1/4" iron rods in the ground. Then I continued making the layers of boards in the same fashion, until I achieved a finished height of almost 24". Yes, the timber raised bed is 24" high. I didn't line the timbers with anything. What I did do is provide adequate drainage. I didn't fill the box with soil. First I put down several bags of lava rocks. For my application I used 10, 1 cubic yd bags. I spread them evenly. Then I applied 2 50lbs bags of pea gravel. From here I then added potting soil. What this does is allow the water to drain from the soil and into the pea gravel without losing the soil. Then the water flows easily through the lava rocks. I've only had it planted now for a few weeks but so far so good. I haven't seen the soil run between the boards yet and we've had two fairly heavy showers. Now when I water the bed manually, I don't hit it full blast. I set the hose to "mist" and let it softly water the bed. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:48PM
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pjames(8/LA)

I live in Shreveport and have a series of 'raised 'beds i use for vegetable gardening. I simply put the wood planks on the ground. I did not purchase a single thing. I used compost I made myself and alot of grass clippings and leaves the neighbors discarded in the off season.

Technically my beds are not 'raised'- right now they are 4 or 5 inches above ground level but by the end of the season even with my side dressing the plants with compost I make, the level will drop pretty close to ground level. However the soil in those beds is jet black, full of organic matter where my normal soil under my grass is clay.

I would not waste money buying supplements and ammendments. Just look at what the neighbors are throwing away and throw that into the bed and till it in. (Before the first planting anyway.) Then keep taking their cast offs and make your own compost for next year..(or later this year).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:11PM
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