Raised beds.

Franklin66August 24, 2004

Hi Folks...built myself some raised beds this year for the first time...four. All about 4' by 20' like them very much. In fact I think I will build some more in the spring...and raise all my veggies in them. A friend gave me a whole bunch of rough cut pine two by sixes...nice and dry. I put a hvy coat of boiled linseed oil on um to make um last a few more miles. Alot easier to sit on the edge and pull what few weeds that come up. Do it on each side. Don't know why I didn't do it years ago...:-) Franklin

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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I absolutely love my raised beds--I have 18 of them in my veg. garden in sizes from 3' x 4' to 4' x 8'. My favorite part about them is that they keep the garden "contained". You only have to amend the soil inside the beds, so you can really concentrate on fine-tuning it. The paths between the beds are newspaper (several years ago) with bark mulch on top. This keeps the weeds at bay, and it is much easier to weed one raised bed at a time rather than a whole garden plot. And they warm up much faster in the spring so you can plant a little earlier. I have no problem growing lots of peppers and eggplant, and I think the raised beds help by keeping the soil warmer all through the summer.

The only disadvantage is you have to water more, as they dry out faster. But that hasn't been a problem this year!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2004 at 6:46AM
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Franklin66

Hi veilchen...ayup...the grass grows big time between my raised beds...:-)...and it's a pain to mow. I have about four feet between the beds so that I can easily get my big garden cart between them. Am goin' to save all my newspapers this winter...and catalogs...to lay down over the grass...then wood chips over the top of them. I have been thinning out the woods around my house so I have plenty of wood chips for now. Use a Troy built 12 horse wood chipper.
The two big problems I have with gardenin' here is not enough direct sunlight...the best area maybe gets five hours direct...and real sandy soil. I have been here about five years...so am startin' to get my soil built up. The tree problem I may not be able to fix to well...:-)
I plan to do all my gardenin' in the future with raised beds. Franklin

    Bookmark   August 25, 2004 at 4:13PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Franklin,

"The two big problems I have with gardenin' here is not enough direct sunlight...the best area maybe gets five hours direct...and real sandy soil."

I consider our sandy soil a blessing. It drains well, breathes plenty of air to the plant roots, is very easy to work, and responds well to soil amendments such as compost.

As for the trees, are they your trees? If so, it should be OK for you to cut them down. I had exactly the same tree/shade problem with our garden and for the last year I have been methodically felling trees that shaded the garden. I now have over twice as much sun in the garden as when I first started, and the felling continues. I think I may complete the tree felling project this year.

Many of the trees were dangerously close to the house and garage, so I had to control where they fell with nylon ropes attached high in the trees.

I use up to four ropes on a tree. When the ropes were new they had a breaking strength of 1200 pounds each. Today, after a year of heavy use, that is probably closer to 800 pounds each. Still, 3200 pounds of force applied 30 to 50 feet up in the tree has a lot of power of persuasion. And of course I cut the felling notch so that the "hinge" is aimed in the direction I want the tree to fall.

Several large oaks overhung the garden so that it was impossible to keep them from falling into the garden, so I waited until after harvest last fall and felled them into the garden.

Up until that time I had been felling trees with an eight-dollar 24-inch bow saw, but with a lot of big oaks lying in the garden, I purchased a good chainsaw to cut them up into firewood and clear the garden for planting this last spring. That would have taken forever with the bow saw. I now use the chainsaw for most of my tree felling because it goes much faster and easier. But there are still special situations when I use the bow saw. When the bow saw blade gets dull, I purchase another blade at Sears. I don't think it is practical to sharpen a bow saw blade. They are expendable, like razor blades.

MM

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 12:52PM
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