Raised or Container SFG

Lauren328May 12, 2014

Hey friends. I have an elevated cedar situation for my SFG. It is 2' x 8' from Gardeners website. I bought it last year and had a massive failure using Mel's Mix. I made my own and followed directions. From posting on here, I realized that my little garden was BAKING on my dark back deck. We have since moved to a new house and I relocated the garden apparatus to a great spot in our back yard. It is completely empty. I don't have the money to do Mel's Mix again. I'm wondering if the fact that it is super elevated makes this, essentially a giant "container"? If yes, can I get away with potting soil and some amending? I spent sooooo much $ on this set up last year. The raised bed, the Mel's Mix, etc and ended up with NOTHING. So, I am not completely discouraged but feeling cautious.

Here is a link to the garden set up I have:


Attaching a pic of where mine sits too. Please ignore the jungle-esque situation. We've only been here two weeks and cleared 5 feet toward that back fence line...of VINES. I look like i've been in a knife fight!

Thanks for any help! I'm in Gadsden, AL. -Lauren

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a closer photo of the elevated raised bed.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One really cheap option for such a large/tall container that may make up for some of the frustration is to grow potatoes in straw. You start them at the bottom and then occasionally add 4-6 inches of straw as they continue to grow through the season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Potatoes in Straw

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have four raised beds that I use for SFG. They are on their 4th year. I gave up on trying to find the ingredients for Mel's Mix the first year and just filled them with a mix of garden soil, mushroom compost, and some peat. The soil level drops several inches each year and I have just been topping off with compost and maybe a bit of soil. I've had excellent results from this. Did you thoroughly wet/mix your Mel's Mix before putting it in the box? I know that's a common downfall when using any peat-heavy mix.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's not directly touching dirt on the bottom (IE, dirt-to-dirt), it's not a raised bed, it's a container. And Mel's mix isn't particularly suitable for container gardening, it just doesn't drain well enough.

The dirt-to-dirt connection basically acts as a wick, and pulls moisture out of the bed, so Mel's mix is geared to hold a lot of moisture.

Typical container mediums are bark, peat, and perlite... much faster draining than compost, peat and vermiculite.

Replacing all the soil is probably a non-starter at this point, so I'd suggest putting some wicks in place to pull some moisture out. You can probably read about wicks in the container forum.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't eat white potatoes and this is my only garden spot. I bought it to keep my dogs out of it! I agree that is essentially a giant container.

I am just gonna rock potting soil and jazz it up next year with compost etc.

Will keep y'all posted!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
2nd year of SFG: what to do?
Hi all, 2nd year of SFG. Last year was 3, 4x4 beds....
Weed Barrier
I was excited to find this forum. I started dabbling...
Looking for bloggers
I am looking for folk interested in writing about square...
What to put in the bottom of 12" high boxes??
Hello all, I am doing my first SFG this year. I live...
Deck Pros
Garlic crop rotating?
I started a bed 4'x6' last full of garlic. I was a...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™