Raise beds which plans?

di_hJuly 10, 2008

Follow up to my question yesterday

Ok I'm trying to plan my raised beds for fall. After looking online I saw that the best way is for the beds to run north-south. I came up with these plans for our beds. Option B is the only one with north/south beds


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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

I would go with "B" , and place a trellis at the north end of each bed, for climbing varieties. You should also place the shortest varieties on the southernmost ends.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:46PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

di h - here are my plans. The melons in red did not grow much at all, so I pulled them and put a spaghetti squash in their place. The okra in red are the ones that are a little bit shorter than the rest of them. Please note orientation of garden at top of picture.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 5:39PM
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EG, wonder why those particular spots didn't do well? They are in the center of the bed, but should get plenty of sun. Maybe got shaded out by the toms?

Now can you come sort out my squirrel problems? lol! no good growing all this stuff if the dang critters keep eating my plants!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 6:06PM
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ok found this online:

"For frost protection, an east-west orientation has a slight advantage of collecting heat, which is a good thing. For summer crops, a north-south orientation holds the slight advantage of sunlight on both sides of the plant row each day."

So does it really matter which way we place them?


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 6:13PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Yes, you are correct- the tomatoes were transplanted, and the melons and okra were direct seeded. Before they had a chance to germinate, the toms had already provided some shade for them. Next year, I could start my seeds in that same location 2 to 3 weeks before placing the toms in there, and they should be able to stay ahead of them. Unfortunately, squirrels are possibly the most difficult animal to keep out of your garden. I've got pear trees, and when the pears get about the size of a tennis ball- they will climb the tree and take a bite out of everyone of them, then throw them to the ground. I live in rural Alabama, and it's no problem at all for me to take the old shotgun out, and have target practice on a daily basis. LOL
Anyway, about the north/south, east/west thing - The majority of people (probably 90%) layout their garden positioning as I have done - BUT, they only have a trellis on the north side. I just decided I would try the 4 trellis thing, as I have done- and see how it turned out. It actually turned out well- I just need to do some tweaking, like with the okra/melon/tom thing. Just remember one thing, you can change it on paper 1,000 times if you want- but when it's built, there's no changing it - without alot of hard work. My posts were concreted 18" deep in the ground, so - I had to plan well. It took me probably 250 hours of research, design, and manual labor to get my box ready to plant. But, my box is probably the most different, and complex one on here.(Shhhh - some people think it's wierd.) The people driving by the house think i'm making meth in the back, or something. I'm building something all the time. LOL! Anyway, i'll help you all I can....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:07PM
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that's funny!! LOL here, all my stuff is out "front" and i have "stuff" out there, i had one bed partially done, and people were talking forever about what i was doing, LOL it was funny!! LOL well it went from a flower bed all the way to a worm bed?? LOL it was toooooo funny!! we live in a tiny farming community so its funny to listen to the thoughts of what people think i may be doing!! LOL of course when i was winter sowing and i had all the plastic jugs and 5 gal buckets and such all over the place that was a real talker!! LOL HE HE HE HE !~Medo *big grin*

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 11:08PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

B would be most like mine, and it's doing great. The one problem I've noticed is that I have to re-think the planting of plants that ended up taller and shaded my plants.

A would be my second choice. With it you could go trellises on the backs of the beds against the trees, giving you much more trellis space, which is at a premium in my garden. The other reason is 7 feet isn't THAT far to walk around and still gives you a ton of space to work with, whereas D is a mile around each bed, hehe.

Any way you look at it, you'll have TONS of space. My 130 SF is more space than I needed.

Good luck with your choice and your garden!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:19AM
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argh I still don't know. EG you are SO right that THIS is the time to erase, plan again, erase plan again, cos its easier to scribble out on paper! lol!

Good points all round though, making me think

I think it's between A & B. A looks better lol.
Sinfonian good point about the trellis on the ends, however I am short, short arms, so working with the beds N-S would be easier in that respect. I never really thought about that till you mentioned it... hmm maybe it WILL be plan B

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:17AM
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I think that I would go with Plan D. It gives you the maximum square footage and it also gives you 3 feet between the beds. You can keep all of your larger crops like tomatoes and cukes contained to the 2 northernmost beds.

Is your yard fenced in? If so, what kind of fence do you have? If your yard has a semi or private fence, the only problem I can foresee is the first few squares in the easternmost beds getting shaded by that fence. Then again, that might be the perfect place to plant some shade tolerant crops such as lettuce.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 6:15AM
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oasis_226(z7b Atlanta GA)

Hi Di.

First off, I'd say any of your layouts will work for you. It took me a year to decide on the perfect plan, when I should have probably followed Nike's advice to "Just do it"! I'd have been a second year guy now. Even if you don't get much planted this year, getting the beds down before the winter will make it so much easier to get the garden up for next spring.

Anyway, I'll add my two cents. I'm new to SFG this year too, so take what I have to say with a grain or salt ... or two.

I really like the trellises. They give lots of growing room and in my layout shade nothing except aisles because I have an east-west orientation and put them on the back foot of the beds. However, I'm in Georgia where the sun is quite high in the sky this time of year.

This is a cad of my layout (what's finished anyway) to give you an idea. My beds are pretty much laid out like yours in the Plan A. Only the 3-d stuff is actually done yet. Still a work in progress.

The other thing I'd think about is simply aesthetics. My garden is way in the back so anything goes, but it you're looking at it all the time, or the neighbors are ... what will give the best view?

Whatever you decide, you're going to love SFG.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 7:10AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Cool drawing, david - I did mine with cad also, just not in 3-d. This winter, when it's too cold outside to work - I may do mine with a 3-d view.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 9:05AM
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Cool drawing David!

I guess I should say that this isn't the whole yard. It's just the 'top' area near the patio. To the East is the poolside. North is just the patio area. And the south has no fence, though we may add one later, the yard slopes down and I'd 'like' to terrace it (with more beds hahhahha) and maybe with maybe a trellis type fence across to separate the yards. Its a very complicated garden! Oh and no neighbors view, unless one neighbor is in their upstairs eastside bedroom.

I guess I need to see how far I can comfortably reach across, the 3ft beds seem more than enough.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:47PM
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oasis_226(z7b Atlanta GA)

I gotta laugh. A bit off topic here, but I found this program called SketchUP free from Google a few days ago, and whipped up that drawing in maybe 15 minutes just playing with it, then up pops this thread so I had to use it. It's a very cool CAD program, free, and has some excellent video tutorials to get you going. And no, I have no affiliation with Google.

As for 3 feet wide, if you're not tall and use trellises, I think that might be an excellent idea if you run the beds east/west and put the trellis in the back like I do. If you run north/south it won't matter either way. I've got 4 feet wide beds, and that third foot of bush beans backing up to a trellis begins to be a reach. I could go through the back through the trellis and the tomatoes, but try and avoid that. You can see an actual picture of my garden with the trellises on my blog.

However, maybe a non-trellised 4 footer for something like squash (which gets huge) wouldn't hurt. Back row trellised at 3 feet and front not at 4 feet. Plan G anyone???

Ah, the possibilities are endless.

If you plant it, it will grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog - David's Folly

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 8:40PM
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hahahaa hey no need to brag the benefits of google, I love em! Google docs rocks! Might have to look up that cad program! I swear they add new things all the time!

Yep the whole reason for the 3ft beds was due to reach. I actually measured our dining table today and its a little under 3ft wide, so here I am kneeling on a chair (simulating the ground) reaching across the table, trying to figure out if I could reach ok, if I could go 4ft, if 3ft was too much etc. Things you do for gardening!

Hmm plan G! the fun never ends huh?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:21PM
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