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Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

Posted by aloha2009 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 28, 12 at 13:03

We'll be setting aside an area for a garden. I don't really care for the look of a raised garden, but I definitely understand their advantages.

Do you wish you had made one? If you have one do you wish someone would just get rid of them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

I love my raised beds. I did things a little differently tho. I adapted the square foot method and the raised beds theory. Instead of 4 x 4 beds I have beds 15 feet by 3 feet. Each little section 3 x 3 or 3 x 6 gets its own vegetable.

I have everything grouped by companion planting, warm or cool weather crops, etc.

I'll never go back to the more traditional methods.


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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

Glad that it's working for you.

I read that a raised bed yields 1.5-2x the amount the same areas does of a ground garden does. It was unclear though if they were counting the area around the raised bed that is used only for walking or not. Do you have any information regarding that?


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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

I was happy with having garden beds framed by boards until the cedar boards began to rot away. It took about 10 years.

After a couple seasons falling over the boards as they bulged out into the paths, I pulled them all out. It takes quite a bit of lumber to frame beds over an average family garden of, let's say, 1,000 square feet.

Beds and paths can be permanent without being framed. I only walk on beds once or twice a year as the soil is being loosed with a spading fork and/or as the soil is moved out of the bed so "compostables" can be added. Soil in the beds is remarkably loose right thru the year. Stepping on the spading fork isn't even necessary to plunge it to the full 11" length of the tines even after the soil has been left undisturbed for 12 months.

Steve


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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

I would have to say that those yields are accurate. The biggest reason being soil penetration.

Unless you can till down 12" or so and do the amendments and raise soil temperatures, raised beds are the way to go. Better root spread, better temps, better drainage, better just about everything.

I wouldn't use cedar. If you can pony up the money use redwood. Also use stakes on the inside and outside of the rails to carry the weight. That way, if a board fails, each board is easily replaceable.


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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

This will be summer #3 with my very simple raised beds, made by tilling the pathways and raking that soil up into a long heap, then pinning down weed barrier in the pathways and up the sides of the long mound.

My theory was that the worms would loosen up the soil for me - I put down a 3-4 inch thick layer of leaves and grass clippings last fall, and hoped the worms would go at it.

Out poking around this spring, I wouldn't call the soil 'loose' by any definition, but the soil never froze, the mulch kept it insulated. And boy, are there a lot of worms just below the surface.

I also had a Bobcat earth mover thingie out this spring, and he scooped up that wonderful soil I have on the bottom of my pond and made 4 new raised beds. This soil is a combination of dried algae, sandy loam, and 100 yr old composted sheep manure that washed down over the years from the huge sheep barn that burned down 20 years ago directly upstream from the pond.

Its just amazing what that stuff will grow.


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RE: Vegetable Garden With Raised Beds

I've been pondering on how to replace the raised beds that I'm currently taking out; the lumber is rotten, and...I guess inhabited by a colony of carpenter ants. Not in a hurry to put any new wood back there. I thought about making new raised beds out of concrete block, but decided that was yukky. (heavy, could be spendy) I'm not ready to commit to anything very permanent anyway, so for this year...my plan is to make temporary raised beds out of the hardwire fencing I've been using to compost.

When the texture of the compost gets so fine that it falls out of the wire cage, I line the bins with landscaping fabric, and attach it with zip ties. With the raised beds, my plan is to cut the fabric into strips...to whatever depth I need the dirt to be. I can use lenths of rebar to stake the fencing in place, without bulging too much. Could plant directly in the ground around the bins on the south and west side, to protect them from direct sunlight, to keep the soil cooler. Keeping potted plants there might work too. I'd keep the north and east sides clear, so there's a place to walk...need access with the wheelbarrow, and so on.

For composting, I make round bins... But there's no reason they couldn't be bent into rectangles, or whatever shape is needed. When I empty one, I just flip it over and step on it to make it flat again. They slide right under my deck for easy storage. When I bring home a new load of mulch, pine straw, leaves, or whatever...I bend them back into a circle - takes a few minutes. I yank them off the hot piles all the time, dump the contents back in - its a fast way to flip the piles, those bins are easy to move around, very handy. Mine have a green coating, which blends right into the landscape when they are empty. I often run into them when they are like that, I can't even see them... but with landcape fabric around them, navigation is much safer. My roll of fence is 5'feet tall, but its easy to cut with wire cutter...very customizable.

I like this idea, because it leaves plenty of options open. At the end of the season, I could pull the bins up...rake everything level, and plant a cover crop there. Could leave them in place, move them over... and ammend the soil when it goes back in. To extend the growing season a little, one might slide lengths of flexible pvc over the rebar to make hoops... cover the whole thing with 6mm plastic, make a mini greenhouse. I'm going to try making double walled bins, and stuff the resulting 'wall' between them with a layer of straw. That should keep the soil cooler in the summer, warmer during the winter. (I'm talking myself into this as I go...can you tell?)

The disclaimer is...I don't really know if any of this will work in practice, but it sounds good in theory. Sounds like David has been doing something similar, and he's saying his dirt didn't freeze last winter? That encourages me even more...

Maybe the best part, the materials are cheap! In my case, FREE...since I've got everything here already. It might cost me a new roll of landscape fabric, but thats nothing compared to what it would cost to build new beds out of redwood or cedar. Composite, even more spendy. No major committment from me is required, since its all temporary. If I want to try something different next year, I can just flip them over, step on them, and slide them under the deck. And the ants can't set up huge colonies in them, which is always a bonus.

Speaking of carving out huge colonies, I better get to sleep if I want to work on this tomorrow. There's snow in the forecast, so there's extra work to do before it shows up. Brick by brick...weather permitting.

Leslie in CO


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