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bookcase raised bed

Posted by greengreen 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 27, 10 at 15:59

hi, i've just moved into a house & i'm not really sure
how good the soil is in the yard.

i have a bookcase i'd like to convert into a raised bed. i keep reading as pple talk about lining raised beds- use landscape fabric, don't use landscape fabric.. chicken wire for burrowing rodents, newpaper/cardboard(temporary) to inhibit grass/weed growth...

i was thinking- should i even be knocking the back of this bookcase off? or should i leave it fully intact? would doing so fail to give my plants deep/enough soil to root well?

seeing as how it's already the end of august i'm wondering if i should just stick the case in the shed & not start anything until winter is drawing to a close. is it too late to begin anything for the (somewhat mild) winter in portland, oregon (8)?

i'd love to do so atleast some kale & brussel sprouts.
might i still be able to plant some small starts now..?
i have access to fresh compost & the bookcase is
2'4.5"(28.5") wide, 11.5" deep, and 3'3"(39") long.

sorry i have so many questions.
any advise would be much apprectiated! thanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: bookcase raised bed

I've used bookcases in the past, quite successfully. If the bookcase is a solid wooden one, make sure that it has not been painted with lead paint. You'll have to make holes in a solid wooden back for drainage. If it's an inexpensive bookcase made of laminate with some sort of thin backing, you can put holes in the backing or just knock it off. If you have burrowing animals in your area, replacing the backing with hardware cloth or chicken wire might be helpful, but if you don't have critters of that sort, don't bother. Putting down cardboard to act as a grass/weed barrier is helpful, or you can remove the sod and put it in your compost pile before you install the bed.

RE: bookcase raised bed

thanks for the feedback demeter.
i feel foolish asking, but how would one know if there are burrowing critters around (i've just moved in)? i was thinking i'd just knock-off the back of the case, lay it down on an area that's pretty devoid of grass/weeds. use a mix of new potting soil, free fill dirt from the neighborhood & some of the yard-made compost -- should i buy/add some steer-manure/fertilizer?

is it better to use a barrier (atleast newspaper/cardboard that'd break down & potentially benefit the soil) or use nothing between the ground and the soil of the raised bed?

should i be starting this process now, or would that be very untimely & i'd better wait until the tail-end of winter?

RE: bookcase raised bed

There are plenty of things you can start now; check your county extension agent web page, or call them. I'm sure they could tell you what to plant when.

If you choose to wait till spring, you could always fill the bed now and plant a cover crop of winter rye and/or fava beans or the like. Turn them under a few weeks before you're ready to plant in spring, and your bed will be that much better come planting time.

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