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Need help

Posted by andypierucci Smithfield,Utah (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 19, 09 at 19:15

Hi everyone, my name is Andy Pierucci, I am 20, and I just moved to Utah from Northern California. I started a garden last year for the first time, and am hoping to start one here in Utah. I moved in with a family that has a pretty good patch of land. We want to use raised beds, but have some questions. What would you all recomend we use to make the raised beds? We are looking for an economical material. I think that I want to do the beds 8'x4'. We want to grow tomatoes, peppers, okra, herbs, carrots, onions, cantaloupe, brussel sprouts, rasberries, strawberries, etc. I would really like some tips for gardening in Cache Valley, and any other help you all can offer.

Thanks,
Andy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help

If you want to use economical material, try anything you can get your hands on. You could just mound up the soil level to make it higher. Of course, if you want to build raised bed garden boxes, I think the recommeded wood types are redwood and cedar, since they are rot resistant. The link at the bottom is for a basic plan from an article on Sunset.

Also, the boxes will make it easier to build mini-hoop houses or row covers to protect your plants if you give them an early start since you are in the Cache Valley.

I think there were plans for building a low-cost high tunnel (hoop house) that was built in the Cache Valley if you go to http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/HG_High_Tunnels_2008-01photos.pdf

Here is a link that might be useful: The perfect raised bed


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RE: Need help

The most economical way is just to raise the beds in rows and not bother lining them. I just expanded the garden and raised in about 6 inches at the same time. I have pictures on my blog at the link below.

As for advice I would check out Utah State University's publications page. The link is also on my blog

Here is a link that might be useful: Utah Vegetable Gardening Blog


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RE: Need help

Welcome to beautiful Cache Valley, Andy! I live southwest of Logan about 6 miles (Young Ward). Since you mentioned cantaloupe, I've grown cantaloupe, tomatoes, watermelon and other hot season crops with success by building a mound of soil about 1-2 feet high, 3-4 feet across and 50' long. Then you bury a black soaker hose just off center at the top of the mound, just below the soil. Then cover the entire mound with clear plastic (throwing dirt along the edge to keep the plastic down). Then cut holes in the top to plant your seed or transplants. Then hook up your garden hose to the soaker hose and water as needed. This works great! The clear plastic lets the sun through and heats up the mound like you wouldn't believe. This warm soil lets the plants take off and your produce ripens a couple weeks before other plants in flat, cool soil. You're welcome to come over this Summer is you want to see how it works. Since you're from California, I also have 4 outdoor palm trees (that I protect during Winter), one being 10' tall, bananas, and other tropicals.

Kevin


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RE: Need help

While I can agree in part with arctictropical, I would highly recommend black plastic. While the soil temperature will on average increase about 5 degrees with black plastic (clear plastic will increase soil temperature about 8-14 degrees), you won't have a weed problem with black plastic like you will with clear plastic. Especially, since we have such warm temperatures in Utah, the benefits of clear plastic are outweighed with the weeds that will grow under it. Probably just a matter of preference, but I believe worth mentioning.

Another consideration is vine crops, such as cantaloupe, have vines that love the heat that radiates off of the black plastic.

For more information on the specific differences check out http://plasticulture.cas.psu.edu/P-Mulch.html


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RE: Need help

Thanks for your input amlinde78. I have tried black plastic for many years in the past, and it has prevented weeds from growing, however, I heard from gardening experts here in Utah that because black plastic shades the soil, it does not let the sun penetrate to the soil like the clear plastic does. I guess it is a matter of preference.

Kevin


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RE: Need help

I grow in a raised bed (3 feet high). It was originally built of redwood, then we changed to locking stack stone. The redwood bowed from the weight of the soil. Redwood is extremely expensive, but i would use it over cedar. some cedar used to be treated with arsonic, don't know if it still is. ask a lot of questions before you build with cedar.

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We want to grow tomatoes, peppers, okra, herbs, carrots, onions, cantaloupe, brussel sprouts, rasberries, strawberries, etc.

Your date of last frost will be around mothers day. To set out tender plants earlier you can use water wells.

I love tomatoes. I always grow an early girl and a sweet 100, for early season production. This year I am trying Delicious and Brandywine for my beefsteaks. And am starting some seed for a longkeeper type.

My bell peppers are always hit or miss for production, but it could be operator error.

I tried for years to grow okra. The air is so dry that even young pods were tough. If you find one that does good, let me know.

Raspberries will do great for you. Do your research and decide if you want everbearing or single crop. Same with strawberries. I like quinalt strawberrys, they are everbearers. If you hurry and decide what varieties of berries that you want, you should be able to get them bare root, they will be lots cheaper that way.

welcome to utah


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RE: Need help

Thanks everyone for the welcome, and all of the information. We have a lot of our raised beds built now, and are planning on planting some garlic and red onions tha we bought. I was wondering how deep do onions and garlic grow. I know that I should plnt the galric cloves 2-3 inches deep, and the onion about half an inch deep, but how much room should I allow for them to grow down?
Also, where can I get bare root strawberries in the cache valley area?

Thanks,
Andy


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RE: Need help

I have planting guides for both onions and garlic list on my blog. Everything you need to know is on those fact sheets.

http://www.vegenag.com/vegetable-fact-sheets-for-utah/


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RE: Need help

I made a 4x8 box for Square Foot Gardening out of the cheapest wood (pine) 2x6's at Home Depot. The total cost was like 30 bucks.


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