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Raised Planting Beds

Post in 'The Green Room' started by daveswoodhauler, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. billjustbill

    billjustbill Member

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    I started out with an old telephone pole cut into 10' lengths and a few cross ties, but the grass came from underneath and I never planted in them...

    Then, I left those in place and built around them with PT lumber that came from Lowes' rejected cart that sell for 10 cents on the dollar. What few people know is that if you will soak the PT wood overnight, most of the twists and bows will go away, then screw the lumber in place before it dries... I cut the corner post tops with a bandsaw and cut the notches with a dado head on a radial arm saw. In the returned paint area of the home centers, you can find returned paint cans and also deck & fence stains for $5 a gallon and $15 for a 5-gallon bucket.

    The trellises are made from 1/2" rebar and chainlink fence parts. Finials, metal rooster, and metal disk came from Hobby Lobby's 50% off sale.... One planter is 12'X 22 and the other is 14'x14'.

    Adding almost a dump truck load of sandy loam soil with wood planer chips and several bags of new garden soil mixed in, now they are between 18"-24" deep with rolled weed barrier lining the bottom and up the sides.

    This is the third season...except for learning that raised beds take more water, so far, so good.

    @After seeing the good looking raised beds and the greenhouse, I thought I'd add a picture of this winter's 9" snow here in Texas, and the garden shed I'm now building near those raised beds.
    Bill

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  2. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    I have quite a few raised beds. 6 inches isn't really enough. I have a couple that are only that deep. A lot of my plants don't amount to much there, but do great in the 10 and 12 inch tall beds. Lettuce, rhubarb, and garlic is what grows well for me in the shallow ones. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, zucchini, in general things with a lot of roots want deeper soil. If the ground under your beds isn't too lousy then 6 inches could work, but mine is a very heavy clay and my plants like my compost beds SO much better. I fill the beds with leaves, horse manure, massive quantities of old produce, and a sprinkling of wood ashes. Sometimes also wood shavings from cutting firewood. The result is fabulous and I would recommend it highly. I never buy any of the stuff to make the beds, use old boards, bricks, whatever.
  3. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    BeGreen,
    Nice greenhouse. Are they glass walls or something else? Im picking up a greenhouse this morning I found on CL. 8x12 aluminum frame w the plastic film covering. The covering needs to be replaced and I'd rather something more heavy duty, like panels, if it will work.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, that is glass on the front. There are two huge thermopane picture windows on the south side. The are on the outside, acting as cladding for the south wall. The south top, is covered with lexan, twinwall, insulated panels. All of the glass (including the french doors) came from our 2006 remodel, except for the gable vent windows (also used). I saved them until we could tackle building the greenhouse last summer. Here are a couple more shots from different angles. The landscaping is still a bit raw, and the plantings will take a few years to mature, but it is starting to take form. I also posted an interior shot from last Oct.. There were no raised beds outside at that point.

    For your greenhouse, polycarbonate panels should work. Be sure to install them correctly so that they don't trap condensation. They need to be taped at the top with a metal foil tape and at the bottom with a breathable fabric tape. That keeps insects out, yet lets condensation weep out the bottoms.

    Attached Files:

  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Sweet setup BG. That retaining wall is beautiful. My two attempts so far, about 5' vertical each, ended up being more like boulder heaps that I mulched to smooth out and keep the weeds out. I've been getting some granite curbing in the fill the city water dept brings, maybe I'll try building a raised bed with it.
  6. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    +1. Very nice indeed BG and Bill....not going to show those to my wife as its going to give her additional ideas. (I wish I had the time and skills to do such nice work)

    I wound up using some 2 X 10 lumber for the beds, and dug down about 8-10 inches below to get rid of all the rocks and such...should have a good 16" min of decent soil for the plants to grow. Filled in with some good soil, peat moss and a little fertilzier, and hopefully we should have some good results.
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the thread Dave. I'm thinking a raised bed built against the retaining wall between the garden terraces might reduce the amount of mulch I have to do every year and give us more planting room.

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  8. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Yes, glad the thread is here as I have gotten some really good ideas....actually like the Green Room forum as it usually sparks my interest in the non burning months.
    Funny, I am in the same boat as on one side of my garden I have a slope, and was looking to built it up somehow...maybe a terrace or something....would like to use stone, but don't have the $$$ for it right now....just keep my eyes peeled on Cl for some rare finds :)
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, I can take credit for being on the crew that built the greenhouse, but not the wall, that was done for us. It takes an eye, strong back (or machine) and patience to build a wall. The raised beds are made from L shaped sections of cast cement. We lined our beds with landscape fabric to stop the dirt from leaking out between the joints. So far they are working out well and for sure will not rot. The also act as a heat sink and should keep the beds warmer. Granite curbing should work too.
  10. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Speaking of raised beds; Ill be doing a trial with
    strawberries in a vertical hydroponic system if anyone cares.
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Yup - sounds like a neat, spacing-saving idea. Please post pics of your setup and your thoughts on the vertical hydroponic system vs. conventional rows or beds. Also, taste - I've never done a side-by-side comparison with hydroponically grown vs. in-the-dirt grown vegetables/fruits, but have had some people tell me that the hydroponically grown stuff doesn't taste as good.
  12. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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  13. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Hi Kenny - Would be interested in seeing your setup for the strawberries once you get your system going. Any way you could post some pics?
    On the topic of strawberries, is it true that the main plant will only provide 1-2 years of berries, and then you need to pull and go with the offshoots? (We have a small patch we started 2 years ago, and is now getting bigger with shoots, so I am wondering if I should thin it?)
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd be interested too. We are thinking about trying a small scale hydroponic experiment in the greenhouse. I've seen some pretty successful systems using the effluent from koi tanks to fertilize the plants. And I remember seeing a cool set up at Epcot, years ago that was inspiring.
  15. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Yes you should pull the old plants every year.
    The patch seems like it will last forever this way
    but it'll start to peter out in 3-5 years.
    Don't get plants from your mother's patch.
    Buy only certified disease resistant cultivars.
    Lots of real bad stuff happening in the fields.

    I can't find the site now but was reading about the fish and hydroponic
    combination. Apparently two gold fish in a small tank at the base of a
    vertical grow tower will supply enough nutients to supply about 20 plants
    in a drip and recover system.

    There's also been work done with chickens on hardware cloth
    above a fish tank.

    Lots of clever people and they share only so much information.
    So will I, gladly.
  16. billjustbill

    billjustbill Member

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    Here's an update on my raised beds. So far, no bad storms with hail and high wind. My first time to plant the large Zucchinis along with crook-neck squash. The Irish Potatoes were from ones that sprouted in late winter, so instead of tossing them out, I cut them into sections with their sprouts and they are really growing and blooming...

    Things seem to be setting up for an uncertain future beginning in July... The coal mining and Gulf drilling seem to be imploding on themselves, so energy is going to cost more....Gas is up almost 20cents a gallon at $2.86 and Propane is $2.20 a gallon. No job growth means people still have to eat and groceries will cost more, so the garden is growing...

    This year, we're trying Large Zucchinis and younger Yellow Squash in the left picture. Right picture has small tomatoes in front and Irish Potatoes on the other side of the trellis.... Background has smaller planter with Cucumbers, six types of Tomatoes, and more Irish Potatoes... ;>) The winter snows and spring rains have forced the use of the blue tarps to cover garage-sale solid Oak cabinets for my wife's cabin.....Bill

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  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nice Bill, you folks are so far ahead of us. We just broke the record for the coldest May 5th. >:-(
  18. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I read an article awhile back about a guy with severe back problems who used refrigerators and chest freezers layed on their back for raised beds.The heighth made it easier for him to weed. We can get a rogue frost well after everything is planted here. Having stuff a few feet off the ground and insulated soil might help. I'm gonna try maters and cukes this way this year. Everything else still in the garden .Wonder if painting the frigs black wood help.
  19. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    Great thread!


    Be Green,

    What, no pics of the greenhouse stove?

    :D
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, my bad. The Jotul is sitting in the garage now. It won't be back in the greenhouse until October.
  21. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Raised beds get the soil warm earlier and save your back, amongst other things, but if the soil and planting are right, they don't have to be too deep for many plants. Look at what square foot gardeners do.
    I had a 6" deep bed on heavily compacted sand and gravel in my yard (was a turnaround spot for trucks- one former owner of the house had a firewood business) that did quite well- the secret is that it was a lasagna garden (all compost). OK- compost is no secret, but it is still magic.

    I saw someone grow tomato plants in a pizza box.
  22. rustynut

    rustynut Feeling the Heat

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    just be sure and use the "FROST FREE" refrigerators ! :cheese:

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