Container Gardening/Raised Beds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by QueenB04, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. QueenB04

    QueenB04 Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Just curious to see what everyone uses around here. We have a large area for our garden and if it grown like last year we won't be shy on our produce. I have a questions in regards to container planting and raised beds. What do you all use? I've hear people use 5 gallow buckets lined with trash bags, stock tanks etc. and I heard of using old tires for raised beds, especially for carrotts(we don't have good carrott soil aroun here.) Look forward to hearing what diff. people use. Gotta love recycling junk!
     
  2. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My raised beds are made from rough-cut lumber, 4'x8', and about a foot deep. I also made a few raised beds last year by simply raking the tilled soil into elongated mounds, and they held up surprizingly well. I want to go to all wooden boxes so the pathways are easier to keep weeded. I plan on laying down all the feed sacks I saved over the winter, and covering with wood chips. I think in the long run I will be very pleased with this set-up. My soil drains rather poorly, so raised beds are a good thing!
     

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We save feed sacks for that purpose too! And we saved all the scrap lumber from when our house was built...it's amazing what those construction crews will throw away. I have plenty of 4x8s and 4x10s to build my raised beds with this year. And I have pallets that I'm going to use to make my compost bin, plus a lot of that heavy guage wire they use to reinforce concrete floors to make tomato and plant cages out of.

    Hmmm...we have stacks of leftover shingles too. Bet I could use those to make weed free paths between my beds!

    In Texas I had a tiny garden in our suburban back yard. I used a stack of bricks that were left in the yard to make one end of the garden raised (the yard sloped) and filled it in with cow manure and top soil. We tilled it the first year and after that all I had to do was turn it with a hoe. I grew pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, onions and herbs in my tiny garden (and plenty of flowers too!). Here's a photo of it (and my hubby):

    [​IMG]
     
  4. GrannySue

    GrannySue Active Member

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    I use just about anything I can get my mitts on, lol! I have tons of old 5G buckets, and they get beans, peas, tomatoes, and even squash and melon plants. I even have some flowers in an old boot (I stole the idea from some magazine somewhere... not mentioning any names ;-) ) I've planted veggies in window boxes, cardboard boxes, old dish pans, old bath tubs and even once in an old refridgerator that had no door! Stuff in planters - especially ones with no drainage - can be difficult and require a lot of attention though.

    We moved in with my Dad late last fall and he is a very avid flower and rose gardener. They also have tons of shade trees on the land (1/3) acre). So, this year, we are going to try several beds 'lasagna' style... Get rid of the yard waste, his old newspapers, and free compost dumped by the village. Would have added a layer of horse manure, but will do that in the fall instead... I have things going in probably early next month. When we clean out the rabbit hutch again, all that will go in the beds as well.

    Actually, what I'm hoping to do is a combination of the lasagna method with either intensive or square foot spacing. We're going to be feeding 5 adults, and when the little one is old enough, we will be making his??/her?? baby food as well. It'll be an adventure - no matter what it winds up as, lol!

    Got all the early-start veggies going - 288 plants strong. Herbs will be started next week, along with a few flowers I just 'can't live without'. Should be about 600 plants going in, not including direct-sow stuff like corn and beans.

    Sue
     
  5. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our raised beds are 3'x16'...we have 12 of these plus an area where we plant potatoes and tomatoes are tied up to hog panels....as are the cukes. At the lower end we let the squashes/pumkins ramble to the fence. Far side of garden has blueberries/raspberries/strawberries. Between the rows we use flattened out cardboard boxes covered with wood chips...have a landscaper friend who delivers all his chips to us so we generally have 4-5 mountains at all times...everything gets mulched!! Our garden used to grow mammonth pigweed but now we don't till and mulch everything--it is actually fun to have a garden this way. DEE
     
  6. KAK

    KAK Well-Known Member

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    We had wonderful gardens years ago and are moving and have an enclosed garden area about 40' X 60'. I hasn't been used as a real garden for years, so it really is an enclosed weed sanctuary. I want to install raised beds, but my basic question is, if I put the soil for the raised beds right on top of the weeds, aren't I going to get weeds in my raised beds? Even tilling the weedy soil before constructing the raised bed and putting in the new soil on top, won't I still get weeds...or will the foot or 18" of new soil keep them down? :confused:
     
  7. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We bought an old farmstead with a fenced garden area exactly like this. We made the mistake of not taking care of the weeds first...we plowed and then rototilled the entire area. What we did was plant every weed seed that had been laying on top of the ground! The winter prior to tilling we had been putting all our manure from the chicken coop in the garden area....so we had HUGE weeds...we could hardly find the vegetables! :eek: We were told later by the old farmer across the road that we should have first treated the weeds with RoundUp to kill the roots. Two weeks later you can plant.
     
  8. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    To control the weeds without having to use poisons we first mow the area as close to the ground as possible and then put down black plastic mulch and then put on a layer of sand and then our soil. This has worked well for us. I just bought some more of the black plastic mulch at the garden store. They have a 10 year and a 20 year guarantee to prevent weeds. We are trying to off ground garden this year as the fire ants here are so bad. The only thing I will be ground planting are peas and beans and corn.
     
  9. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    I have eight 8X3 beds made out of landscape timbers and 2X6's, six 4X4's made out of same, numerous containers everywhere, everything from bought pretty ones, recycled nursery ones-the ones from trees are really big, tires, 5 gallon buckets, some big old barrel that I found in the woods, I cut it in half and have one with a bottom, one without to grow potatoes in. I also have flowerbeds everywhere that I made out of rocks. Lots and lots of those in the Hill Country of Texas. I laugh at people that curse them, why? It's a free source of building material, and they are really pretty. Plus like someone said, it beats the gym! I also use various storage containers from the dollar store, and sometimes you can get things like kid's sand buckets for a quarter after the summer ends. They don't last more than a few years, but a row of different colored ones looks cute with bright flowers in it. You can plant things in the holes of cement blocks too, if it's heat loving. I have succulents in my 'steps'.

    Have just been a huge fan of container and raised bed and wide row gardening ever since the 70's. I read so many books that said how much better it worked for root growth and production and I believe that to be true.

    hollym
     
  10. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My raised beds are 4'x4' , and I have 16 of them. I'd have more, but got slowed down last year by a foolish mistake. [Lesson Learned: Get a step ladder when you need one, don't use whatever is available!] This year, I'll get by on the raised beds here in the suburban plot, and we're going to give straw potatoes a shot up at the rural acreage.

    It takes a couple years, I've found, for the beds to get established: amending soil, etc. Once they're good to go, though, they really GO!!!

    Next, have to work out a good system for the compost. DH is now a firm believer, so I have LOTS of things to turn into brown gold!

    Pony!
     
  11. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I went out and bought a bunch of pots for my stuff, this year. I plan on using dry stall and compost, nothing else. I'll see how it goes!
     
  12. Q_Links

    Q_Links Well-Known Member

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    GrannySue, I have a bunch of cat litter buckets and wondered if they would work for container gardening. All I have to do is pry the tops off. What do you do for drainage and is it all soil it them? Q
     
  13. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    Q_Links, I don't know why they wouldn't work. I bought cat litter trays at the Dollar Store and drilled holes in the sides. I am planting my herbs in them. They were a lot cheaper than other containers I saw at Walmart here.

    Hubby and I are building 6 4x8 cinder block raised beds starting tomorrow. We are going to raise most of our veggies this year in containers and raised beds. On another forum there were instructions for using kids wading pools for contained gardens. It was a nice idea for raised beds. They just drilled holes in the sides added the soil and planted. It makes a colorful garden. :)

    Happy gardening.
    Rosemary
     
  14. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    It's good to hear all of these ideas; dh and I are planning to expand our garden with raised beds this year because rocks in our soil jam up the rototiller. We'll either use rough cut 2x10's or concrete blocks, whichever is cheaper. And I think we'll have plenty of feed bags for weed control! I also grow a few tomatoes in containers; I've used 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, and they seem to work just fine.
     
  15. kosh

    kosh Well-Known Member

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    We moved into a new house in January and will have a much larger garden area. We are starting from scratch, in an area that is/has been lawn. Currently I have my chickens in this area to eat all the grass and kill the grass and fertilize the area. We have to cut several tall pine trees down on the property, we plan to cut the trunks into 4 foot and 8 foot lengths and use them as the boarders for 4x8 raised beds. Our neighbors have horses, so we will get horse manure for free. The town has a composting center where one can drop off yard debris and also take as much free compost as you want. I also will get a large bucket full of (free) wood stove ash from a coworker. All of this, along with some seaweed and some home made compost will be mixed together into the new raised beds to make a garden that should grow superbly!
     
  16. JanaKaye

    JanaKaye Active Member

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    Q-Links,
    I am also intending to use those large buckets that cat litter comes in. I'm going to try a few upside down tomatoes in them (subject was posted here on HT a while back). One advantage of these buckets is that they have a nice sturdy handle and can be hung if you have a convenient place that gets sun - not just for upside down, but tomatoes would hang beautifully from it upright! Those buckets sure are handy!!! Very heavy though when full!
     
  17. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Janakaye...that is a great idea!