Raised Bed Gardening

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Maggie, May 8, 2004.

  1. Maggie

    Maggie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Help! I need information about gardening in raised beds. We are moving our garden area this year and don't know all the "in's and out's" of raised beds. Do you just add soil over the existing ground? What do you use for soil? Is there a barrier between the ground and the soil you add? ANY help, ideas, or links would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks, Maggie
     
  2. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm sure there's as many way to make raised beds as you could possibly dream up. Our are made from untreated pine, 2x12's, 8'x4' and 8'x2'. I have weed mat beneath them.

    We filled each bed with 4 cubic ft. of peat moss, 100lbs of cottonseed hulls ( from the feed store, and way cheaper than vermiculite, if you can even find it) and the remainder in compost and bottom soil from down by the creek. Had I been able to get it, I would have used aged manure instead of any soil.

    I add all our rabbit manure straight into the beds. They're super nice and friable.
     

  3. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    We built some "beds" out of cardboard boxes, filled with a mix of manure, top soil, leaf mulch and grass clippings. The others were built right on top of the existing surface (we mowed) starting with a few layers of newspapers, maure, grass clippings. leaves and top soil.
     
  4. Jimmy Mack

    Jimmy Mack Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good was to build raised beds, but in most cases there's no need to bring in more soil. Double dig the beds by removing the top layer of soil in foot wide strips with a shovel. Then break up the lower layer of soil real good with a garden fork. Then replace the top layer of soil. This will help create mounds of well draining, fluffy soil.

    Compare how deep your getting with the tips of your fork ~ like 2.5 feet! ~ compared to the depth of a rototiller ~ like only 8 inches! ~ your loud neighbor is using :D :D :D Bear in plant roots of vegetable plants can go up to 10 feet deep or more in the garden bed!!!

    To determine how wide to make your beds, hold hands with a friends (this is the fun part ;) ) and stand as far apart as you can while still holding hands. The distance between the two of you is the width of your beds. The idea is that you should be able to reach into all parts of the garden for weeding and harvesting.

    Lots of choices in edging material from fancy landscape timbers, brick, stone to just plain 'ol straw or mulch to hold the sides of your beds.

    You'll also want to dig in at least 3 inches of compost into your raised beds. Continue to top dress with compost through out the growing season.

    Finally, and this is super important in arid and semi-arid climats, create PLANT WELLS to hold water around your plants. These are reservior areas around the plants. The biggest problem I see with raised beds is that the water so often drains into the path area. PLANT WELLS help conserve water and decrease time spent watering. PLANT WELLS ROCK!!!

    best of luck, Jimmy
     
  5. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    I do a sort of "rough & ready" version of a raised bed; I pile a whole lot of used bedding (straw, alfalfa, pine shavings) mixed with manure (sheep, chicken) from my barn & bird pens & just dump it where I want the garden to go. Then I push it around on the desired area, to a depth of about 24" or so, put a chicken wire fence (dug into the ground) around it, & water it really good. Give it 4-6 weeks to break down, & you can plant stuff in it. I may lay some old planks down to walk on, if it's wider than I can reach over the fence. The mulch smothers the weeds/grass, & it rots into a nice fluffy, rich soil; the soil here is mostly a poor clay, with arid conditions, so the mulch also holds moisture better, while not waterlogging the plants (being above the natural soil level.) Here's some of my herbs growing in this mix: [​IMG]
     
  6. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shahbazin, do you just pile it up on existing ground/grass or do you remove the grass/weeds whatever is there :) first? We have tons of straw as we use it for bedding in the floors of our barns and coop. I'd like to try that.
     
  7. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    I just dump it right on top of the grass :) The only shoveling I do is to load it in the wheelbarrow to begin with. If the weeds where I want it to go are really tall, I might mow there 1st.
     
  8. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm in the midst of mucking out stalls now, guess what I'm going to be trying!!!! LOL