Ask a Question forum: Raised Garden Beds

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 762, Replies: 37 » Jump to the end
Charleston (Zone 8b)
Seed Starter
843rphyllis
Mar 9, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Hi There:

I looked around but don't see a thread for raised garden beds. I would like to talk to others about this form of gardening.

Am I missing something, or can we discuss here?
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 9, 2016 4:25 PM CST
Welcome to ATP Welcome!

This is a great place to discuss any type of gardening. Do you have a plan? What are you growing?

I am planning to put a raised bed in this spring for my veggie garden. I have two reasons: To level the ground and to define my space. I plan to use small retaining wall brick ($1.20/piece at HD). As I live on a mountain of sand, I will be adding a lot of compost and a drip system.

Daisy

Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
CommonCents
Mar 9, 2016 4:27 PM CST
This is the "Ask a Question" forum, so by all means, put your subject and message in the form of a question and ask away. ;)

Welcome to All Things Plants.

There was also a thread recently in the Garden Structures forum, "Raised Beds: what do you use for walls?"
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 9, 2016 7:35 PM CST
Phyllis,

I would love to talk about raised beds right here so hope you haven't gone away mad.

Daisy
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 9, 2016 7:43 PM CST
Hi 843rphyllis! Welcome to ATP!

I'll talk about raised beds anywhere.

Do you already have some, and if so, what style do you like best?

I like to amend the soil under my raised beds so the root zone can eventually extend deeper. So mine are really raised-and-sunken beds.

But then I have to improve the drainage so the amended soil that is below grade doesn't become a water-logged mud wallow. My unimproved clay has almost NO drainage, and it takes holes DAYS for a hole to drain empty.

I dig at least a slit trench from the low point of the "sunken" bed to some lower part of the yard. Those can be just a few inches wide. In my case, the width of my mattock blade.

That prevents this:

Thumb of 2016-03-10/RickCorey/9a0a52

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 9, 2016 7:52 PM CST
Wow! Opposite problem here. I dig down about 2 feet and add compost to each planting hole in my raised bed so the plants don't go down a foot and hit pure sand (with a lot of rocks thrown in). Sometimes the water disappears so fast, the plant roots never notice its passing. Smiling

Daisy
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 9, 2016 7:56 PM CST
DaisyI said:... go down a foot and hit pure sand (with a lot of rocks thrown in). Sometimes the water disappears so fast, the plant roots never notice its passing. Smiling ...


Maybe pure clay is easier to deal with than pure sand! I just treat the clay as if it were solid granite - assume ZERO perk.



Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
Image
jimard8
Mar 9, 2016 8:15 PM CST
I am lucky , these are sprouting containers setting on a 8 inch raised bed ,, Forest like ,,
That is , as it began , two or three seasons , of every kind of mulch and leftover potting mixes ground up and piled up and dug in ,
The one across from this is twice as long and has three to four feet deep of forest like top soil all nice and dark looking ,easy to dig in . and full of worms ,,

Saying compost and mulch , is only a polite of a graphic way of saying a dessicated and "poop" load of work and effort ,, (done over time , not so bad though

Thumb of 2016-03-10/jimard8/7941a9

I forgot, that is the result since 2003 , I occasionally do the stack , mix , fork over a few inches ,

In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
[Last edited by jimard8 - Mar 9, 2016 8:25 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1077333 (8)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 9, 2016 8:34 PM CST
I agree - amending soil is a many-year task unless you have truckloads of compost to work with.

But isn't that as it should be? It took Nature millennia to turn mountains into soil. If it takes us a few years to turn it into GOOD soil, so be it.

I like the word "Pedogenesis".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedogenesis
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
Image
jimard8
Mar 9, 2016 8:53 PM CST
I was witting raised means raised though , We use Raised Garden beds for small raised squares ,, Furrows are raised Fields , Mountain plateau , for self watering controls and erosion controls , Every time you had more to add ,, Raised it up still higher ,
Raised means raised , and takes some doing ,

That is a nice article , reminders of history are good ,,
Rick I was looking at that water Hole bed you made thinking something like a mimulus might grow there , Put a rock circle in the middle of the hole , fill it , a water plant bed pot ,

Daisyl Do you have a retention carpet under your raised beds ,? if you said so , I missed it ,

In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 9, 2016 9:52 PM CST
I wonder the same thing every time I see that picture of Rick's. Why aren't you doing water gardening extensively, Rick? You could grow outstanding water lotus, and all sorts of marginals in your low spots . . . Green Grin!

When we moved into this house, I had a landscape guy build me a 3' x 12' raised bed in the middle of the sunny portion of my back yard. My raised bed is 18in. high made of Trex so it doesn't rot and break down, thankfully. I had it built so that I could grow stuff, and weed without so much bending over. We have pure sand, too - not even any rocks here, so drainage is fast.

What I didn't count on was the invasive roots of four huge, HUGE oak trees around our house. Since that raised bed is good, rich soil that's been well amended and fertilized every year for 8 years now, and watered like crazy when things are growing, the oak tree roots have found it, and now, I need to hire someone with a strong back and a will to work to shovel all the dirt around and cut/sift out the oak roots before I can plant any more veggies in there. It, along with all my other border beds are completely inundated with oak roots. I think I'd have to make deep footers around the bed to prevent the oak roots from coming back too.

Moral of the story, sink a barrier of some sort around your raised beds if there are trees anywhere nearby. The tree roots will get in eventually, but not nearly so fast and not so many as I have, if you put down a barrier before you start.

Also, check with your County landfill, if they have a composting program. Most places do, and they make excellent compost. Here, the compost is free but you have to load it and carry it away yourself. In Salt Lake City, where we made a garden on pure clay in my daughter's back yard with 25 pickup loads of compost, they sell it for $25 per load, but they at least load it for you (if you have a truck) with a small bobcat. I would fill raised beds with at least half compost and half topsoil, but 100% compost might be even better, if the soil under the beds is good enough to mix with it.

When you fill your beds, be sure to over fill - mound them up really high, because the soil will settle a lot, and the organic materials like compost will break down substantially over the first summer as well. Where you planted your plants in 10in of soil to begin with, by the end of the summer, you'll find them struggling along in 5in. or less of good stuff.
Thumb of 2016-03-10/dyzzypyxxy/cf3f0b
Above is a pic of a raised bed we put in at the local elementary school. The Boy Scouts installed 6 of them as an Eagle Scout project, and they neatly filled the beds with compost right to the level of the top edge . . . This pic was taken in October, the beds were put in 6 weeks before and you can see how much the soil has subsided already, just from settling and watering. By the end of the school year we had to buy another dump truck load of compost to fill them up again (luckily we had a grant to pay for delivery, the Boy Scouts had gone on to better things by then) as the soil had subsided 6in. in some beds.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Mar 9, 2016 9:56 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1077412 (11)
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
Image
jimard8
Mar 9, 2016 10:11 PM CST
I get about 8 inches for every four feet of Debris stack , ,, Finality after time that is and that is an immensely good rate , .
I would not want to imagine what that might mean , in a open , no carpet under type growing bed ,

Nice project !
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Charleston (Zone 8b)
Seed Starter
843rphyllis
Mar 10, 2016 4:44 AM CST
Great, let's talk about raised beds!

I put my raised garden beds in last year, so this will be the first year I amend the soil, any suggestions as to what combination to use. I have heard to use about a good 2 inches of compost (mushroom?). I also have some earthworm castings. What do you think about adding Beneficial Nematodes, so confusing! Being I didn't have anything growing in the beds over winter, the soil seems so dry. I have 11 beds. I want to use 6 (and a raised bed Trug) for veggies and the rest for flowers. I tilled it very lightly with the yellow "hound dog" tool and got rid of any weeds, so I'm all set for the next step. It's been warm here in Charleston and the 10 day forecast is going to be warm, so I'm just about ready to start to put some plants in the ground Thumbs up



Thumb of 2016-03-10/843rphyllis/f3a7af


Thumb of 2016-03-10/843rphyllis/0cd7c6


Thumb of 2016-03-10/843rphyllis/87ab73


Thumb of 2016-03-10/843rphyllis/bb7e4c
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
Image
Azgarden
Mar 10, 2016 7:51 AM CST
@843rphyllis your garden beds are beautiful & your greenhouses too! I tip my hat to you.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 10, 2016 8:46 AM CST
They look wonderful, Phyllis. My favorite amendment for adding lots of good stuff to the soil is alfalfa pellets. You can buy it in 50lb. bags at any feed store - it is horse food. Be sure to get the pure alfalfa with no additives. If it is bought in smaller amounts as rabbit food they add oil and vitamins to it, which wouldn't help it break down in your soil.

We grow two gardens per year at our school garden, which is very high usage. We amend each bed at the beginning of the semester with about 1/2 bag of alfalfa pellets. But you could add it as you plant as well, about a cup or two for each planting hole is what I use at home It seems to refresh the soil really well, adding lots of organic material and boosting the micro-organisms too. Our stuff grows wonderfully.

Compost is always wonderful, and we have used worm castings too since we got some donated to the school last year. The castings helped a new bed get going really well, but didn't have enough long lasting nutritive value for our tomato plants so I did have to use some fertilizer as well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
CarolineScott
Mar 10, 2016 8:50 AM CST
Yes, you do have a what looks like a really good set up for growing.
Think about growing some plants like legumes which enrich the soil.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 10, 2016 9:56 PM CST
>> Rick I was looking at that water Hole bed you made thinking something like a mimulus might grow there , Put a rock circle in the middle of the hole , fill it , a water plant bed pot ,

>> I wonder the same thing every time I see that picture of Rick's. Why aren't you doing water gardening extensively, Rick? You could grow outstanding water lotus, and all sorts of marginals in your low spots . . .

I want veggies and lots of bright blooms; would bog plants satisfy?

Also, our summers, or 3 months of most summers, are very dry. (Don;t tell anyone, or they'll all want to move here.) I could run a hose to keep the bog boggy, but if i have a sunny spot, I'd rather grow Brassicas or annual flowers. After that, I would like to get some salvias going, but the only perennial salvias I got started didn't survive a forced move out of one bed that a neighbor took back (the prior owner let me add a bed along our common sidewalk, but then she moved out and a crazy neighbor moved. She kicked my bed out, and cut down trees and a FLOWERING AZALEA! Now where my bed was with baby salvias and Lavatera, there is mud and weeds. Starving, ugly, stunted weeds. I took back all the amended soil I donated, too. So there!

My bed was not yet flamboyant, but the Lavatera would have bloomed in another week. And the salvia would have been cool in a few years. I had multiple species, one cultivar each, so I could have collected sees from each with no cross-pollination. There was some room for each species to spread out. I had enough varieties that I gave them code numbers. "Z" for Zinnia, "LOB" for Lobelia. "Lv" for Lavatera. Very few poppies came up, but they might have re-seeded.

Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/1c2314

She wanted the bed gone "instantly". Later I learned that she just seems to hate all living things. And LOVES making trouble.

(But the bed WAS on her side, so she was entitled to kick me out. I gave her cherry tomatoes while moving in - now I wish had sprayed them with the nastiest organo-phosphate insecticide ever made. Bon appetite!)

without my bed:
Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/e61f6a Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/6bea55

with my bed, getting established:
Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/36bf6b Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/b993b7


different perspectives:
Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/716222 Thumb of 2016-03-11/RickCorey/1b1cd7


Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
Image
jimard8
Mar 10, 2016 10:28 PM CST
Rick aren't there Water Leeks and Sagittaria latifolia potatoes ,, latter being kind of edible and flowering ,, Smiling

really nice photo's of raised beds , interesting Hurray!
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Mar 10, 2016 10:49 PM CST
How about water chestnuts? I tried them last year but just as they got going nicely in my fish pond, something took a shine to them and ate them all up! They make nice foliage, not sure about the flowers, mine never got that far. Cannas LOVE having wet feet and will even grow right IN the water. Gorgeous flowers and they are also edible, I just learned.

All I can say about the crazy neighbor lady is "her loss!". Funny how there are negative people like that who just don't get it - how much they miss out on by not taking the positive attitude. Most of them think everyone is like them, but that's because of their whole approach.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Charleston (Zone 8b)
Seed Starter
843rphyllis
Mar 11, 2016 12:10 PM CST
Thanks for the kind words, as you know it's all hard work.

Just came in and had to sit down because my back is killing me from picking up and raking in 10 big bags of compost Grumbling but at least the beds are just about done!
Thumb of 2016-03-11/843rphyllis/dd1a8f


Thumb of 2016-03-11/843rphyllis/f70e4e

Now I have the fun task of putting the irrigation back together. Thumbs down

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by sunnyvalley and is called "Hair-raising"