Ask a Question forum: Raised garden and grass

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Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Feb 23, 2017 9:06 PM CST
I'm considering starting a raised bed garden over existing grass in my yard. I wish to know if doing so will kill the grass since it will not be receiving any sunlight.
Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 23, 2017 11:37 PM CST
Welcome! We did it for our DD. But we did a "Lasagne" bed, layering 3-4-5 pieces of cardboard over the grass before putting soil + amendments on top. The grass died. The plants thrived.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 24, 2017 9:45 AM CST
Are you describing a containerized raised bed on legs, above the grass? In this case, I would think the grass might survive just fine growing in the shade of the bed. Or you could grow some pots of shade loving plants like impatiens or begonias in the shady area under the bed if the grass starts to look sad.

If you're putting down a raised bed in the traditional sense - a frame of boards or some other border sitting on the ground and filled up with soil - then yes, it will for sure kill the grass and you will want it to. If it doesn't kill the grass, you will be forever weeding grass out of your bed. Advise you make it at least 10 inches high for good drainage as well as good depth of new soil for your new plantings.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 24, 2017 2:10 PM CST
Newg. Welcome!
If you have an evasive grass like say bermuda. It will find its way all the way up. Even on the sides or ends of bed.
If so. Get rid of all grass plus a perimeter to be kept grass free.
Dont think a weed barrier.
A weed barrier wont last.
I know bermuda ! all to well ###
It grows through pool liners.๐Ÿ˜ฎ
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Feb 24, 2017 3:08 PM CST
If it is bermuda grass, I agree with Phillip. Destroy it first. No barriers will keep it from invading your beds.
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Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Feb 24, 2017 9:56 PM CST
Thank You! ShaddyGreenThumb, dyzzypyxxy, Phylipwonel, & plantmanager for the answers. I was afraid my traditional raised bed would kill the grass. But, Dyzzypyxxy said something about raised bed on legs, something I never considered before. Now I have to rethink my raised bed. I think 12" high legs should work fine.

I have no idea what type of grass I have. Can anyone suggest how I can find out?

Thanks Thank You!
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 24, 2017 10:15 PM CST
You need to let us know what part of the world you are in, first. Different grasses grow in different climates. There's a place in your profile to fill in your city/state/country so it will come up in your posts.

Then, just post some pictures of your grass, close-ups would be good. If we can't ID it from a picture, take a sample - sort of a cross-section slice preferably, to your County Extension service and they'll be able to tell you for sure.

As far as the bed raised up on legs, I've seen them for sale at Gardener's Supply. Just go to their site www.gardeners.com and click on "Raised Beds" to see what I was thinking of. If you're going to raise your bed up on legs, why not make it at standing height so you don't have to bend over? It will have to be very sturdily built to support the weight of wet soil and plants, something like the VegTrug planter?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 25, 2017 8:07 AM CST
Oh, sorry. I thought you were wanting to get rid of the grass. Oops. Some lawns grow well in shade. Our St.Augustine does not. How about taking a sample into your local nursery?
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 26, 2017 10:50 AM CST
I agree with Elaine. I'm going to build an elevated raised bed for my sister, her knees and back, prevent her from bending or kneeling.
Top of bed will be at height that she wont have to bend her back. Thumbs up
Have fun ๐Ÿ˜ ! Ohhh ! And send us pictures ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Mar 10, 2017 7:17 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy thanks for the advise. I have already built my elevated raised-bed garden box. Per your suggestion it is resting on five two-foot high legs. It is 16 square feet and about 6 inches high (designed it so that the sides can be easily replaced or added to).

I'm using the Square Foot Garden (by Mel Bartholomew) method to plant my vegetables and flowers. I found that this size box and elevated two feet I'm able to reach the center from any side.

The only thing not yet installed is the trellis - waiting to warm up a little.

By the time I read your post it had snowed so I wasn't able to photograph the grass,
but at this point it may not be necessary to identify the grass.

Philipwonel hope these two photos help you a little.

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Again, thank you all for your ideas and suggestions . . . certainly more informative than my local "Garden Club" which seems to be more of a social club than a garden club - went to a meeting and nothing was discussed regarding any actual gardening. However, I did get some information regarding web pages to look into and where I can have the soil tested (had I decided to replace the grass and plant in the ground). I decided on a elevated raised-bed garden because last season I didn't notice any, or very little, weeds which hinted (to me, at least) that herbicides were probably used in the past, and I wish to grow organic vegetables.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 10, 2017 8:38 PM CST
That's a nice looking box, but I wish you'd asked for more advice on the size, because in my opinion you've made it much too shallow.

It will be fine for growing small plants like greens, and maybe beets and possibly some bush beans but anything bigger is going to need at least twice that depth of soil. Tomato plants will need even more - 18inches would be good.

Any way you can saw the legs down shorter, and add another layer of planks to the sides? That would make it twice as deep. You may need more support legs in the middle, too because of the weight of the soil when it's wet, plus the plants.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 11, 2017 10:25 AM CST
New g. !!! Good job. Good job ! Thumbs up

Thanks for pictures. ๐Ÿ˜
A couple suggestions.
A paver under each leg. Personally i would pave whole area. No grass to contend with. Thumbs up
You may need more legs, depending how thick bottom of bed is. If those legs are 2x4s. I would defiantly and more legs.
You definatly need it deeper. At least 16 inches or more. Thumbs up

๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Mar 15, 2017 9:17 PM CST
As for the size I used the suggestion from "Square Foot Gardening" however, I forgot to take into account that in my box the roots cannot get deeper than 6 inches and would spread out. However, I did have the foresight to leave space on top of the inner supporting post "just in case I may want to increase the sides." Good thing I did! See photo.

Dyzzypyxxy yes, I will be adding 11.5" more to the sides (for an actual height of 17"), will add an additional 2" x 4" in the middle - I think I can get away with the four single 2" x 4" on the corners as they are mounted with the long side (4") aimed toward the middle. Before shortening the five legs I'm going to add a single 11.5" plank and see how easy (or not) it will be for me to reach the center of the box.

Philipwonel what type/size of paver would you suggest? Unfortunately I'm renting and the landlord doesn't want me to remove the grass and pave the area unless I'm willing to replace the cement with grass should I ever move. Also, the house blocks a lot of sun and I'm not sure if I'll get 8 hours of sunshine once the trees get their leaves. I'm thinking of the possibility of moving my box next season depending on the spring/summer sunlight in that area.

The bottom of the box is 3/4" non-pressure treated plywood covered with weed-reducing cloth. The bottom has 20 one-half inch drain holes (see photo). Do you think I should add more?
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 16, 2017 10:38 AM CST
Newgirl ๐Ÿ˜Ž loking good Thumbs up
You asked ! So hear i go !
Holes ! I'd go about every 4 inches.but i would go 3/4 inch holes, about every 8 inches.
Plywood is not really great, 1 b'ys , or, best 2 b'ys. Just take you some old paint, any ol kind , and paint all of inside. Bugs dont like paint and it will preserve wood and especiallyest ! Keep plywood from seperating, somewhat.
Pavers. Use something you have around, or buy a few steping stones, or block wall caps.
Try to figure out where you will get most sun. Your not gonna want to move bed when its full of soil.
Unless you have several young men to do it.### ๐Ÿ˜ฌ###
Part of my garden gets 8 hrs sun and part only 6 hrs. Plants just dont produce as well, as if they had full sun.
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Mar 31, 2017 4:37 PM CST
Green Grin! Philipwonel thanks for your input. I've never been happier to have it snow before. That's because it visually showed me what you guys were referring to: I saw how wobbly my five legs were using five single 2x4s & mounted with 90-degree angle brackets.

I dismantled it, increased the sides to 17 inches. Added a bunch more drain-holes (couldnโ€™t find my 3/4" wood bit so added more 1/2โ€ holes), am now considering how to better mount the feet. By-the-way, I also bought 5 paver stones.

Iโ€™ve made a not-to-scale partial model of what I think Iโ€™m going to use for support: two 2x4s at 90-degree to each other at each corner; the inner one is going to be about 18โ€ high (where the base of the box is going to rest) attached to a second (outer) 2x4 about 24โ€ high. The inner 2x4 will be connected to a 2x4 running the length of the base, on all four sides, and two single 2x4s running the middle of each 4โ€™ sides (forming a โ€œ+โ€).

Iโ€™m a really bad artist so I wonโ€™t attempt to create a drawing, but this design is clear in my mind.

Iโ€™m also going to further create sturdiness by having either 3/4" or 1โ€ dowel closer to the ground, but not touching it, because Iโ€™m hoping to be able to run the lawn mower under the box. The dowels will be placed in a hole in the corner 2x4s and screwed in place.

Questions:
1) What do you think of the dowel idea for more steadiness?
2) Any suggestion on how high off the ground I should install the dowels? (I can live without having the mower fit under the box).
3) What do you think of using 3/4" vs. 1" dowels?
4) If I screw the 24" 2x4s to the sides of the box, should I also screw the base to its supporting 2x4, since I would like to have the ability to move the box, if necessary?
5) Would it be better if I used two 2x4s at each corner?

See photos, I hope they make my description a little easier to understand.

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[Last edited by Newgardener2k1 - Jun 26, 2017 8:57 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1402612 (15)
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Apr 1, 2017 7:15 AM CST
Hi there girlfriend ๐Ÿ˜
I dont understand. Quite what your doing. You got it taken apart. So do this.
You want 4- 4 x 4s for legs, cut them the lenght from ground to top of your box. Lets say 36 inches long. How ever high you want top of box.
Screw the side boards to the outsides of the 4 x4s.

On inside of 4 x 4s , at bottom of your box put 4 - 2 x 4s, around, to support bottom. You'll want a 2 x 4 going across center , to support bottom, and to attach center leg.
Now ! Hurray! Your ready to put bottom in.
Got it girlfriend Thumbs up ๐Ÿ˜
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Apr 24, 2017 4:41 PM CST
Sorry for the delay, been busy rebuilding my elevated raised bed box. Philip took your advice and used several 2x4s for each leg and a single 2x4 under the bottom of the box. Being short I even built a 2-step stool to help me rea h the top of the trellis. Now to work with the seedlings.

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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Apr 25, 2017 9:26 AM CST
Beautymass Girlfriend :thumbsup:
THATS !!! What i call a bedframe. Hoo hoo hoo ! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ great job !
All ready to plant AND ! Trellis up, and waiting for something to grow up on. You got me a drooling.
NOW .... What you gonna grow ?
I cant wait to see more pictures as it grows, and grows. Thumbs up
Hears my garden on march 11th of this year. Snow peas on left, producing well. Today there on the downside. They croak out when weather gets to warm. New Zeland spinich in foreground, its perrinall. My summer stuff. Is just coming up from direct seeding.
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Giovanni
East Stroudsburg, PA (Zone 5b)
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Newgardener2k1
Apr 27, 2017 6:25 AM CST
I think I find preparing seedlings more intimidating than building (& rebuilding) the bed. Thank you not only for the kind words, but for all of your suggestions.

Having said that, this year I MAY be planting from pre-seeded plantings & from seeds next year. I'm going to plant tomato, basil, Romaine lettuce, string beans, eggplant, scallions, don't want to overwhelm myself. I will be more than happy to post those photos also.

I like your setup. I noticed that you have fencing to protect your garden. Do you think I need one around my box? There is a hurricane fence around the yard, I think that should hold back deer, squirels & rabbits may be another thing.
[Last edited by Newgardener2k1 - Apr 27, 2017 6:28 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1426221 (19)
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 27, 2017 3:34 PM CST
Fencing will keep out rabbits for the most part, too. Squirrels can climb anything, and you'd need to cage your whole bed with chicken wire to keep them at bay. Not worth it.

Maybe put out a little bird feeder somewhere far away from your veggie bed. Squirrels prefer bird seed to almost anything else. As long as my bird feeder has seeds they don't bother any of my vegetables. The mangoes, on the other hand, are their favorite food.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill

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