Ask a Question forum: Raised beds/sinking dirt

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Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 28, 2017 2:51 PM CST
I built raised beds for irises and daylilies last spring. The plants are coming up beautifully, but the dirt has sunk quite a bit over the winter. Any ideas how I can get more dirt UNDER the plants? They should start blooming next month, so I sure don't want to pull them out now. Should I just wait and pull them after bloom season to add dirt to the beds?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Mar 28, 2017 4:26 PM CST
I wouldn't 'pull' them but lift a little and stuff dirt underneath. If you lift the whole root ball, they shouldn't even notice they have been moved. You may have to do it on all sides to keep the plant sitting straight.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 28, 2017 6:11 PM CST
Thanks, Daisy. I'll give it a shot! Thank You!
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 28, 2017 11:54 PM CST
Depending on the depth of your raised beds if 6" or more, I would leave them alone this season and add more soil/compost in the Fall.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 29, 2017 7:07 AM CST
It is 12" deep, so that was what I was thinking. Thanks! Thank You!
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 29, 2017 8:37 AM CST
I agree with yardman.
When they go dormant. Thumbs up
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 29, 2017 9:06 AM CST
Thanks, Philip! I don't see how I could lift plants and push dirt under them, so I think waiting until they're dormant and pulling them out at that time is the only way to go. Thanks!! Thank You! Thank You!
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 29, 2017 9:21 AM CST
Your welcome , Barbalee ! 😁 Thumbs up
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Mar 29, 2017 3:10 PM CST
Barbalee ...

Waiting is fine, but take a moment to think about why your bed is sinking, then when you work on the bed again in the fall, you can make some adjustments in how you prepare the bed for next year.

The reason your bed "sank" is that the compost you put in to prepare the soil for your raised bed decomposed. Poof ! It's gone. The bed sank.

Now that you know the compost you used will decompose and disappear, you need to add material that will not decomposed as readily to your soil mix for the bed and / or mound up the soil in the bed significantly to compensate for the disappearing compost ... Smiling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 29, 2017 6:49 PM CST
Smart thinking, Lyn! I'm sure you're absolutely right. While it was originally filled with a mixture of compost, perlite, and soil, I'll add just a mix of soil and perlite when I add to it. Thank You!
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Mar 29, 2017 7:36 PM CST
Barbalee .... it really wasn't smart thinking ... Rolling my eyes. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

Gardening does have a way of keeping us humble ... Smiling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 30, 2017 5:25 PM CST
RoseBlush1 said:Gardening does have a way of keeping us humble ... Smiling


Total truth!! Big Grin

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Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
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mnmat
Mar 30, 2017 6:08 PM CST
When I fill my raised beds I usually fill them to the very top and even mound the dirt in the middle to compensate for shrinkage. Then if it doesn't shrink enough and I have to remove some I use the extra in the beds or find more pots to fill after adding perlite and vermiculite.
Meri
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 30, 2017 8:15 PM CST
I sure wish I had done that, Meri! I didn't recognize that it would shrink...now I know better!
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 31, 2017 1:35 AM CST
Soil amendments like compost get used up. Plants use them, worms use them, microbes use them. That is what they are converting to energy. That's why it is good to add a couple inches of the stuff each year.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Mar 31, 2017 2:28 AM CST
Yup ... and they also disappear ... Whistling
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 31, 2017 3:33 AM CST
RoseBlush1 said:Yup ... and they also disappear ... Whistling


I meant that surface compost gets brought down into the lower soil by mechanical actions like frost heave, worm action, leaching through rainfall, and microbial spread.

What did you mean?

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Mar 31, 2017 9:16 AM CST
Yardenman said:

I meant that surface compost gets brought down into the lower soil by mechanical actions like frost heave, worm action, leaching through rainfall, and microbial spread.

What did you mean?



Yardman ... your post was an accurate description of the process of both the advantage of using organic materials in a bed and how it gets used up.

My post was supposed to be taken as humorous comment.

That lesson learned the hard way ? Oh ... I am still fixing it. I put in way too much organic material when I planted a bed. I really, really wanted to improve some lousy soil. When it sank, it really sank. Yup, I got the worms, good bacteria, an much better soil. But now I have a serious low spot in the garden. The plants are happy, but their roots go down three feet. Lifting them is NOT an easy task.

Ooops ... *Blush*

I do add OM every year for the plants, but it does not fix my novice error ... Sighing! It does keep the worms and the plants happy.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b)
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Barbalee
Mar 31, 2017 9:46 AM CST
And one can't just put a few inches on top, at least not with daylilies and irises as that would bury the crowns and rhizomes. I'll have to pull the plants, add more good stuff and replant them, darn it!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 31, 2017 9:59 AM CST
The lifting and adding method I described above has always worked for me. Yes, it can be done with just one person.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

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