Ask a Question forum: Building a raised garden bed

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Braintree ma
Tbh122
Mar 11, 2018 7:36 AM CST
Currently we have a small garden alongside our driveway that has been pretty good with growing our vegetables. Our only issue has been weeds and the overall "look" of it, so we decided this coming season to build a raised garden basically on top of it. When building is it ok to lay some type of weed block down on the soil that is currently there to keep weeds from entering the soil we put into the newly raised beds? Not sure if putting a weed block down before adding new soil will hurt any growth or anything with planting this season and if not any recommendations on which type of weed blocker to use? Not sure if it matters but we are zone 6B.
Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 6b)
ellenr22
Mar 11, 2018 7:40 AM CST
when you say "weed block" not sure if you are referring to a chemical weed block? When I do a raised bed, I put down cardboard, and then soil. Cardboard keeps most of the weeds down, and as it decomposes, the roots will find their way through. If you do this, tho, be aware of the celophane tape that is used in many cardboard boxes, and get rid of that before you put it down.
Braintree ma
Tbh122
Mar 11, 2018 8:12 AM CST
ellenr22 said:when you say "weed block" not sure if you are referring to a chemical weed block? When I do a raised bed, I put down cardboard, and then soil. Cardboard keeps most of the weeds down, and as it decomposes, the roots will find their way through. If you do this, tho, be aware of the celophane tape that is used in many cardboard boxes, and get rid of that before you put it down.



Sorry should have been a little more specific... not a chemical but something like cardboard or I was thinking of putting a landscaping weed barrier fabric down first.

Name: ellenr
New Jersey, USA (Zone 6b)
ellenr22
Mar 11, 2018 10:40 AM CST
I've never used the weed barrier fabric.

I would be concerned that over time -- will it decompose?

What I like about newspaper and cardboard- besides that they are free! - is that they really draw worms. I don't know why. Esp. newspaper. Where ever I put down newspaper always has more worms. (they like the NYTimes).



Tbh122 said:


Sorry should have been a little more specific... not a chemical but something like cardboard or I was thinking of putting a landscaping weed barrier fabric down first.



Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 11, 2018 11:10 AM CST
Could help you better if we knew how deep your beds are going to be ?
And, especially important ! What type of evasive grasses or weeds you have, do you have anything like Bermuda grass, that grows by stolens under the soil,or anything of the like ???

I'm not sure vege roots could grow through fabric weed barrier. So I'd say no to it.
I don't trust cardboard.
A good amount of newspaper, check with newspaper, if they use organic based ink. Plus, use no shiny ads.

On my questions. Get back with us, please. 😀
😎😎😎

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Braintree ma
Tbh122
Mar 11, 2018 11:28 AM CST
Philipwonel said:Could help you better if we knew how deep your beds are going to be ?
And, especially important ! What type of evasive grasses or weeds you have, do you have anything like Bermuda grass, that grows by stolens under the soil,or anything of the like ???

I'm not sure vege roots could grow through fabric weed barrier. So I'd say no to it.
I don't trust cardboard.
A good amount of newspaper, check with newspaper, if they use organic based ink. Plus, use no shiny ads.

On my questions. Get back with us, please. 😀
😎😎😎



Planning on the bed to be approximately 1.5' to 2' above what is there now. Typically the weeds we have are mostly purslane although there is some grass type weeds growing around here and there, where the garden is used to be part of the yard until we removed a lot of it for a driveway so I'm assuming what grass we see there is from the driveway construction pushing it around.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 11, 2018 4:23 PM CST
Well, Humm ? 24 inches, is deep enough to grow most all veges.
So! Since you don't know weeds or grasses, besides purselane. I would, ERR ! On the side of precaution. Put weed barrier fabric on ground first, so it extends a few inches beyond perimeters of outside of beds.
And, keep all weeds that come up around bottoms of beds sprayed with Round-up, or equivalent.

Then ! By the time fabric degrades !
The evasive, grasses and weeds, will, all ! Bee ! Bye, Bye !!!👍

Happy Gardening 👍😀😀😀
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 11, 2018 10:26 PM CST
I first remove any weeds, then lay down contractor-grade landscape fabric - two layers. The one with the brand name Preen is my first choice but Sam's Club has a good one with the Member's Mark brand. I then add cardboard, as much as I can drag home in my little car.

Inside the raised bed, I put a liner that I sew from the same landscape fabric. It's a lot of work done up front that saves a ton of work later. And it sure helps when all of a sudden it becomes necessary to move the entire garden 8 miles away to a new property. Rolling on the floor laughing
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Mar 12, 2018 12:10 PM CST
You also could consider elevated raised beds. With beds off ground, no worry about any evasive weeds, plus, you'll have less weeds altogether, and build them tall enough so you don't have to bend over to garden. That's a BIG PLUS to me !👍😀! Hurray!

Ttfn 😀
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Mar 12, 2018 1:24 PM CST
I put in raised beds three years ago. Threw the topsoil right on the grass. The only problem I had was one purple SOB (polite name escapes me) that was growing next to bed which grew under and came up. I dug out the dirt outside the bed, pulled every bit of root I could find and laid black plastic and put the dirt back. Pretty much ended the intrusion. Now I just get some "regular" weeds here and there blown in. I mulch with grass clippings and compost which keeps the weeds pretty sparse.

First year I was a little disappointed with the topsoil they delivered, but over time with compost, etc., it really perked last summer. Now if it would just get to spring!
Braintree ma
Tbh122
Mar 12, 2018 1:29 PM CST
Philipwonel said:You also could consider elevated raised beds. With beds off ground, no worry about any evasive weeds, plus, you'll have less weeds altogether, and build them tall enough so you don't have to bend over to garden. That's a BIG PLUS to me !👍😀! Hurray!

Ttfn 😀
😎😎😎


I was considering that but I've always had some hesitation with an elevated bed only because in my mind I have always thought that the plants would not grow as well as compared to directly in the ground, thinking the ground would have more nutrients and better drainage, etc. Sounds silly, I know, but I might try a small elevated bed for some herbs or something easy and small.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 12, 2018 4:07 PM CST
You've already discovered the magic of cardboard & newspaper!

The keys to success are making sure there are no sharp sticks or stumps that will puncture the cardboard or (many layers of) newspaper, overlapping the seams very generously, covering with enough soil &/or OM so that the light is blocked and the weight of it prevents anything from pushing up, and using a shovel to cut all around the edge at least 4" deep, to sever the ties that might connect live roots outside the smother to others inside the smother area. Surrounding the bed with a hard barrier like bricks or timbers will give you something to weed-eat against, to prevent creeping weeds/grasses from creeping over.

The waiting is the hardest part, waiting to make sure anything under there is dead if you need to puncture to use the spot. If you're able to put enough soil &/or organic matter over it, you won't need to wait.

I hope you never have the odious task of having to remove landscape fabric that has been in place for years. Please spare your future self from this.
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