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Project Raised Beds

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Project by MsDebbieP posted 05-31-2012 08:58 AM 2598 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

May 31/12

Yesterday I was talking with a friend about my raised beds and I thought it would be a good idea to post a project. So here we go.

The Goal
To build a gardening space that would:
  • help keep the animals out of the dirt/plants (that didn’t work)
  • make it easier (on my back) to tend the garden area

The Resources
We were given some old barn boards by a neighbour. That and some long nails was all that was used.
Other items: branches, cardboard, soil

The Design
  • The raised bed is two boards high, giving more height and, thus, less bending as well as an opportunity to be creative and provide a small section at the end for flowers. The top section just rests on top of the bottom frame.
  • In the bottom of the main section is a pile of prunings from the apple tree and other small branches.
  • A layer of soil is on top of the branches.
  • Bags of soil are on top of that.
  • Tobacco Slats are placed across the space to help keep the chickens and cats out of the open spaces.
Rationale Behind the Design
  • the goal was to have flowers at the end of the raised bed – marigolds in particular. I ran out of plants this year so there aren’t any in there – yet. There is a row of wild leeks/onions/garlic (one or two of those options – don’t know which) in the small section.
  • the raised bed was built last year (or was it two years ago, now) and it remained empty and a great place to toss the branches from the apple tree. And so it began.
  • the branches now serve a double purpose: 1) to fill the space, thus requiring less soil to fill it (a costly process) and 2) the branches would, over time, hold and provide a source of water for the garden plants (that’s what I’m hoping, anyway. Perhaps the branches needed to be thicker and more fibrous.)

The Process
1. build the raised beds. (length to fit the area and width allowing me to easily reach the centre of the bed)
2. add branches.
3. cover the branches with a layer of cardboard.
3. cover the cardboard with a yard of soil – which really isn’t very deep. Not deep enough to grow veggies.
4. add bags of soil on top. The weight helps compact the branches and the soil. Next year I will empty the bags and add another yard of soil if needed, which i probably will need, after the cardboard decomposes and the soil settles, filling in the gaps between the branches. The bags have drain holes cut in the bottom and the planting holes and watering hole in the top.

Lessons
  • one thing that I might do differently in the future is add landscaping cloth around the inside of the wood. This would help keep weeds from growing in through the wood or out – in case the purchased soil had weed seeds in it and it would also perhaps help protect the wood a bit. Of course, you know me – pretty lazy – and the simpler the better so I, honestly, probably won’t do that. But it’s a good idea.

Feedback, Suggestions & Altnernative Strategies Are Appreciated

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)



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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

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10 comments so far

View Rog's profile

Rog

80 posts in 3245 days
hardiness zone 8b

posted 05-31-2012 10:13 AM


Debbie we are on the same wave link here. I build the raised flower boxes to save my back from bending over too.
They are made of 6” x 6” x 6’ tall pressure treaded lumber stained with Austrian Timber oil to match the fence. Incoreperated them into the fence was a way to save space. I lined the bottoms with heavy plastic blue tarps then filled with premium garden soil mix bought by the cubic yard from my local garden landscaping place. The plants are Seedums with French Lavinder and Garlic for punch.

-- Listen quitely and nature will tell you what to do..Open your eyes widely and you will be amazed..

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3318 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 05-31-2012 10:35 AM

I don’t think you’ll be sorry not to have the landscaping fabric in there MsDeb. I have found it to be the biggest nusance ever invented. :)

I realize raised beds require a good depth of soil, so you will probably have to add more eventually, but raised beds really do save your back and discourage weeds. The weeds that do get into the beds are easier to remove too.

BTW MsDeb, don’t give up hope for marigolds. If you plant seeds they tend to grow very quickly…..same for calendula, if you have seed for that as well.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-31-2012 10:37 AM

Rog—-that is BEAUTIFUL .. sure beats my rustic look, that’s for sure!

re: fabric – yes it is evil but I thought if it was just on the sides it might actually work quite well.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Rog's profile

Rog

80 posts in 3245 days
hardiness zone 8b

posted 05-31-2012 02:31 PM

Why on earth would landscape fabric be evil. I have used it in all my gardens. Riverrock garden too. I have very little weeding to do. What weeds do start are on top of fabric and you just pull them out with two fingers and if you let that go use a 30,000 btu propane powered weed burner. What is evil in gardening is the use of chemicals.

“Grow it Green or Go Buy Your Chemical Veggies At Your Local Grocerier Store” Ah yes that is a plug for Green Earth….....

PS Debbie Although mine might be BEAUTIFUL as you put it, yours are more practical for the everyday gardener. Mine are more for the esthetics design. Besides you do so much testing I would go crazy having to build so many of them.

-- Listen quitely and nature will tell you what to do..Open your eyes widely and you will be amazed..

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-31-2012 02:50 PM

straw or leaves mulch is so much easier to work with than the landscape fabric.
And of course don’t forget that I have bindweed and it doesn’t care about landscape fabric. Oh what a mess that is, trying to get it out of the cloth. Argh..

I have three raised beds. One has strawberries in it. One is still unfilled. And this one has peppers in it.
It’s all about rotating the crops. Next year I might have trellis’ installed so I can grow peas in them.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3469 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 05-31-2012 04:00 PM

Good size beds Debbie.It’s always a fun thing to try and decide what you are going to plant in each one.I need a couple more of them here too.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-31-2012 04:56 PM

now if my green thumb would start doing its job and grow some impressive plants, I’d REALLY look good.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 2951 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-02-2012 01:47 PM

I think your raised beds look wonderful and useful, MsDeb. I like the way the old barn boards look. If you find that the corners start to pull apart, we sometimes use the metal corners they sell for decks. It gives the corners more strength. Think about lining the inside of the raised boxes with used cardboard from boxes. You already used it on the bottom, just bend it up around the sides next time.

Rog, your raised bed looks like a work of art. Very nice.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-02-2012 02:20 PM

they sell the corners thru Lee Valley as well.. (probably more expensive, I’d imagine)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Cameron Robertson's profile

Cameron Robertson

10 posts in 1599 days

posted 04-02-2013 08:32 PM

I was going around Australia scouting for new storage locations when I met a couple of mates who are into gardening. One of my mates bought cheap garden storage for his place, and was able to have his items within his reach. He did the same raised beds for his gardens and I find these very good. He was able to do the raised beds well, and we were all seeking his advise in constructing these.

-- Cameron John Robertson - http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/sydney/northern-beaches/

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