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Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

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Project by kindman posted 04-23-2014 04:15 PM 6198 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
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Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Project

The location I live in is VERY rocky… The way I describe it is… If I dig a five gallon hole, I get ten gallons of rocks. (…at least it seems that way)
I moved into my home in ’99 and suffered for almost ten years with what was left of a rotting small raised bed. My vegetable yield was so poor; I finally made up my mind in 2009 to build some raised beds for my vegetable garden.
I started doing research into materials to use, and what I considered was:
• Rocks – Too heavy
• Cinder blocks – Aesthetically un-appealing to me
• Hay bales – Too temporary
• Trex – Not supportive enough, too flexible
• Pressure Treated Lumber – Too many unknowns about the safety of growing food with PTL
• Rough cut pine – Just right

My fantastic wife helped me plan out the garden with the allotted space available…

Our plan was to build five raised beds, two 4’ X 7’ and three 4’ X 8’ beds.
I started out with some rough cut pine from a local (SE New England) saw mill. I ordered 2 X 12s and 4 X 4s in 8 ft. lengths, enough to make what we planned…

With my cut list completed, I used a paint roller and applied boiled linseed oil for protection…

After a day or two of drying, I started the bed construction…

The construction consisted of using the 4×4s inside the corners with three four-inch deck screws coming in from each side.

I ordered a 50/50 mixture of loam and compost from a local landscaper/barkmulch/loam guy. (You know the kind)

When I told him how close I lived to his business… he brought the mix directly over in his bucket-loader… It saved me SO MUCH shoveling…

This project was a resounding success. So successful… many of my indeterminate tomato plants have exceeded 8 ft in height.
Staking an 8 foot tomato plant was quite a challenge, so I constructed a support system… which will be my next project… Stay tuned.

-- Kindman in Rhode Island



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kindman

29 posts in 220 days
hardiness zone 7a

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vegetable structure raised beds rocky soil

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15 comments so far

View jroot's profile

jroot

5067 posts in 2297 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-23-2014 06:25 PM

Excellent work and garden. I really like the boiled linseed oil addition to help prevent rotting. Good call.

You were very fortunate to have the soil supplier so close. So much labour saved.

I see you get not only nice tomatoes, but nice youngsters also. :)

Thanks for posting.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View kindman's profile

kindman

29 posts in 220 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 04-25-2014 04:25 PM

Thank you for commenting, JRoot.
The boiled linseed oil idea was from recommendations on the “Garden Fork” website, back when I was constructing.
The reason I posted that picture of my grandson and I, is because you can see the height of the cherry tomato plants, on either side of us.

I hope it is helpful.

-- Kindman in Rhode Island

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3808 posts in 2296 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-26-2014 03:06 PM

Very nice-looking garden area. And it looks to be very successful too.

You have written up your project in a manner that is interesting and easy to read and to understand for a novice raised-bed gardener. I enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures of your success.

I take it, you have cut the 4×4’s to 12”.....so they sit on top of the existing landscape and the 2×12 are attached to these 4×4’s. This would make the raised bed moveable if you decided to re-locate them. Good idea. I have one raised bed in my backyard and I drove the corner stakes into the ground. (I guess for stability) Now I have thought of moving the bed but the fact it is staked to the ground makes me hesitate.

I would like to create a couple more raised beds, in a different location and I will probably copy your plan. Thanks for posting your project.

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

View kindman's profile

kindman

29 posts in 220 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 04-30-2014 11:09 PM

Iris:
Thank you for the compliments.
I did cut the 4×4s to 12”. They are only for attaching the 2×12s to each other and to combat the expansion and contraction of the wood. As far as moving them? They are heavy (almost 50 board feet of rough cut pine) so you will need help moving them into place initially. Moving them after use would also require some help, but the most difficult part would be moving the soil…

A picture is worth a thousand words… so look at the inside of the closest bed in this pic, you can see the bottom of the 4×4s and 2×12s. I hope this helps…

I was just given a “Mantis” tiller as a gift from a friend, and it works FANTASTIC for mixing in amendments and preparing my beds for spring planting.

Kindman

-- Kindman in Rhode Island

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1063 posts in 2047 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 05-03-2014 12:18 AM

Fantastic looking garden!

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3808 posts in 2296 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 05-03-2014 01:30 AM

I can will imagine it would be quite a job if one ever wanted to move one of these gardens. :) Thanks for reminding me of the the size and the of the amount of soil each one would hold.

A ‘Mantis tiller’! Lucky you. :D

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

View bestofour's profile

bestofour

47 posts in 1252 days
hardiness zone 7b

posted 05-03-2014 03:09 AM

May I ask how many tomato plants you plant in one of the raised beds? Do you use the normal spacing that you would use in a regular type garden?

-- The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet

View kindman's profile

kindman

29 posts in 220 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 05-03-2014 12:25 PM

Bestoffour:
The number of tomato plants is up to you… but for me, in my 8 X 4 beds, I usually plant ten to twelve. Four to five on each side (evenly spaced) and one centered on each end.
So approximately 30 Sq. Ft. of growing space, each plant getting approx. 3 sq. ft.
7 X 4 beds, eight to ten plants.
Annually, my amendments include 10-10-10, bone meal, and pelletized lime.

Good luck,

-- Kindman in Rhode Island

View bestofour's profile

bestofour

47 posts in 1252 days
hardiness zone 7b

posted 05-05-2014 04:44 PM

Thanks. I have 2 raised beds, new this year, that are 4×12. I should be able to plant a lot of tomatoes in there. Yummy.

-- The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet

View Greenthumb's profile

Greenthumb

2287 posts in 2487 days

posted 05-08-2014 03:19 AM

sweet

enjoy them, they are very nice

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View Tony 's profile

Tony

89 posts in 651 days
hardiness zone 9a

posted 05-15-2014 05:41 PM

We live in St Augustine now but we are from Franklin MA. I know about the “rocks” so many rocks you can’t dig without a rock stopping your shovel with every attempt to dig a hole or work the ground. Raised beds are the way to solve that problem. I hope you get many years from you new Pine Box Beds. I they will rot over time but It’s worth all your effort’s so you can enjoy your beautiful garden. I found a sandy spot in our yard and added lot’s of loam and hummus to the sand. We had a cow farm about two miles from us on a country road. I had a delivery of 6 yards of aged cow poop every season to feed our garden. I had him back up and dump the load and I spread it and left it for two weeks to bake in the sun and then I tilled it in. I also had tomato plants that exceeded 8 ft in height. I cut 2”x4”s down the middle and used them to stake the tomato plants up. People would ask “What kind of trees are you growing back there”. LOL!
Thanks for sharing your garden. It’s beautiful!

-- Type-0's are normal for me! St Augustine Florida

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

4 posts in 171 days
hardiness zone 3

posted 05-31-2014 05:46 PM

You are going to have great results with your raised beds, they make all the difference in the world.

-- Love thy neighbor as thyself

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4305 posts in 1929 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-09-2014 11:34 AM

What a beautiful garden you have created! The raised beds look lovely and sturdy, and you obviously have good gardening skills (I can tell by looking at those tomato plants). I think it is wonderful when you can introduce children to gardening; it is a gift that will last their entire lives.

-- "...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 jroot's profile

jroot

5067 posts in 2297 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-09-2014 12:41 PM

I agree, RFG. I think I got my “gardening bug” from my father. I just do it differently. :)

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View nitepagan's profile

nitepagan

89 posts in 482 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 07-11-2014 01:49 AM

I just read a long narrative about linseed oil, http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infpai/inflin.html
It is difficult to draw a conclusion about linseed oil, what I used for my raised beds was cedar decking, it gives you 5.5 inch raised bed, one could stack the raised frames to make a higher raised bed. I used metal 2×6 angle brackets to join the boxed together. Not the best solution for the corners, but think they will hold up good enough. The other wood that comes to mind is hemlock, in Maine, hemlock is available at a good price. I have heard that hemlock draws carpenter ants. Hemlock has good rot resistant properties similar to cedar. The cedar I used is western red cedar available at Lowe’s.

-- Steve, Carmel, Maine, USA (near Bangor) (Hardiness Zone 5a)

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