Hi my name is Ed and im new to this group.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and have a small yard. I want to put in
a couple of Raised garden beds. I would appreciate any advice on
growing vegetables in raised gardens and any ideas on plans for raised
In a nutshell,
0) location, location, location. Full sun, even if the soil is poor.
You can always make good soil by adding tons of compost. And as close
to the house as feasible.
1) you need bed edges. I think the simplest option is cinder blocks,
buried a few inches to discourage weed rhizomes from coming in. You can
fill the holes in the cinder blocks with soil and put a plant in
there.The blocks will gently lime the soil.
2) you need paths between the beds, else you will have weeds in there
constantly coming into your beds. Simplest thing is lay down some
plastic sheeting, tucked under the cinder blocks, and cover with
gravel. This will also keep your boots relatively clean.
Path width should be so that you can maneuver a wheelbarrow with ease.
3) bed size. 4 feet is the standard width, and for multiple pickings
(say, peas or tomatoes) you should not exceeed it, if anything, go
lower. For single pickings (like, cabbage) you can go wider than 4 ft.
Length can be anything but unless you can get very organized, you may
end up spending a lot of time walking around the beds. I suggest 20 ft,
or longer with a stepping stone in the middle for quick changes of
4) bed height. variable because you will be adding organic material
continuously. Start with at least two inches of manure, if you can get
Soil: start with a soil test to get an idea of what is there and what
is missing. Then if P is missing, add bone meal or phosphate, etc. If
the soil is too sandy or too clayey, expect the soil to improve over
two or three years, with overall addition of organic matter of order
one foot (will compact down to a few inches). In my beds I put wood
chips, manure, leaves, composted kitchen scraps, cardboard for
smothering last year's surviving veggies, and wood ash. Good soil is
not made in a day.
Existing vegetation in beds: smother with cardboard or newspapers
tucked under cinder blocks. Remove larger shrubs, including roots.
Irrigation: drip strongly recommended, unless you enjoy spending time
with a hose in your hand. Believe it or not, it is not difficult to
Fencing: as needed, once pests are recognized. Do not go incremental,
or you will train them. If you decide you have groundhogs, put up a
partially buried fence with electric wire on top. You need to stop them
cold. Put up only a fence, and they will learn to scale it, or dig
Then buy one of many excellent books about organic vegetable gardening
out there and start experimenting. Depending on sun exposure, climate,
and soil, not everything will grow well on your site. Learn to
appreciate what grows well if you want gardening happiness. I am now
very fond of red cabbage and beets, though I used to hate them. In your
area, winter vegetables are an option, so that you can have veggies
continuously through the year (I need poly tunnels over the beds to
make it happen).
I'd use lava rock instead of plain gravel. The sharp edges discourage
slugs (a biiiiig NW problem) and even the neighborhood cats don't like
to walk on it.
Other than that, I agree with the response.
You (the original poster) might want to look into square foot gardening.
I've used it (albeit not rigorously) in my raised beds and it does cut
down on the work.
I used to have a big slug problem. But with a yearly scattering of
sluggo in May they are mostly gone. Garter snakes, recently very
abundant at my site, may have helped too. In fact, I have not even
tried methods I saw posted here, like hair of some sort around the base
of the seedling, wood ash, or the now very popular coffee grounds as
poison. Lava rock tip duly noted.
I live in Vancouver, BC, so probably very similar climate. I built raised
beds last year. This year I'm tearing them down and building a retaining
wall around the entire garden area to raise and level my garden a bit. IMO,
if you have enough space to build as many beds as you want, then raised beds
are a great idea. But if, like me, you have a fairly limited area, then
raised beds and the paths between them seem to be a relatively inefficient
use of space. This year I'll be able to grow significantly more stuff, and
I'll have more flexibility in layout.
I'm in Spokane and use raised beds. Built them from 2x12's and put a 2x2 in
eaxh corner to screw into then had a load of dirt brought in to fill the
beds. They have worked great, last year I added PVC hoops to them and made
mini-hothouses and was able to plant some of my veggies in early march and
start with a first harvest by mid April.
They are lengths of 1" pipe. I used condiot brackets on the outside of the
beds and slip them down into those. I use 5 pipes for an 8" bed, use 3/4"
poly sprinkler pipe cut into about 2" lengths and split down the side as
clips to keep the plastic or netting on.
I'm not sure what you mean by conduit brackets. But I like your
system. I'm using clothes pegs at the moment. I'm just hopeful a
load of pipe will fall off a truck soon. ;-))
il Mon, 31 Jan 2005 11:34:14 -0800, "Bob Clark" ha scritto:
Loki [ Cheap is good, free is better... ]
What I mean is the kind of bracket/hangar that is used to attach emt type
conduit to a wall, kind of a half circle with a flat spot on either end
where you can screw through it. The pipe was the cheap part and attachments
were the cheap part.
I built a cover for my raised beds with 2x2s. cut away 1/2 the thickness of
each end of each board 1 1/2", so that when they overlap it forms a joint.
screw 1/4" bolt 5 or so inches long through one of the boards into the other
(pre-drill) at an angle so the head points up and slightly angled toward the
center of the resulting rectangle. The bolt should not go all the way
through the second board. Arch 3/4" schedule 40 PVC pipe or conduit from one
corner to the diagonal opposite corner, sliding it down over the bolts at
each end. Where the pipe crosses in the middle, attach one to the other with
tape, cord, wire, or a cable clamp. Make sure any sharp edges are on the
Wrap plastic over the whole thing, folding it over on the ends to take up
the slack. wrap it around the 2x2 towards the inside and staple it on the
top of the 2x2 from the inside. Use UV resistant PVC if you can find it.
il Tue, 1 Feb 2005 14:14:08 -0800, "Bob" ha scritto:
Pictures at 11? :-)) How's it handle high winds, say 140 kph? We've
been getting a lot this year. 80-120 kph gusts were more common but
sometimes it went higher. I guess short stakes in the ground would
work as well as bolts in wood.
Nice explanation, thanks.
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
You'd want something a lot stronger than PVC and plastic for that kind of
winds. The advantage over the stakes is that you can pick it up and move it
from bed to bed, or just lift an edge to work. YMMV.
il Wed, 2 Feb 2005 16:11:58 -0800, "Bob" ha scritto:
Well, the winds died down and were replaced with unseasonal humid wet
weather (summer!) but no doubt they'll start up near the equinox
again. My stakes were only going to be short stumpy things. With
really high winds I threw a giant piece of shade cloth over all my
seedlings and mini cloches and that stopped too much battering. But
short of buying a polytunnel a bit of juryrigging gets me through. I
imagine some guyropes on the tunnels would help wind stability.
Maybe having plastic that overlapped at some point on the side would
mean easier access or even removing part to let heat out and
circulate air (rather than one sheet that covered the full
hemisphere). Lots of possibilities for someone to mess around with.
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
Hey, a fellow raised garden bed gardener here. I have 5 raised beds and
might add on this year. Mine are 8' x 10' x 8" and 8' x 20' x 20"; I
have 2 of the smaller beds and 3 of the deeper beds for a total of 5
beds. Last year was my first official year for raised bed although I
had smaller semi-raised beds in the past. Here's what I found on raised
beds from my experiences:
- raised bed take less room and less effort after they are established
- raised beds take less water yet provide better drainage
- productivity is increased significantly
I went organic and used the square foot method. The square foot method
works really well with raised beds.
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