Raised Gardens

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 gardens.
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Ed wrote:

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 sides.
4) bed height. variable because you will be adding organic material continuously. Start with at least two inches of manure, if you can get it.
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 install.
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 under.
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).
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com says...

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.
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

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.
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The problem there is that *I* hate walking on lava rock, too.
GB
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wrote:

I like walking bare foot in my garden.
Gravel or lava rock....ewwwww!
Penelope, weed paper and mulch in my garden paths.
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"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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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.
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g'day ed,
i'm in a different climate than you are but i have details and pic' on my site in my garden section that shows how i do it.
len
snipped
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happy gardening
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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.

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il Fri, 28 Jan 2005 14:55:51 -0800, "Bob Clark" ha scritto:

What sort of PC hoops do you use? Specially made or just pipes? I
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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.

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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:

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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.

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il Tue, 1 Feb 2005 11:11:55 -0800, "Bob Clark" ha scritto:

Gotcha. Those brackets would only work for raised beds, or ...hmmm... I'll have to muse on this. I like especially the split half pipe idea. :-)
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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 bottom.
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.
Bob
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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.
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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.
Bob
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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. ;-)
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Ed wrote:

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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