Ideas, Raised garden

I have mentioned this before but not gotten to it yet. Real life sometimes intrudes!
What i want is to build a flush to the ground, and open to the ground at the bottom, TALL LONG raised garden. I am looking at 36ft long, about 2ft tall, and about 2ft deep.
Short of 144 cinderblocks, how would the rest of you go about this? The height is so I dont have to bend over much (back issues) but also it will raise the plants so they will look nice through the screened porch (unit going flush to the wall of a long screened porch with a 3ft retainer wall and screen above).
So far ideas are to make basic wood frame and set it on an outer rim of cinderblock to keep the wood out of the damp. Also, lining with heavy industrial plastic in layers so the dirt doesnt leach out too bad.
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on 11/28/2008 6:53 PM cshenk said the following:

Poured concrete? Where are you, and how are the winters there?
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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"willshak" wrote

Well south of you. Norfolk area. Because it's much hotter here, open at the bottom is a good idea so ground water leaches up gently at the worst of the day. Unlike you, we get significant periods of 95F or more from late July-early Sept.
I'm very used to container gardening, having lived much of my life in apartments with no other options. The only thing optional about the height of this unit, is if I want it taller.
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cshenk wrote:

Suggest if you are looking to do that much work, you look into going to hydroponic gardening, which is quite amenable to raised, terraced and other odd configurations, is not at all difficult and has the advantages of significantly lower water consumption, and lower weeding and maintenance as well.
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I was planning to do exactly that before I became disabled. The first problem is the soil at the base of the garden. It needs to be covered by a lining. Plastic is good, old newspaper (8-10 pages thick) is cheaper. Then you are looking a more then a cubic yard of dirt (Heavy labor).
How you frame it is a matter of personal preference. The major problem with personal preference only occurs if you are shacked-up with a woman. Now if you are a tough guy like me, you will do as she says. My woman (who had the nerve to think she had naming rights on my children) insisted on a wooden frame stained in a lighter color then the brick.
Dick
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"Dick Adams" wrote

Old blue jeans cut up would work!

Snicker, since i am SWMBO here, that one is pretty easy. Hydroponics not desired. (sorry Pete C!)
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cshenk wrote:

Before I became disabled, I had both an outdoor garden and a hydroponics indoor garden. Larger tomatoes and peppers indoors. Not rabbits or deer indoors.
But, a hydroponics garden outdoors? Some may, but not I.
Dick
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Not too much for the cinderblocks concept since they are nothing short of butt ugly. My preference would be to build the basic structure using stones and base filled with loose rocks for first 12 inches then fill with well draining soil misture. I have done a similar configuration that also used a number of boulders as well. Using the boulders allows for creation of some additonal texture to the system.
Use the spaces between some of the stones for planting some small trim plants such as small ferns. Its hard to say exactly what the design should look like but with the length you are talking about (36ft) try to give it some character instead of making it a long wall. Use the mesh fabric to line and it will retain the dirt without any problem.
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"BobR" wrote

Grin, was going to paint them dark brown then let the 15YO decorate them with painted flowers and such.

Sounds nice! Bit beyond us though. This isnt a rocky area of the country so I'd have to buy the 'boulders'. Also, was thinking if it's open to the dirt below, will get ground water leaching up which is what we need here. I will need to mortar the blocks at the back (against the house) as we also need a sort of water retaining wall there. Not bad just yet, but in time the water spilling to the porch will damage the exterior wall. We checked and the damage is minimal as of yet. Specs from contractors show we really need a retainer wall there, or we need to re-landscape the whole back yard. It doesnt need to be a high one. 8 inches will be more than enough. Figured i may as well make it something useful ;-)

Plastic should work too though right? See, I have lots of that already so wouldnt need to buy anything.
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buffalo ny: this monster has to be set back onto your property as required by your local law. how expensive will it be regarding its foundation and drainage? adding this anywhere near your home's foundation will create moisture issues. explore the the earth type, water table, rainfall, and each pint of water it holds is a pound added to the weight of the dry dirt. now my back hurts! maybe substitute some sheer decorative quick drying curtains for the screened porch? -b
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"buffalobill" wrote

Good points but the case is a bit different here and we checked on that. Code spc here is if the structure can be moved and isnt within 4 feet of the street, it's legal (no permit required either). Leaving it open to the ground below means the dirt will settle a bit but the water will flow down and out.
The moisture issue is the main concern and this is the recommended fix ;-)
By eyeball, my yard looks pretty flat but actually, on the backside its the low point on all sides to the neighbors so I get all their runoff hitting to the back of the house then flowing down the sides and to the front. (where we are the high ground so it runs off very well to the storm drains).
One of the specs has a very interesting price to build the base for us then we do the wood frame ontop and dirt fill. In that case, they even dig and refoot that section (older code had less footing than new code). We are highly considering have them re-foot that area then make the back side of the mortared block needed, then we finish the rest off. They even agreed to bag up the 'dirt' dug out into heavy weight plastic bags that we can then use as some of the planter filler (mixed with garden soil bags and peat moss).
Oh, OP mentions this is a lot of dirt to handle for something this size and I agree, but the local box store delivers for 70$ per load (1 big flatbed truck) and will stack the stuff in the back yard for no extra charge.
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This is what I did.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc81/digital686/100_0256.jpg
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<That had to hurt> wrote

Neat looking! I have space for something like that too, but we plan to add a shed there instead ;-)
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