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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
Nan_PA_6b
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Yes, it does work to keep the grass away. You do neeed to cover the paper with organic matter. Kath describes it well. It doesn't have to be 20" thick; 8" will do.

If you have bermuda grass, well, here on TV I've never seen any way to get rid of that.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
bad.kelpie
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Cardboard works too. Last winter (not this one we just had, but tree previous one), I covered the grass with cardboard, then covered that with alfalfa hay. Then let the rabbit have free reign in there, to help fertilize. Then I fenced it and planted tomatoes. When I dug up the dirt, the previously clay dirt was nice and fluffy and there were worms everywhere. Then I just added grass clippings whenever grass poked through. Easiest garden ever.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
Nan_PA_6b
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If you use cardboard, remove all the tape. Tape doesn't biodegrade. (guess how I know)

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
If you have bermuda grass, well, here on TV I've never seen any way to get rid of that.

Nan

In New England lawn grasses are typically some blend of Rye, Fescue, and Kentucky Blue.

My raised beds were 12" deep and built 5-6 years ago on existing lawn with a layer of landscape fabric over the grass and the beds filled with garden compost from a local nursery. I never had any grass growing through. By now the landscape fabrics is broken down and the grass is long gone.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
taboule
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Thank you so much everyone for your great comments and sharing your experiences.

I know little about lawn and grasses, don't care for the stuff. We pay to grow it, then pay to cut it and remove it - what a waste. So I had to look up Bermuda grass, it seems to be a southern variety. FD is right about that.

So now I have good info to work with and time to decide. Will let you all know as things progress.

======

I got the first germinations yesterday, a few toms, 3-4 days after start. It's a thrill seeing the little things poke their heads up from the peat pucks. So I got very busy setting up shelves and lights, all was disassembled and in boxes.

Seeded a couple of more batches. Geeting there, only have one or two more of tomato varieties and call it done. Trying to keep it small and manageable this year -yeah right ;-)
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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Bermuda grass is a nightmare that should have never been introduced to this country.
It came from the middle east and got here by way of Bermuda.

Worth
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
taboule
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WRT bed dimensions, I discovered this thread yesterday, and it addressed many of the questions I had in mind. Title was "raised bed question ... sort of"

http://tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=46945

Good read and re-read, so no need to duplicate here.

My next decision point on construction of said boxes is the material. I've used PT wood and landscape timbers in the past, for my previous garden. DW and I are now shying away from those materials and moving closer to more organic options. I'm leaning towards homebuilding lumber, 2x10, douglas fir. I’m concerned about longevity, since it will be in direct contact with the ground, on both one side and an edge. Cedar would be preferable, but likely too expensive, even if I can find it. Stone is harder to handle and also more expensive. I’ll need 700~900 linear feet.

Any thoughts on that? What can I expect out of DF before it starts to rot and require some repairs? I realize it wont last forever, how about 5-10 years? Would it help if I treat it with something “natural” like linseed oil?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
dirtdigging101
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why boxes???

i have grow areas not raised beds

edges are like a flower bed containing water soil and nutrients

keep soil mulched

i do put a stake n each corner to keep me from walking in my grow areas

spend money and or time on soil building and not building boxes
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
taboule
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Greetings,

Dirtdigging, that is a very good question. That would have been my preference too, as one of my main objectives is minimal prep work. I may still do that. But I also want the project done and start planting with full capacity this spring. Here are the factors that are pulling me in that direction:

1) I'd like at least 12" total of good soil. I can either go up in height (building boxes) or keep it level (or semi-level, building mounds). which means I'd have to dig out the existing grass and some of the dirt below it, which is of questionable quality considering that the lot probably got bulldozed over when it was developed. I suspect only a thin layer of topsoil for the lawn, below it would likely be lots of small rocks.

2) Building and amending the soil over time is what I did at my previous garden. But it takes time, 5 years+. Now I want to bring in a couple truck loads of compost and get it done in one day. The boxes are to contain that material. Having sharp separations between the grow areas and walkways uses the small space more efficiently for growing. Mounds and un-delineated beds use up a transition area. If not contained, the light compost would run off in heavy rains.

Again, having said that, I may still reconsider, still time -thanks very much for suggesting this.

==========
And here's the latest progress, baby seedlings from the first batch. Exactly 1 week from seeding, the first ones emerged in 3-4 days, and stayed in the dark for 1 day before I started looking. I setup this quick and dirty incubator while I'm still working on the lighting setup.
incubator.jpg
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Taboule, you can always start with boxes to create the ready-to-plant garden you want today, then as the material you use for the sides degrades (assuming you don't go with cedar, pressure treated, plastic or composite wood), you can easily remove the sides and convert the beds into mounds. Or, if the bed design is working, replace the sides with something more permanent when the time comes.

I went with Frame-it-All raised bed kits for mine in 2011/2012 (picked up for a steal off eBay at the time, today they would be a financial stretch), and I'll get many, many more good years from them. I too prefer the neatly defined borders, soil stability during rainy periods, and the fact that I can plant to within a few inches of the sides of the beds to maximize space.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
taboule
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Father'sDaughter, thanks for sharing your experience. Agreed on all points. If we didn't have so much snow everywhere, I'd be out already doing the prep.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #27
Gardeneer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Bermuda grass is a nightmare that should have never been introduced to this country.
It came from the middle east and got here by way of Bermuda.

Worth
Agree. You cannot kill it by cardboard.. part of my harden was a mixture of various grass including Bermuda type. I turned the grass over, got any bit of it that i coul find, more than once. But i still see it popping up here and there. I dig with hand shover, get to the root of it and pull it. It you leave them alone ther will spread again.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #28
Father'sDaughter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taboule View Post
Father'sDaughter, thanks for sharing your experience. Agreed on all points. If we didn't have so much snow everywhere, I'd be out already doing the prep.

Get your supplies together -- looks like next weekend will be your opportunity to get started... at least until they change the forecast and toss another Nor'Easter at us.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #29
taboule
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FD, Getting closer day by day. Only thing I need is the lumber, in as long and as many pieces I can carry and bring home at a time. Next weekend is Easter and DW and I may end up driving to NH to visit my brother who's in the process of moving up there with his family. He gave up on the Bay state.

We had a cold snap and a dusting 2 nights ago, but it quickly warmed up yesterday. We spent the afternoon trimming some existing perennials and cleaning up a patch in the garden for my wife's flower plantings. We also bought some bulbs, a couple of roses and a more seeds. Started a couple of trays of flower seeds -I ran out of heating pads and still have many more veggies to start.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #30
taboule
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Reconnecting...

Got very busy with work and life in general the past few days. Wanted to get started on the beds this past weekend, but ended up taking time off to visit with family over Easter.

Weather has also been spotty, we had snow yesterday. So I focused more on the indoors activities, and realized that I'm running a little behind in starting plants -other than tomatoes. Germination has been slower than in the past, so I quickly ran out of space and heating pads to crank out the volume. Then I thought about this freezer that died on us a couple months ago. DW wanted me to get it out of the basement ASAP, and was going to pay someone $50 to take it. Well I came up with this, gaining both space and equipment.

freezer.jpg

Insulation is great as I only need one heating pad (~20W?) to maintain a temp of ~75deg, door closed. This is to heat 4 large plastic boxes, bigger than the nursery flats. Using two pads gets the inside very warm > 85deg (too warm). I haven't played around trying to regulate it, no time to mess with that for now.

Made progress setting up shelves and lights, in various free places in the basement. This one also houses some flowers I started for my wife -pansies, petunias, lavendar, zenias...

tall-shefl.jpg
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