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Have a great invention to help with gardening? Are you the self-reliant type that prefers Building It Yourself vs. buying it? Share and discuss your ideas and projects with other members.

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Old April 10, 2006   #16
lightt
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Don06,
Don't mean to steal Kim's thread here but I'm curious how many tomato plants you grow in a 4X12 foot bed?

When I first read you are going to increase the height of your beds to 22 inches, I figured you must plant a single row in the center of your 4X12 beds and allow your plants to sprawl but then noticed you said you use CRW cages. Many of my plants grow 2'+ out of the top of my 5' cages. I'm pretty sure I'd need to keep a step ladder out in the garden if my beds were almost 2 feet off the ground!!

I also don't understand how one is wasting lumber if they don't cut in 4' multiples?? When I do rebuild my beds I'll purchase 16' foot lengths and cut 3' off each to make beds 3X13 but I could certainly buy 14' to make 3X11's. Just curious what your thinking is here...
Thanks,
Terry Light
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Old April 10, 2006   #17
TomatoDon
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Hi Terry,

I have 4 X 12 beds, so all I did was buy 2 X 12 X 12 lumber. Whole pieces were used as the sides, others were cut into 4 foot pieces for the ends. That's just what worked best for me. There are all sorts of dimensions, but this just fit my plan. It was hard for me to find good and straight 16 foot material, so I just stuck with the 4 X 12 dimention, which is fine. And yes, it can be cut in 3 foot sections, which the math works out on that also. The 4 X 12 was just the most suitable and handiest for my needs, and I think it is a good size.

And I do think, on the whole, for a garden that will be rotating crops, that the 4 foot width is a good one. For tomatoes only I'm sure 3 foot is wide enough. But with 4 foot widths you just have more room to work with other things like corn, etc.

I've tried a lot of spacings, but for me, I have two rows of three tomatoes in a 4 X 12 bed. Six plants. That's crowding it a little. Three down the center would probably be better. I use 24" CRW, and two fit nicely side by side in a 4 foot wide bed, so that's just the way I do it.

The height. I have also wondered if the 22" height might be a little impractical once the plants are up. I sure would love to have the soil that deep though. I'm hoping to do it this week, but will try only one first to see how it looks and feels.

For tomatoes only I would agree that 3 feet is a good width, having the planting right down the center. But, I rotate other stuff, so the 4 foot width works best for me overall. In a 4 foot wide bed, planting down the center, you have some room left over, so I crowd them a little, making two rows of three, for a total of six plants. In a 4 X 12, or 48 squart foot bed, that gives 8 square feet per plant, which is plenty.

Many good ways to do it. This is just they way I do it.

Thanks!

Don
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Old April 10, 2006   #18
mms
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Default Treated Wood & Florida Weave

I currently do not use raised beds but I am thinking about building a few this fall. I have never feared using treated wood in my garden and will use it when I finally build my beds. I am offering this next tidbit only because it has been given to me several times, not because I know it to be true.

Several people who are supposed to be experts about treated wood have warned me that arsenic can be absorbed by the roots of plants. Thus it is safe for use in growing Tomatoes, Corn, Peppers, etc., but can be dangerous when used to grow things like Carrots or Turnips.

As I said, I do not know this to be fact, and I certainly am not saying that grunts test results are wrong. I thought it should be mentioned since it is a common opinion.


Grunt,
When your employer did your bloodwork did they specifically test for arsenic? If they did, that would certainly go a long way towards proving the arsenic thing to be an urban myth.

One more thing, the Florida Weave is a support method used by commercial growers but is also used by many backyard gardeners including myself. I first heard about it from one of the moderators (torquill) here at T'ville a few months ago and I was sold on it. I have spoke with several people who use it, in both beds and the ground, and they all say that it is much easier than stakes or cages when used correctly. I have seen numerous photos of the weave used in raised beds and it certainly makes the beds look nice and neat with easy access for picking. If anyone is interested in taking a look at torquill's Florida Weave page the address is below. It gives a great description with easy to understand diagrams.

http://www.foogod.com/~torquill/barefoot/weave.html

MMS
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Old April 11, 2006   #19
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Thanks again, everyone, for all the input.

Since I do have alot of room, I think I will use both 3 and 4 foot wide beds - do a little experimenting, and go from there.

I haven't heard about the root vegetable/pressure treated issue. Grunt???
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Old April 11, 2006   #20
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Kim,
CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated wood was banned by the EPA a couple of years ago. While there might still be some for sale, I think you'd be hard pressed to find and purchase any at this time.

I believe all of the big box stores and lumber yards have their pressure treated wood identified.

Terry Light
Oak Hill, Virginia
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Old April 11, 2006   #21
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That means I better buy all the pressure treated lumber I can. Now...who's gonna protect us from the government?

Don
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Old April 12, 2006   #22
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The bloodwork that was done was done was testing for lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and something else in the heavy metals list that escapes memory at the moment. We were tested because we were living in isolated areas, on employer owned land, and they knew the soil we were using had some contamination in it from soil testing. It was all strictly them trying to cover their (would fundaments be an appropriate euphemism?). The soil tests actually showed fairly high levels of contamination, but my test results came out lower in lead and cadmium than the average city persons, probably because I hadn't been exposed to car exhausts for the better part of 20 years.

The only caveat that I would give regarding the consumption of root vegetables grown in contaminated soil would be to make sure that they were extremely well washed or, preferably, peeled.

Cheers
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