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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 February 5, 2008   #16
Deer Park
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I wish I had the money and time you folks have! For gosh sakes it’s a hobby and needs to be fun, not work, work, work! My garden is my happy place my man cave so to speak and not on the garden tour. My family doesn’t help so they don’t get to complain.

I don’t expect Home and Garden to show up anytime soon. LOL

I have 24 rows varying in length up to 50 long and 4ft wide. I grow around 250 varieties a year. I have enough to do with out creating unnecessary expense and WORK!

Years ago I resided by house and put the demo’d masonite to use as sides to my beds until I ran out. I only see remnants of it now. My rows now have nothing on the sides.

My rows are 7 ft center to center with the center of each row around 12+ inches high. I am constantly adding to the rows grass clippings, pine needles, leaves and what ever else I find that my neighbors put out at the curb. The sides taper to nothing and I have not shoveled the sides back on the top of rows. The rows look fine and don’t wash away.

Grass grows in the 3ft walkways and is needed to soak up the excess rainfall. In fact, once a year I have to spay the walkway edges to keep the grass under control.

If I ever get to retire and I find I have the time and money I might make some improvements. On second thought, probably not. LOL

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Old February 5, 2008   #17
feldon30
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So when do we get to see photos? What camera did you eventually end up getting?

Would love to take a photography expedition to Deer Park Farms (aka the Cave).
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Old February 5, 2008   #18
Worth1
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I do know most of the advantages and disadvantages to raised beds.

There are many new gardeners on the site and I don’t want them to think they have to go out and put in these beds when it’s not necessary much of the time.

That’s right I do live in an area where there is simply no need for them.
If I put in raised beds I would end up using much more water as a result.
All I have to do at the big garden site is till and toss out a good portion of 13-13-13 and the plants just go wild.
3 or 4 years ago I didn’t even water until mid June.

I would like to invite folks to tell all of the new gardeners and us why they do or do not have raised beds so these guys will get a better idea of what they need.

I feel there is no need to spend money and time where it is not needed.


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Old February 5, 2008   #19
tomatoguy
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I have raised beds because I have only 4 inches of topsoil above hardpan clay. My raised bed, compared to my former garden, in improved soil only 7 miles away, produces about 4 times as much per square yard. It also requires LESS water since I have a buried soaker hose under it and lose very little to evaporation.

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Old February 5, 2008   #20
dice
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[cement blocks]

Sure, you can use cement blocks to make the borders
of a raised bed. Do you intend to mortar them together?
Type-S mortar at HD is cheap, strong, and works well
for cement blocks. A full bag is around 40-50 pounds,
and it takes some muscle to mix with water if doing
it by hand. Instructions for proportions are on the side
of the bag. Close is good enough for this kind of application.
Note that mortar dries pretty fast in hot weather, so do
not mix up more at one time than you can apply in about
15 minutes.

The only thing that would leach into the bed around the
edges is lime. That will not be a problem for tomatoes
(more like an advantage).

And it will not rot.

I do not know to what extent absorption of water by the
blocks themselves from the soil in the raised bed would
be a problem in a hot climate. (That is what the plastic
liner mentioned above is intended to prevent.)
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Old February 5, 2008   #21
Sherry_AK
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I have raised beds for two reasons:
>my poor ol' back;
>warms the cold Alaskan soils.
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Old February 5, 2008   #22
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry_AK View Post
I have raised beds for two reasons:
>my poor ol' back;
>warms the cold Alaskan soils.
Those are good reasons.

Worth
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Old February 5, 2008   #23
BigdaddyJ
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Raised beds are great. I have a couple that are 36' by 3'. Another that is 16' x 8'. And a couple other shorter ones.

Mine are made out of 6" x 6" x 8' long cedar. Stacked and rebar staked 2 or 3 on top of each other depending on my yard slope.Wide enough you can sit on them.

Mine are 16 years old and some are starting to rot and chip away a bit but I bet I have another 9 years left out of them if not more.
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Old February 6, 2008   #24
FlipTX
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Like Feldon, I live in the Houston area. Without raised/boxed beds, my plants would either periodically be under several inches of water or the good soil I'd built up would wash away.

Plus my dogs are slightly less prone to trampling my plants when they're higher up off the ground.

However, I have foregone the wooden frames in the one part of the garden that has decent elevation and drainage. The dogs do trample things there, but I usually put things there that can stand a bit of paw traffic.
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Old February 6, 2008   #25
Worth1
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Don’t plan on the flooding in Houston getting better anytime soon.
You guys may have to have 3 foot tall raised beds sooner than you think.
I’ve known about this for some time now but here is one of the reasons why.
I don't know if I should laugh or cry.


http://www.texnews.com/texas97/sink082897.html

Worth
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Old February 6, 2008   #26
robin303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Can someone tell me the advantages of raised beds.

I see folks with perfectly good soil put in raised beds.

Maybe I'm just used to gardening on a larger scale.

Worth
Hi Worth, I always used raised beds because I can control what goes in it soil wise. The soil I buy is disease free. I use bagged Cow Poo, compost and the new item I have tried this year is the Scott’s top soil which to me is great for starting seeds. I mix it all together stick in the beds then top it off with Scott’s garden soil. I can dig down and bring out handfuls of earthworms. About twice a week Home Depot will put out pallets of broken bags. Bought one the other day for $11.28 that had over $50 worth of broken bags on it. I like the results I have. Plus I live off a slope and it just looks professional.
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Old February 6, 2008   #27
Tomstrees
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I plan on "boxing in" my garden that is 12 x 12 because I add lots of compost every fall, and the soil line is starting to be "higher" than the rest of the yard: so in stead of losing some of that precious soil from run-off, boxing it in would contain it! Plus, I'd like to have a walk way in the middle with ceramic tile (left over ones from kitchen) and pebbles.

Love the ideas above btw ...

~ Tom



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Old February 6, 2008   #28
ferger1
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Love your garden! Looks really great!
Quote:







If we forget our past, we have no future.... Fore the future begins with memorys
PF 1995
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Old February 6, 2008   #29
FlipTX
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Quote:
Don’t plan on the flooding in Houston getting better anytime soon.
Thanks for that link. Very interesting. My aunt lives in the area hardest hit by that. I'm in the southeast, by the coast, where the problem has lessened. Still have plenty of flooding, though!
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Old February 7, 2008   #30
TomatoDon
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I have raised beds. 4' x 12' (about 11" tall/deep), which is a comfortable size tomato patch.

In 2002 I dug 78 planting holes in the back yard for tomatoes and planted. After the first big rain all the planting holes held water and I lost 72 plants. The next week I pulled all those and built three 4' x 12' raised beds as an experiment. It worked so well I now have twenty. Nine in that location and eleven in another.

Advantages. 1. Excellent soil. (Make your own, and make it the best!) 2. Drainage. (No more flooded plants.) 3. Soil warms faster in the spring, boosting early growth. (And dries/heats more in late summer, so mulch well.) 4. It is more suited for small backyards than conventional "row crop" gardening. At least in my experience. 5. Done right, they are hard to beat for eye appeal. (Suze is a good example. Her tomato patch, I mean. )

This is just what works best for me. I grow some sweet corn and other things at the farm and farm it with a tractor, so I try lots of methods every year. Unless you are planning to grow an ENORMOUS amount of tomatoes, the raised beds seem, by far, the best to me. With twenty beds I could easily grow 120 tomato plants or more, but that is stretching it concerning time/effort and the willingness to want to tend to that many plants, plus all the other. And, besides, just how many tomatoes can you eat anyway!

Just my .02 and worth every cent!

Don

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