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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old July 22, 2019   #1
lapk78
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Default Raised Bed Soil Help please?

Hi All, I posted a similar request under "General Discussion" but got no replies. (Do raised beds count as "containers"?) In the past I have used Earthtainers, but after a couple years off, I now am trying my hand at raised bed gardening. The two new beds are 4'x4'x15". I don't quite know what type of mixture to fill the beds with.

I have recently learned of Hugelkultur, and am thinking about adding some small branches/logs at the bottom, mainly for the moisture retention aspect. Incidentally, I'm in San Antonio, TX (zone 9a). But beyond that, I'd like to buy/make a good soil. Should I make a similar mix to that of the Earthtainers I've used in the past? Or is there something better that you'd like to recommend?

Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old July 22, 2019   #2
jtjmartin
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It all depends what you are looking to do - or avoid.

I'm in Virginia so it's hot, water is expensive, and I have soil borne disease like Bacterial Wilt. If I had the money to spend, I would put a barrier between the yard and raised bed so that no soil mixed. I would then fill it pretty much like an Earthtainer.

I don't have the money to do my few hundred linear feet of raised beds like that so . . . I dig the beds down a few feet, fill in with about 2 -3 feet of rotted logs & brush that is free around me, amend the clay soil with all the leaves I collect in the fall. I then graft my tomatoes so that they withstand BW. Saves money, water, and gets rid of a lot of forest debris!

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Old July 22, 2019   #3
greenthumbomaha
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Pretty yard! Cardboard thrown on the bottom (without a slick cover) is a great amendment and will keep that grass from growing up. Check your local quality nursery for a custom bulk mix that includes herbicide free compost. Leaves, leaves, leaves every fall too.
I can't zoom in to see the tree. What type is it?


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Old July 22, 2019   #4
lapk78
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Thanks for the compliment ��. The tree on the left is be a Northern Red Oak and the other is an Empire Live Oak. My 5-year-old son climbs that Red Oak to the very tippy top like he's part monkey.
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Old July 23, 2019   #5
AlittleSalt
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Raised beds and containers are different.

Containers are to be used with Mix which isn't dirt or soil.

Raised beds are just like growing in the ground but easier to reach. They can be filled with soil, mix, or whatever you want.

It does look good
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Old July 23, 2019   #6
mdvpc
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I am in San Antonio also-I got my raised bed mix from Quality Organic Products in Selma. I went out there and looked at their products-they gave me a sample and I did a pea test. Everything was good. They delivered the number of cubic yards I needed. You could also go to Garden-Ville, there are several locations in San Antonio. I have been to the one near the airport and got bagged compost to amend my raised beds. Also all good.
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Old July 23, 2019   #7
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I use a combination of topsoil, peat moss (moisture retention), and a cow manure compost bagged mix available here in PA at Lowes. It's in a white bag and goes for like $2.60 a 40 pound bag. I've been using this for several years now and have great results. The Night Crawlers love the stuff and so do the plants Depending on depth of the bed, mine are 10 inch high sides (4'x8' beds), filling the bed can cost some money early on. Spend the money early and just top off a little each year to refresh. I think you will be glad you did. Best of luck
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Old July 23, 2019   #8
ScottinAtlanta
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No soil in Georgia. Turns to brick - too much clay. I use compost.
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Old July 23, 2019   #9
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Just lost my 20 minute post, sorry.
I won't be posting from my phone anymore.
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Old July 23, 2019   #10
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Here's a few beds I done in hugelkultur.
https://sites.google.com/site/sqwibs...reconstruction
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Old July 27, 2019   #11
lapk78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdvpc View Post
I am in San Antonio also-I got my raised bed mix from Quality Organic Products in Selma. I went out there and looked at their products-they gave me a sample and I did a pea test. Everything was good. They delivered the number of cubic yards I needed. You could also go to Garden-Ville, there are several locations in San Antonio. I have been to the one near the airport and got bagged compost to amend my raised beds. Also all good.
Good info. Was what you purchased fully ready for your raised beds, or did you amend it with other things? Which of their products/soils did you use? Thanks for the info.
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Old July 27, 2019   #12
lapk78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIBB View Post
Here's a few beds I done in hugelkultur.
https://sites.google.com/site/sqwibs...reconstruction
Very cool! How are the Hugelkultur beds doing now? That particular links seems to be broken.
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Old July 27, 2019   #13
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The hugel beds are doing great.
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Old July 27, 2019   #14
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I've been raised bed and container growing about fifteen years. When I first started with raised beds, I used pressure treated landscape timbers to build single layer, 4' X 8' beds. I then planted my plants directly into the soil within the frames, covering the soil with weed preventing cloth and soaker hoses. My natural soil had about four inches of top soil above sandy, rocky soil.


After a couple of years growing a very good garden in the natural soil, I decided to add two more layers of landscape timbers making the beds about twelve inches deep holding mostly organic soil with some dirt mixed in for the mineral content. After a few years, the organic soil level had subsided considerably in the beds. I dug into the beds as deep as I could with a shovel to remove as much rock as I could. In the digging process, I was incorporating the existing organic soil into the natural soil beneath the beds. I then added more dirt/organics to the beds and continued growing my garden.



After about ten years, the landscape timbers had pretty much rotted away so I started replacing them with pressure treated, 2" X 6" boards, making each bed only about 5" deep. I dug into the natural soil again and found the many years of organics had converted the soil beneath the beds to mostly organic. I started adding garden compost to my beds with a couple of inches of bark mulch on top for moisture retention. My beds today only have about three inches of soil and bark in them. Most of the bark decomposes yearly adding organics to the soil each year. Next spring, I will probably add a lot of my garden compost to each bed and add the bark on top of the compost. My methods change a little each year, but they grow a nice garden every year.


We used to keep a few cattle which gave me manure and we have a lot of large oak trees. We have a lot of organics on the property to keep the compost bin full. The compost bin and bark feed my garden beds.


When I first started my compost bin, I would fill my pickup bed with bags of leaves and twigs raked by homeowners and placed by the curb for pickup and disposal in the fall. It allowed me to make a lot of compost pretty quickly.

Last edited by DonDuck; July 27, 2019 at 09:03 PM.
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Old July 28, 2019   #15
mdvpc
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It was ready to go. I used the garden plus for my raised beds. It was a mix of
topsoil, compost, poteet red sand, green sand, coffee grounds and rice
hulls. Since then, I have amended with compost from there and also from Garden-Ville, once a year.
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