Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:58 am
Location: zone 4

Soil depth question.

The hubby can't get the cement out of the garden. :( It is about 3'x3' and at least 8" deep (we never found the bottom).
Therefor, we're srrounding the whole thing with railroad ties and filling it in with dirt.
Is 8 inches of soil enough for plants to grow over that cement? There is about a 3x4 inch hole in the center that's all dirt.
I'm thinking I'll be ok as long as I plant peas and beans and more shallow rooted things there.

Thoughts?

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

You might want to use something else for the walls, other than railroad ties. I'm not sure that the treatment used to preserve railroad ties wouldn't leach into the garden soil. Concrete blocks would work, or perhaps some type of untreated wood.

Being built on a cement pad could create drainage problems in such a shallow bed. Making it deeper might help to avoid that. Just a couple of suggestions. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

LindsayArthurRTR
Green Thumb
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 2:41 am
Location: South Carolina, Upstate

and maybe adding gravel on the bottom.
"The conspicuous consumption of limited resources has yet to be accepted widely as a spiritual error, or even bad manners." ~Barbara Kingsolver

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=533347321

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4986
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Check with your local hardware or equipment rental company you can rent an electric jack hammer pretty cheap. If you rent is on Saturday at closing time they let you keep it all weekend for the price of only 1 day if you return it at opening time on Monday. Tell them what you are braking up they will suggest the correct cement braking tool for the job. The hardest part of operating a jack hammer it moving it to the next spot once you have busted the cement where you just finished hammering the jack hammer is heavy. I usually just drag it back a few inches, stand it up and hammer there. Another tip, once the tool brakes the cement stop hammering no point in letting the tool go in deep it just makes it hard to pull out. Some rental places have a light duty and heavy duty jack hammer. It light duty is a tinker toy not much good for braking up cement easy and quick.

15 years ago there was a TV show called the Victory Garden, the whole garden is planted on an asphalt parking lot covered in peat moss. You should be able to do the same thing on cement.
Last edited by Gary350 on Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

mlangille
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:03 am
Location: Greenville SC

Just my thoughts

If you plant on the cement keep in mind that it contains a lot of lime
that will affect plant grow. as far as the depth of the soil 12" would be
better for max plant growth.

Just my thoughts :shock:

Michael

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

Re: Just my thoughts

mlangille wrote:If you plant on the cement keep in mind that it contains a lot of lime
that will affect plant grow. as far as the depth of the soil 12" would be
better for max plant growth.

Just my thoughts :shock:

Michael
I'd have to say that if you are growing anything other than salad greens, a 1 ft. minimum depth would be best.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27797
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I think what Gary350 said has merit. :idea: Maybe just breaking up the solid concrete into pieces (or even just cracking it in several places) would be sufficient and you won't have to dig them out. The pH issue and the soil depth may pre-determine what you can grow there, but this isn't your only garden bed. :wink:

Also, an 8" depth in an open garden is considerably different from an 8" depth in a container.

Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:58 am
Location: zone 4

As apple kind of said, this is just one 3x4 foot spot in a 10x24 foot garden. I'm not worrying about water pooling as it's one area, has a hole in the middle, and my soil is very sandy (and the hubby cut big lines in it trying to cut it apart too).

What I am wondering is if roots will be affected or find there way around. I havebeans planted in it right now, in only the 4 inches of soil that was on it before I found it. They are only a few inches from the edge but doing very well despite it.
I should have mentioned adding 8 inches of soil would bring the bed 12 inches over the cement too :roll: :oops:
I also didn't know until I checked that railroad ties are treated with creosote so we're looking at other *cheap* options.
I'm starting another thread on that ideas would be helpfull...

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”