themooreshow
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Raised Beds

I'm an extreme beginner to gardening. I'm actually just in the planning stages right now. Don't even have a yard to work with until we move next month. The home we're planning on moving into has half an acre of land. Now, everywhere I read recommends raised gardening for small gardens, but I'm not really sure why. What are the advantages of raised gardens, and are they also worth it in a larger operation? I do plan to start small, but only for one season before expanding, because I'm hoping to become more self-sufficient as soon as possible.
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cynthia_h
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You probably don't need to worry about raised beds. Half an acre is a plenty big garden! :)

Take a look at Jon Jeavons' [url=https://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BEA-0300]How to Grow More Vegetables[/url] if you're interested in being as self-sufficient as possible. He starts the new gardener off with one 100-square foot (5 x 20) bed, the second year adds a second, the third year adds a third, and after that you can add as many as you like or have room for. Plus fruit trees.

I've carved out 96 sq. ft. of veggie-growing space here in beds, and that 96 includes the verge by the street (btw the sidewalk and the curb), if I'm feeling lucky. I add a few containers to that as well, but all in all, I have less than 100 sq. ft. available for veggie growing. For me, the intense gardening of raised beds makes all kinds of sense.

I don't think, frankly, it would benefit you all that much unless there's some terrible soil condition you need to deal with.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

(edited for typo)
Last edited by cynthia_h on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

themooreshow
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You probably don't need to worry about raised beds. Half an acre is a plenty big garden! :)
Oops, saying I had half a acre may have been a little misleading. I'm only going to use a portion of that for gardening. I'm thinking that once I've got some experience under my belt I may end up with 2-3000 sqft. The rest of the yard will be used for chickens, goats, and whatever other livestock catches my fancy. So while it'll still be pretty large (larger than the inside of our house) it won't quite be half an acre.

So do you still think I wouldn't need raised beds?
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Handsomeryan
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Raised beds aren't reall a better or worse way of growing a garden they are just different they have their strengths and they weaknesses. I've outlined a few of them below but please realize there are a lot more pros and cons that just what I listed, I think I hit most of the big ones though...

Raised bed advantages:
• Warm quicker in spring
• offer better control over soil composition
• better drainage
• look nice
• smaller beds allow for better definition of "plant space" vs. walkways
• many other things I can't think of right now.

Raised bed disadvantages:
• cost of building/maintaining beds
• cost of importing soil and soil amendments to build up beds
• can't run mechanized equipment (eg. rotary plow) in them (maybe a little tiller but nothing big)
• less drought tolerant as they do drain well
• generally better with intensive planting and not as easy to follow "row crop" instructions
• Harder to "re-size" the garden as you want to grow more things
• many other things I can't think of right now
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rainbowgardener
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We have a whole big thread recently on raised beds vs in-ground gardening:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=192083#192083
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JennieMig
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I love my raised beds. I have gardened both ways and this one works for me. #1 reason, easier for me to keep the weeds under control. #2 our soil is terrible, mostly sand, I'm using a fantastic compost. #3 it looks much better in my suburban yard than a traditional garden. The only negative so far...it dries out really fast so I have to water more often.

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agfinguy
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I'm new to gardening myself and I made a raised bed - so far they are doing great. I do think it's tight quarters for them but this being the first year, I see it as a learning experience. Here are some pics..

[img]https://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz133/agfinguy2010/Picture002.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz133/agfinguy2010/Picture005.jpg[/img]

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Halfway
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Looking good!
Zone 4a.

garden5
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And too, remember that there is a a difference between beds and raised beds.

It's the same concept, but they're not raised. I like the idea because you can mulch them easily, thus little weeding, and since you won't be walking in them, little or no tilling after the initial establishing till.
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tedln
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Handsomeryan pretty much hit the high and low points of raised bed gardens. I've gardened in containers, in rows, and now in seven raised beds. For me, it has no relationship to how much space you have. I have five acres and choose to garden in my seven raised beds. For me, I enjoy the fact that I can grow a large amount of produce in very confined spaces with very low maintenance. You will have an initial investment building the beds and filling them with soil, but it is much lower than buying a small tractor or tiller to work the soil and control the weeds in typical row gardens. The only problem raised beds have that may not be present with row type gardens is delivering enough moisture for the plants. I use soaker hoses attached to a single timer and the problem is solved. I don't believe their is a wrong way or a right way to grow a garden. There are just different ways and you need to choose the one which works best for your situation and pick the one you will enjoy most.

Ted
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stella1751
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Raised beds will also serve as a deterrent for the critters you have planned. Mine keep the dogs from running through them.
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BrianIllinois
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The main advantages for me:
1. No need to buy a tiller. Filled it with compost. My larger bed gets walked on a little, but it's still easily turned with a fork.
2. Being able to manage what goes into it.

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Spicy Chicken
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I like raised beds as well, I have 11 acres and still plant a half acre main garden but the raised bed are good for special items, like exotics, herbs and spices.
.
[img]https://driedhotpeppers.com/images/Pics_for_The_Hot_Pepper/Raised_Circle_Beds_tile.jpg[/img]

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stella1751
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Spicy Chicken, I like those round beds. I've never seen that kind before. What did you use to make them? Do they hold their shape like that, or do you eventually need to replace them?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

DoubleDogFarm
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Spicy Chicken,
Your web page, very nice. :)

Nice score on the 3" ABS pipe. 8)

Questions,

Do you think capping the bottoms and filling with water would add more heat?

Does ABS leach any nasties into the soil, do you consider it a concern?

Do you think a circular saw set shallow, cutting a kerf all the way around, and held together with a galvanized wire.? (how is this for poor writing) The soil is used to hold its shape.

Welcome to HG. :)

Eric

tedln
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spicychicken,

I love what you have done with your raised beds. Very ingenious with the pipe. Fabulous varieties of peppers. I know you will make Stella jealous since she is also a pepper nut (she is a nice lady on this forum). Are you growing any tomato varieties?

The only thing I don't envy you for is the amount of labor you invest/invested in your garden. I don't think my sore muscles would have recovered from that much labor. I purposely keep mine small and easy to maintain so I don't have to wake up every morning with a list of things that need attention, in my head.

Have you thought about using some of those pipes with couplings and elbows to build a super strong greenhouse or tunnel house?

You might post your URL in this thread in case someone doesn't know how to perform a search.

Welcome to the forum. I'm looking forward to your future posts. I hope your daughter is doing well.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

Dixana
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I have nothing to add....I'm just marking tis thread to I can see what spicy chicken has to say about the beds.
I'm looking at them thinking with a type of row cover I could get another 2 months of grow time in easily up here......
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Spicy Chicken
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stella1751 wrote:Spicy Chicken, I like those round beds. I've never seen that kind before. What did you use to make them? Do they hold their shape like that, or do you eventually need to replace them?
.
Stella1751, Hi.
Tedln tells me you are a pepper nut like me. Woohoo ;o)
Have you seen my newbie intro post?
[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=34682[/url]

Not sure of the exact composition of the 3 inch pipe, DDF thinks it might be ABS (Just a type of pipe) and very well may be. The plastic pipes are from the center of huge 4 ton paper rolls, the kind that magazine and catalog companies use as their base stock. I purchased more than 1000 6ft pc’s off eBay for $20. Ya for all!
These beds are about 4 years old and now I am starting to notice they are elongating at the top from pressure. The bottoms are driven in the ground a foot. Yesterday I bought a thousand foot roll of 1 inch steel strapping, today I started banding the units 6 inches down from the top; that should hold them for many, many years to come.
Cheers, SC

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Spicy Chicken
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Spicy Chicken,
Your web page, very nice. :)

Nice score on the 3" ABS pipe. 8)

Questions,

Do you think capping the bottoms and filling with water would add more heat?

Does ABS leach any nasties into the soil, do you consider it a concern?

Do you think a circular saw set shallow, cutting a kerf all the way around, and held together with a galvanized wire.? (how is this for poor writing) The soil is used to hold its shape.

Welcome to HG. :)

Eric
Hay DDF, How’s it going?
First ?: The question is the answer, but I don’t have to cap the bottom It takes a long time for the water to filter out, like 8 or 10 days. Could dump a cup or two of concrete powder in them with a little water (when empty of course), that should do the trick.
Leaching?: can’t say, I don’t think so the bed was lined with heavy landscape cloth before the dirt went in. and the water tends to flow out; god I hope not! LOL
Good idea with the wire but already started strapping them today with banding. Maybe should have read your reply earlier.
Thanks for the welcome, Cheers SC
Last edited by Spicy Chicken on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Spicy Chicken
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tedln wrote:spicychicken,

I love what you have done with your raised beds. Very ingenious with the pipe. Fabulous varieties of peppers. I know you will make Stella jealous since she is also a pepper nut (she is a nice lady on this forum). Are you growing any tomato varieties?

The only thing I don't envy you for is the amount of labor you invest/invested in your garden. I don't think my sore muscles would have recovered from that much labor. I purposely keep mine small and easy to maintain so I don't have to wake up every morning with a list of things that need attention, in my head.

Have you thought about using some of those pipes with couplings and elbows to build a super strong greenhouse or tunnel house?

You might post your URL in this thread in case someone doesn't know how to perform a search.

Welcome to the forum. I'm looking forward to your future posts. I hope your daughter is doing well.

Ted
Ted, thanks for the reply!
Tomatoes?: I don’t like em! Wish I did, taste buds like what they like. :( Now salsa and spaghetti sauce Oya. My wife is the tomato lady, she likes a beef steak type for tomato juice and sandwiches and roma for salsa and the small sun tomatoes for drying. :)
Sore muscles, you got that right! Sound like you’ve been there done that.
Initially 20 raised beds 78 pipes per, X driving each one a foot into the ground; ouch brake out the bengay! Putting in 6 more right now, after their done thought; no bending over, no weeding, just plant-water-harvest. Gotta love that! :P
Tunnel house: I’m almost out of pipes now, but have plans for a 52 ft geodesic dome greenhouse for this year if I have time. :D
Thanks for the welcome and kind words for my daughter! Spicy Chicken

DoubleDogFarm
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Jeff, (spicy chicken) Hope this is ok?

The cement is a good idea. Thank you. :wink:

How much was the 1000ft of strapping. Did you also buy the banding tools and clips?

Eric (Double Dog Farm ) :)

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Spicy Chicken
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Jeff, (spicy chicken) Hope this is ok?

The cement is a good idea. Thank you. :wink:

How much was the 1000ft of strapping. Did you also buy the banding tools and clips?

Eric (Double Dog Farm ) :)
That,s fine Eric you may call me Jeff :cool:

I paid $110 plus tax. Takes 440 feet to do the 20 beds with just one band. No tool I spot welded them together.

First I moved the dirt from the outside edges to the middle, (take about a min.) then re ratchet strapped 7 inches from the top, wrapped the banding for measurement plus an inch spot welded, drop the ring on and released the strap. Surprising how much tension is on those!

DoubleDogFarm
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All good stuff Jeff. May have to change your name to Cooper.

So .12 per foot x 22ft = $2.64 per hoop. Very doable. 8)

You could make the Tyre a half inch short and heat it up to expand. Slip it over your pipe. Then when it cools, you would have a tight fit. :lol:

Installing Tyres on our 12lb. Mountain Howitzer
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1859%20-%201872%20San%20Juan%20Island/CannonWheel008.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1859%20-%201872%20San%20Juan%20Island/CannonWheel023.jpg[/img]

Eric

tedln
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Eric,

Wouldn't the tight fit be after the hot band has melted the plastic pipe?

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

DoubleDogFarm
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Wouldn't the tight fit be after the hot band has melted the plastic pipe?
Tongue and Cheek Ted.

Eric

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