User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:52 am
Location: Southern California

Filling Raised Bed

So I am considering building a raised bed. I want to do this so that I can mix my own soil. For the same price of topsoil I can get compost. I am tempted to do equal parts of topsoil and compost mixed in with some sphagnum moss (?) and some sand and some bark. The bed will be 23 feet long and 2 foot wide ( I am going to make 3 beds 2 8 footers and one 7 and just put them together to make a 23 foot bed). I know these are bad dimensions but I am working with what little space I have.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3058
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Nothing wrong with the dimensions. You just don't want them wider than 4 ft. to make it easy to work in the beds without putting your feet in them.

That space would be ideal for root crops like carrots, kohl rabbi, beets, parsnips,garlic and onions. I have almost my whole 12'x 4' raised bed planted in garlic right now. There is a small area on one end with a few herb plants thrown in for good measure.

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:52 am
Location: Southern California

Why would it be ideal for root crops? I plan to grow tomatoes and potatoes and stuff to.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3058
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

ReptileAddiction wrote:Why would it be ideal for root crops? I plan to grow tomatoes and potatoes and stuff to.
With the soil being so loose and all. It gives the root crops an easy path to grow. My main garden is made up of clay based soil with tons of organic matter added over the years and it is pretty loose now, but not as loose as my raised bed. And potatoes are root crops that should do nicely in the raised bed.

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:52 am
Location: Southern California

That make much more sense now I thought you meant that it would be ideal for little plants (thats why I threw in potatoes I know they are a root crop :D)

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3058
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

ReptileAddiction wrote:That make much more sense now I thought you meant that it would be ideal for little plants (thats why I threw in potatoes I know they are a root crop :D)
I've know folks to grow potatoes in old tires. Take a tire and lay it on the ground and fill it with soil. Plant the potatoes and let them grow. Once they are several inches over the tire, add another tire and fill it with soil and repeat these steps as long as the plants are growing. When ready to harvest, tip over the tires and pick up the potatoes.


I even had a friend that grew them in old plastic laundry hampers. He'd line it with landscaping cloth to keep the soil from falling out and only fill it about 1/2 way up with soil, plant the potatoes and let them grow. Once they got pretty big, he'd add soil to fill the basket and let them grow more. Then when they were done, he'd tip over the basket and take out the potatoes.

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:52 am
Location: Southern California

I have heard of the tire way. I want to try getting a huge trash can and putting about 1 foot of soil in the bottom and then just keep filling it with soil as the plants get bigger. I heard that with this method you get tons of potatoes from like 4 plants.

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

ReptileAddiction wrote:I have heard of the tire way. I want to try getting a huge trash can and putting about 1 foot of soil in the bottom and then just keep filling it with soil as the plants get bigger. I heard that with this method you get tons of potatoes from like 4 plants.
Go to Youtube. Many people try this technique and many fail. Some talk about determinate and indeterminate potatoes. :? I've heard of short and long season. If I try this method, I would use fingerling type potatoes.

Eric

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:52 am
Location: Southern California

ive never heard of determinate and in potatoes....

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

That will be reservation for two. :lol:

Eric

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

I think your mix sounds OK except for the bark. Leave that out. It will rob your plants of nitrogen as it decomposes. My advice is to grow the things you like to eat. Enjoy!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
lakngulf
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1273
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 4:34 pm
Location: Lake Martin, AL

jal_ut wrote:My advice is to grow the things you like to eat. Enjoy!
Now there's a good idea.

However, I do not eat a lot of pepper, just use some to cook in some dishes. But I grow quite a bit (bell, banana, jalepeno, etc) because it is most colorful this time of the year, after other veggies have played out.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

Green Mantis
Greener Thumb
Posts: 931
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

jal_ut

So if you had trees ( poplar) branches cut back and chipped, they wouldn't be any good under the compost pile?

We are going to have to have a bunch of our poplar trees de-branched quite a bit, they are getting so overgrown, theyr'e getting dangerous.

But was hoping I could put them down, on the top of the lawn I want to sheet compost, then add topsoil, leaves straw etc.

Would that work? Or should I just get rid of them? :oops:
Thanks.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

What a time to pose this question. I just had 5 large poplar trees cut down. The branches were all chipped up. I have a big pile (did I say big?) huge pile of chips. My intent is to compost them before using them as mulch or working into the soil. The problem with wood chips is that it takes nitrogen to make the composting process work and if fresh chips are put directly on or worked into your soil it ties up the nitrogen that your plants need. If you can get some greens to mix with them and put some nitrogen fertilizer on them as you build the pile you should be able to get a hot pile and they should break down pretty fast. There was quite a bit of green leaves in this pile, but apparently it was not enough green to make it heat. The pile is not getting hot. I am going to have to remake a pile with added greens, water and some nitrogen to see if I can get a hot pile going. At any rate, I have enough to play with for some time. I do plan to use them on the garden, but not until they are broken down (composted) pretty good.

[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost]Compost[/url]
Last edited by jal_ut on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

Put them on a barge and send them down to me. :lol: Never get rid of biomass.

If you are worried, leave them on the surface. Aisles in the garden. Mulch around trees.

Do your plan and mix a little nitrogen fertilizer throughout.

Eric

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Yes to add to the the wood chips thing. They are great if used in the correct manner and above the surface. When mixed in they cause problems.

A lot of poeple have great luck with a huge wood chip mulch but with no tilling. Some have found that with no tilling it is good but after being mixed in the nitro loss begins and crops do worse. So be careful, wood chips being very high carbon take alot of nitro to brak down and a long time at that.

Green Mantis
Greener Thumb
Posts: 931
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

Thanks so much for the answers, guess I will be usuing some between rows,

and composting a bunch like you suggested jal_ut.

Must be tree trimming time, :D



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”