lovely_star
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Raised Beds VS In ground gardening

Hi all,

I introduced myself a few weeks ago. I plan on starting my FIRST organic vegetable garden this year and am very excited yet extremely OVERWHELMED and anxious. I'm debating whether I should build raised beds or til the ground. I want to grow a variety of veggies and herbs using companion planting. I have taken several books out from the library and have been researching relentlessly on the web. The more I learn the more intimidated I feel. I've read some of the advantages and disadvantages to both options but I'm confused as to which one will be easier for me. Experts on both please chime in. HELP!

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farmerlon
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You may find that you want to do both! :D

My garden incorporates both "in the ground" plantings, and raised beds. The combination works well for me.
However, I should probably add that after working to improve my garden soil for several years, I have switched to a no-till approach. Nowadays, I can work my entire garden with hand tools; typically, using a fork if the soil needs "turning".

That being said, if I were starting a new garden space, I'm sure I would use a plow and/or rotary tiller to make the initial opening of the ground/sod ... that is, unless I decided to make raised beds on top of the ground.
I can see that it can be a tough decision to make. :)

If you have the time, and the space, I would recommend that you try both methods in your garden area. That's the best way to learn, and see what works for you.

Best of luck with the garden!

The Helpful Gardener
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Farmer Lon has clearly been drinking the koolaid we serve around here... 8)

I couldn't agree more about set it and forget it beds. Mine were tilled back when they were first started, and then never again. I cover with staw (not hay; tried that one year and fought weeds hard), weed and leave them on top of the straw, just plant right into it. The soil is getting amazing (I can see fungal hyphae when I plant) and I just put a fork in and lean back just a little until I see the soil lift (I want a broadfork to do this properly; remember that around Xmas, everybody!)

It has been easy gardening, my soil is building instead of depleting (like when I used to till), and the plants really seem to like it (less fertilizing, less watering and still the same results!) My beds are built in raised rows, but no boards or bricks around them so I can plant the sides. The straw lets me do that without the sides breaking down...

So do like we do and do both! Dig out your paths and pile it in your rows; no wider than you can reach into without stepping in (stepping in the rows is the BIG NO NO at my place :evil: ). Now you have twice the depth of topsoil! Rake it to suit, but not too much; don't worry about clumps. Clumps are good; that's biology holding things together!

First year I use newspaper layered on top of the row and wet thoroughly. Then straw, shaken out all cris crossed; I use a quick zig zag of twine on wooden stakes to be sure to hold it in place, but unless you are really windy, a good wetting will take care of that... just poke your holes to plant! Pull that straw back around the base of your plants to keep out the weeds... yer done! In fall we cut down our stuff, leaving the roots in the soil (vertical composting, I calls it). Next year, a gentle lift, another layer of straw, and giddyup! Pretty easy... :D

My friend Cherie had her second kid two years ago and was going to give up the garden. "Too much weeding, not enough time, the garden just gets overrun in summer..." I helped her redo the beds this way and she and the kids are doing great with the new garden; less time, less effort and all the rewards... this fits a lot of people's lifestyles, and why work harder for the same results? This style particularly suits organic gardening; you are working with Nature every step of the way...

And there is never anything to be nervous about when you are working with Mother; she's been at this a long time...relax and have fun!

HG
Scott Reil

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and you say, I'm a show off. :lol:
(I want a broad fork to do this properly; remember that around Xmas, everybody!)
What style do you like? There are several on youtube. Its on my to weld list.


Eric

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If your soil is sandy I would'nt recommend raising them because its only going to dry them out that much faster and require more water/work in the heat of summer. Raised beds not only drain quicker, they warm/thaw/freeze quicker. Raised beds if wooden need to replaced. They look nice but are not needed.

Make however many rows you want, 3-4' wide or whatever, ammend just the planting rows/beds and heavily mulch the pathways between each row with leaves, grass clippings, manure and/or any organic matter you have on hand. By summers end the worms will work the (weed free) walking paths into casting rich compost that you simply rake into the planting beds. Its like having compost bins between each garden row and will help build your soil up that much quicker.

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soil
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imo raised beds are faster to get going, but in ground is better in the long run for many many reasons.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

lifegrower
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Tilling is fine to start a garden, but after that the added oxygen burns up soil organic matter when you till, so we use only raised beds at the farm now. We started with the "Lasagna" approach with wet newspaper or cardboard, followed with straw, leaves, grass clippings, seaweed, barn manure and old bedding, coffee grounds from Startucks, kitchen swill, and compost -- whatever we can find.

On a new bed I top it off with garden soil or compost so we can plant right away.

We never have enough leaves or grass clippings, so I call landscape contractors. Same with horse manure and bedding. The town has a take-it-for-free compost pile. Stuff gets heavier every year, though. I don't know why that is. 8)

DoubleDogFarm
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imo raised beds are faster to get going, but in ground is better in the long run for many many reasons.
Hey Soil, do tell.

I believe my raised beds are in ground planting. Sounds like we need to come up with definitions.

I have raised beds, not container gardens or boxed beds. Maybe I will start calling my garden berms and swales, but it is not on contour.

Eric

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farmerlon
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Farmer Lon has clearly been drinking the koolaid we serve around here... 8)

I couldn't agree more about set it and forget it beds. Mine were tilled back when they were first started, and then never again. I cover with staw (not hay; tried that one year and fought weeds hard), weed and leave them on top of the straw, just plant right into it. The soil is getting amazing (I can see fungal hyphae when I plant) and I just put a fork in and lean back just a little until I see the soil lift (I want a broadfork to do this properly...
Check out the Bully Broadfork ...
[url]https://bullytools.com/shovels_forks.html[/url]

American Made!
I got one for Christmas, and I am very happy with it. The Bully is a heavy duty unit; I don't see any way to tear this tool up... unless you were to grossly over-torgue it and snap off one of the Ash handles.
I recently forked the new Asparagus beds that I am planting this Spring, and the Bully Broadfork worked like a charm!
I will be getting a lot of use out of this tool.

This dealer sells it for $76.00 with Free Freight! ...
[url]https://www.barnyardproducts.com/product/BULLY-92326[/url]

The Helpful Gardener
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That's not bad FL, not bad at all. And I like the personal recommendation... :)

[url=https://www.gullandforge.com/]This one is nice...[/url]

And here's [url=https://www.smithandspeed.com/catalog/item/4542400/4580665.htm]a fine English model[/url], home of the broadfork...

O.K. [url=https://meadowcreature.com/broadfork.php]now we are talking my speed[/url]... but a little larger than I need for my little beds

[url=https://www.wateryourlandscape.com/broadforkgardentiller?gclid=CP7eq7T3jacCFcZw5Qod8zRqfA]BINGO![/url] That's the one... just right for me in the taller size...

Notably, FL's selection is about half the price of any of these, and very nice in it's own right...

DDF and I have like beds; not boxed in but not simply rototilled rows. Swale and berm begins to cover it, but we get the benefits of raised (better water control) and of in ground (lack of soil interfaces, depth for water retention and rooting, etc.) Not sure the square foot style "raised bed" DOES cover what we do. But I think it beats anything else I've seen or tried, which is why I recommended it to lovely star...

You are sure getting the full range of opinions here, LS! See one you like yet?

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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Two out of the four Broadforks are made locally. They could just float them over to me. :D

I think this one would be easiest to weld up. I'm think mild steel would even work.
https://meadowcreature.com/broadfork.php

Eric

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quiltbea
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I have Raised beds but a couple of long rows, too.

After reading Mel Bartholemew's "The All New Square Foot Gardening" a couple years ago, I just had to try it. I love it. As I get older I don't want to till and bend down too far so I put in nine 4'x4' raised beds that are 12" deep. The bending now is minimal.

Planning and seed starting has become fun. I don't have to worry about rotating crops each year because I put somethng different in the squares. The pests have a problem locating the next plant if they get one of them because each square is a different crop. But even that problem was eliminated last year with my using light-weight row cover which lets thru rain and sunshine, but keeps off pests and it worked wonders last year.

Once the soil is in the boxes and the compost and amendements added, its easy from that point forward.

No tilling at all, weeding just a bit now and then, conserving water, and easy maintenance. Mulching is easy. The raised beds were fine for things like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, tomatoes, snap beans and the like, but I also wanted strawberries grown in the matted-row system so I didn't have to buy replacements, and this year I've ordered asparagus, a perennial that will stay in one place for about 20 years.
I needed room for zucchini and squashes last year.
For those things I have 3 long rows with the soil hilled into berms so they are raised beds but without the lumber to contain them.

I think both is the way to go. Raised beds for the crops that don't need too much space and hilled rows (or berms) for those that do.

Last year I decided I wanted to start a few things earlier, so I designed and built an A-frame over one of my raised beds. It did the trick. I got early crops and in fall I was able to extend some. My tutorial on how to build one is on my quiltbeagardens site below.

This year I plan to build a coldframe over one section of a berm beside the proposed asparagus bed.

I'd insert a picture, but I don't know how.

Whatever road you take, good luck with it. Gardening is great.[/img]

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quiltbea
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I'm trying to post an image of my A-frame.
[img]https://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n191/quiltbea/03-19-1004TackingtriangularplasticvinylonsidesSmall.jpg[/img]


I didn't realize the picture would be so small but this is my A-frame made with four 6 foot 1"x2" poles and one 4 foot pole across the top, wired the top pole to the others and tacked on vinyl plastic to cover the teepee.
When working inside, I lift the plastic sides using large binder clips from the office supply dept and when its hot I can lower the vinyl at the tops of the vees in the teepee-like structure.

It worked very well all season until terrible wind storm hit us in early November and broke one of the poles with its ferocity. I'll replace it this spring and start more early crops once again.

lily51
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It's interesting how everyone has their favorite type of gardening.
We started with traditional row gardeing. Now we have a combo of raised beds and then herbs in the ground. I love the raised beds and square foot gardening. It's amazing how much one can get out of them. Probably has a lot to do with the challenges of natural clay soil of our ground versus great soil in the raised beds.

quiltbea...like those frames over your beds. It would be great for getting an early start here in Ohio.

gershon
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Re: Raised Beds VS In ground gardening

lovely_star wrote:Hi all,

I introduced myself a few weeks ago. I plan on starting my FIRST organic vegetable garden this year and am very excited yet extremely OVERWHELMED and anxious. I'm debating whether I should build raised beds or til the ground. I want to grow a variety of veggies and herbs using companion planting. I have taken several books out from the library and have been researching relentlessly on the web. The more I learn the more intimidated I feel. I've read some of the advantages and disadvantages to both options but I'm confused as to which one will be easier for me. Experts on both please chime in. HELP!
Congrats on starting a new garden.

Try to avoid being overwhelmed and anxious feelings. One of the reasons for gardening is to reduce those problems.

There is always a debate between the tillers and the mulchers. I'm in the tilling camp. If finances allow it, I'd suggest the Troybilt Pony. It's about $1,100. I'd stay away from cheaper box store brands. If finances don't allow buying a tiller I'd suggest checking Craigslist and pay to have it done the first time. It may be cheaper than renting a tiller.

As for weeds, I've never had a problem after tilling well. If you go over the garden with a scuffle hoe or a Rogue hoe each day they don't come up. The ones I mostly see are from seeds that come with the wind.

As for composting, you probably won't need it the first year or two as new soil is generally fertile if there were weeds there before.

Mulching is another area people seem to disagree on. I don't do it. I've had too many beans that tasted like grass. I simply till in some organic material at the end of each year.

A lot depends if you want a work of art or food. Both have their benefits. I'm in the simple food camp, so I only do what is necessary. The work of art camp has their advocates, too. And I love looking at their gardens.

In the end, just pick something and do it. As long as you have the basics of planting the seeds, watering and weeding things will grow. Maybe not everything. And you won't have store sized vegetables. But it will be good.

DoubleDogFarm
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Mulching is another area people seem to disagree on. I don't do it. I've had too many beans that tasted like grass.

A lot depends if you want a work of art or food.

And you won't have store sized vegetables.
and we agree to disagree. :wink:


Eric

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hendi_alex
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Our yard has large oak trees throughout except in a half acre or so space where we do most of the gardening. Problem is that the oak trees found that space as well and send long roots out to grab the nutrients in the enriched soil and to get to the extra water that the vegetable beds get. Several years ago I started migrating toward raised beds, with liner on bottom to avoid competing with the oak roots. That has worked out very well. Plus raised beds, especially if give a heavily mulched border will have far less problems with encroaching grass or with weeds. So while I continue to plant some crops in the ground, I rate the gardening experience with raised beds to be far superior. There is no till, minimal weeding, highly targeted watering, easy access, just so many things to like about the raised be planting spaces.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

lovely_star
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Hello fellow gardeners. So I've decided to go with raised beds this season in one section of my yard. In another section I'm going to till and solarize the soil for the whole season in preparation for an in-ground garden next season. I'm going to go with four 4x4 beds. Now this is what I'd like to plant this season: lettuce, cucumber, peppers, tomato, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, kale, scallions/onions, carrots, celery, spinach, collards, pole beans, okra, herbs, marigolds...maybe sweet potatoes and strawberries too. Is this attainable with only four 4x4 beds or do I need more?

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hendi_alex
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I would rec that you consult square foot gardening or other intensive gardening manual for spacings. Based upon desired yield and spacing requirements, you should be able to determine planting area needed. Some of the plants will work fine one behind the other however. For example you can plant radishes and spinach in one 4 x 4 area, and when those crops are about half to 3/4 mature, plant three or four cucumber seeds in open spaces. You can do the same with many of the plants. Just develop a planting sequence on paper, early groupings followed by later crops. I would say to go ahead and plant okra in holes that you cut in your solarized bed, as okra gets up to 8 feet tall and is a heavy feeder. You may want to do the same with a few tomato plants. Sweet potatoes are large rambling plants, so find a spot in the ground for a few hills and just place them in the middle of a heavy much or weed barrier. You may also want to google 'companion planting' as charts will indicate which plants grow best when planted together in a single bed. Good luck.

Alex
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

lovely_star
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Okay so the okra and potatoes should be a direct sow. What if I use the indeterminate tomatoes?

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Gary350
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Try to work with mother nature don't against mother nature.

Every plant and every geographical location requires something different.

When I lived north of Chicago and in Michigan soils was very fertil and rich both places it was perfect for growing anything and the weather was excellent for cool weather crops. Your weather may be simular to this area but I don't know about your soil.

I would plant everything in the ground. Garlic, onions, potatoes, spanish, kale, chard, carrots, radishes, all your root cops and greens should do very well much better than in the southern states where it is hot and dry. Beans, squash, tomatoes, corn, will do excellent too.

Make rows all the large seeds can be planted directly in the soil when it gets warm enough to plant, Most farmers will say not to plant beans, or corn until the soil is 65 degrees F. Small seeds like beats, chard, spanish, radishes, carrots, kale, squash, okra, melons can be planted in the soil too. Plant tomato plants.

In the spring when the sun is out and temperature is warm I till my soil every day for a week to kill all the grass and weeds. Then I make rows 30" apart and plant, seeds. In this part of the world mother naturn needs some help growning root crops like potatoes, onions, garlic so I grow them in raised beds they do better but still not great.

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quiltbea
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You can plant tomatoes, even the indeterminate that continue to grow, in a one-sqaure-foot spacing in a raised bed if you stake it or use strings to twist the tomato up its length.

Spacing:
1 plant per square foot
broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, head lettuce, tomato, peppers,

4 per square foot:
leaf lettuce, parsley, Swiss chard, turnip,

9 per sq foot:
bush beans, spinach

16 per sq foot:
beets, carrots, radishes, leeks, onions,

If you trellis along the north side of your boxes:
cukes are 4 per sq foot,
melons are 4 per sq foot,
peas and pole beans are 8 per sq ft in two rows side by side planted 3" apart.
summer squash 3 in a space 4 ft long by 1 ft wide.

zucchini which does not vine takes 9 sq ft (3 across and 3 wide)

I would suggest going to your local library and borrowing 'The New Square Foot Garden' book or having them get it for you as a loaner from another library. Its worth the reading. It will answer all your questions on growing in raised beds.

Good luck this spring. I started in 2009 and never looked back. Love it.

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Duh_Vinci
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My native soil is rather "poor" to say the least. So after considerations of various approaches to gardening at this house, I started with Squarefoot gardening approach.

What I liked: Dense planting when planned wisely can offer amazing variety of veggies from a simple, 4x4 bed indeed, as Quiltbea mentioned. So in one, single bed, I've had lettuce, carrots, onions, herbs, 1 eggplant, one cuke vine, 1 tomato and 2 peppers

What I wasn't happy about, is the lack of the "life" in the soil. If you follow the instructions exactly, to me, it was almost like growing veggies in the huge container. And in our hot summers, that mix just didn't hold enough moisture.

So the following year, I removed all the soil from all the beds (lots of work). removed the metal mesh and the fabric from the bottom, tuned native soil (pure clay) over (about 10" deep), added a lot of organic matter, then filled the beds back up, more compost added and some top soil.

As a result, now, there is life inside my raised beds, earth worms galore! Clay and added top soil keeping the moisture so much better than the original SQFG formula, and over time, the native soil at the bottom is becoming loamier, richer and fertile, and whatever I plant now, can reach deeper down with the roots, to access whatever the plants needs.

If I had different native soil, I would likely garden with out the raised beds (for the most part), but based on what I have, raised beds work out for me just fine.

Regards,
D

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All my raised beds are cold frames in march and change to raised beds in may just by thinning plants or addind a few inches of compost to the cold frame! If my 6 by 6 foot cold frame has 200 cabbage lants and letuce mixed I move most of it too long rows in my garden but leave some to mature in the frame! i usually start everything 30 days or more early and get a real jump on the season. Don't waste that raised bed use it early as a cold frame or plant radish in march eat some and dig them under in the raised bed as a cover crop in may!!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

lovely_star
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Hey guys,

So DH is going to build my raised beds for me so that I can get the custom sizing I want. I am going to do two 4'x12' beds about 18-20" high. I need some help trying to figure out the calculations on how much soil I would need to fill these size beds. I'd like to use a mix for soil including (peat moss, vermiculite, manure, compost). Should I include some of my own home soil or does this defeat the purpose if I am trying to use the beds to deter weeds? Does anyone know where I can purchase soil by the truckload :()

DoubleDogFarm
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4 x 12 X 1.5 (18") = 72cuft. divided by 27 = 2.6 yards x 2 = About 5 yards worth of material.

I believe it should be 75% your own soil. 3.75 yards of native soil.

JMO

Eric

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Make that raised better just dig out the dirt and strain it and while straining add some mix you like to it . The strain will also getout alot of the weed and grass roots! I have been mixing a little wood shavings into my strained soil so it would not cake. Perlight is also good to mix! It will make your own soil great. I mix about a cup to every 5 gallon buckeT that is all! Carrots will grow ood also in the strained soil! If you soil is clay like add some white sand or river sand! ground up leaves are also great! Rub the old leaves on the strainer and it will work!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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M.Clark
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Wow, this is a great thread! For me, I am trying a combination of methods. Over the past several years, I had a 4-foot by 16-foot raised bed that did not work well for me. This year, I reduced it to three 4-foot by 4-foot raised beds. Before I pulled the old wood out, I shoveled as much of the old soil out as I could, and used that as the base for my new beds. Then I lasagna layered with leaves, spent beer grain, coffee grounds, shredded news paper (with soy based ink), and other typical compost materials.

Now that it is finally starting to warm up here in Michigan, I am planning on putting hoops over my beds, coving them with plastic, and top dressing with a combination of top soil and peat. Oh, I also have a bail of hay to put down as mulch once the plants get going.

I have good feelings that it will work well and the material composting in the beds will help heat up the cold frame/hoops once I get them on.

Realizing that three 4’x4’ raised beds will dry out quick, I picked up a 250-gallon water tote to use as a rain barrel.

lovely_star
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Okay so I found a couple of bulk soil and compost suppliers who will deliver. We just purchased our first compost bin last weekend and will probably start composting next month maybe it will be ready in time for my fall plantings. I'm going to order bulk soil and compost for my two beds DH is building for me (5'x19'x12') and probably add my own mix in there too maybe some vermiculite and peat moss.

What is a good ratio of compost to topsoil mix? I was thinking 50/50 but someone said that this would make the soil too acidic. Any thoughts?

DoubleDogFarm
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I'm going to order bulk soil and compost for my two beds DH is building for me (5'x19'x12') and probably add my own mix in there too maybe some vermiculite and peat moss.

What is a good ratio of compost to topsoil mix? I was thinking 50/50 but someone said that this would make the soil too acidic. Any thoughts?

If you have Coconut Coir available I would choose this over the peat moss. Coir is basically neutral Ph and renewable.
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20Greenhouse%20Propagation/DSC03255.jpg[/img]

I like 75 / 25 soil to compost.

5 x 19 x 1 = 95cuft divided by 27 = 3.5 yards per box.

Eric
Last edited by DoubleDogFarm on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

lovely_star
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Hey Eric,

Thanks. I figured about 7 cubic yards of soil. Interesting this is the first time I have heard about coconut coir. I don't know if I would be able to find that out here but I will look into it. I live in the city, not in WA where you have scenic nature and forests with big beautiful redwoods.

cynthia_h
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How will you reach into a 5' wide raised bed to work on the plants without stepping into the box? One of the ideas of raised beds is that the planting soil/medium is never stepped on (compacted); this makes pulling the random weed very easy. It also makes harvesting root veggies very easy!

But 5' wide is quite a ways. Try it; most people (men *or* women) do not have a 30" reach, which is what you would need to get halfway in from either side.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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M.Clark
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How does the price of Coconut Coir compare with peat?

DoubleDogFarm
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These are Island prices. :wink:

3.8 cuft of peat moss is $17.29

2.0 cuft Coconut Coir is $8.99 x 2 = $17.98

You are getting 4 cuft of Coir. So the prices are close enough in my book.

Eric

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cynthia_h wrote:How will you reach into a 5' wide raised bed to work on the plants without stepping into the box? One of the ideas of raised beds is that the planting soil/medium is never stepped on (compacted); this makes pulling the random weed very easy. It also makes harvesting root veggies very easy!

But 5' wide is quite a ways. Try it; most people (men *or* women) do not have a 30" reach, which is what you would need to get halfway in from either side.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
I place a plank across the raised bed, on the edging of the bed, so that it doesn't touch the ground. My beds are 4 feet wide but I'm short and have trouble working in the middle comfortable. This way I have a board suspended across and I can place a foot or knee on it and work in the middle easily. They are not secured - I move them around as needed.

lovely_star
Full Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:02 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7B

cynthia_h wrote:How will you reach into a 5' wide raised bed to work on the plants without stepping into the box? One of the ideas of raised beds is that the planting soil/medium is never stepped on (compacted); this makes pulling the random weed very easy. It also makes harvesting root veggies very easy!

But 5' wide is quite a ways. Try it; most people (men *or* women) do not have a 30" reach, which is what you would need to get halfway in from either side.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
I'm 5'7" and very limby (long legs, arms) and DH is 6'1 so I didn't think 1' more than the standard 4' would really be an issue.

Hey guys I plan on starting my seeds indoors this weekend. I've been researching seed starting on the forum and I'm wondering if I will need grow lights? None of the gardening books I've read so far mention anything about grow lights. I thought I'd just sit seedlings in a sunny area. Apparently this might not be enough. I plan on starting my cabbage, tomato, lettuce, celery, radicchio, kale, peppers, rosemary, herbs (basil, parsley, oregano, thyme) broccoli, flowers (marigold, lavender, petunias). Do all of them need grow lights?

lovely_star
Full Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:02 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7B

shadowsmom wrote: I place a plank across the raised bed, on the edging of the bed, so that it doesn't touch the ground. My beds are 4 feet wide but I'm short and have trouble working in the middle comfortable. This way I have a board suspended across and I can place a foot or knee on it and work in the middle easily. They are not secured - I move them around as needed.

:idea: this is a pretty smart idea...any pics?

shadowsmom
Senior Member
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:40 pm
Location: NJ

lovely_star wrote:
shadowsmom wrote: I place a plank across the raised bed, on the edging of the bed, so that it doesn't touch the ground. My beds are 4 feet wide but I'm short and have trouble working in the middle comfortable. This way I have a board suspended across and I can place a foot or knee on it and work in the middle easily. They are not secured - I move them around as needed.

:idea: this is a pretty smart idea...any pics?
The garden is covered in snow this morning, but when I do get out there and plant I can take a picture and show you. :)

gardenvt
Green Thumb
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:21 pm

Maybe it's my age or that I am only 5'4" tall but I am planning my raised beds to be 3' wide. That is an easy reach without disturbing plants or breaking my back.

And I am interested in the soil folks use because these are my first raised beds. I don't have good soil to work with (sandy) so I am having it all hauled in. I had thought about making our own mix (compost, topsoil) but found a local garden center that has a mix.

What do you think about this mix?
48% compost, 33% top soil, sand and peat

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

What do you think about this mix?
48% compost, 33% top soil, sand and peat
I would like a higher number in the soil department. With that much compost, peat is not needed.

What type of top soil is it? It maybe silty already.

What is your native soil like? Maybe just a load of compost is needed.

Eric

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