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New Raised Garden Bed

Hi. I'm posting here for the first time. Looks like there is a TON of info to check out. I wish I'd discovered it a week ago! That's when I mixed my soilless medium. What are your thoughts i.e. mixture in general and proportions? I live in Denver and it's pretty dry here over the summer. Zone 5B. I built this concrete block raised garden. Too many tree roots to plant in the ground. In actu :evil: ality I used 8-10 times this amount. So share your thoughts. I'm excited to read through this entire blog!

3 CF sphagnum peat
1 cf composted cow manure
1 gallon sand
2 cf perlite
1/2 gallon worm castings
1/2 cup garden lime

Greener Thumb
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Location: Zone 7A - Philadelphia, PA

Re: New Raised Garden Bed

Your setup sounds great and should work out really well.
If you are using big box cow manure, don't add any more sand.

If it were me, I would back pedal, I would remove the soil less medium.
Dig out about 6-10" of the native soil, set aside, fill with old rotten wood, mainly logs, wood with fungi work great, then branches, then twigs, fill large voids with "pine bark" mulch and similar media, toss in some of the native dirt you removed, then any other yard waste, ashes, bio-char, kitchen scraps, shredded cardboard, shredded paper, pizza boxes, TP rolls, etc...,toss in some straw, more native soil, some of your soil less medium, and keep layering and mixing between your native soil and your soil less medium, top with at least 4" of your soil less mix.
Make sure to soak each layer.
Sounds like a lot, but you can do a section at a time.
At the end of the season, chop and drop, top with yard waste, add a bit of Manure and/or compost, plant Oats and crimson clover, and start in situ composing.
This bed design should help retain water and self fertilize.
Nitrogen tie up should not be a problem your first year if you top with compost and manure.
Also using the pine bark mulch will not tie up nitrogen like wood chips do.

In the years to come you will be glad you took this extra step.

However if you want to plant out this year, use the beds as is, start collecting your materials and start this in the fall, maybe doing one section of the bed each season.

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Super Green Thumb
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Re: New Raised Garden Bed

In your dry climate, the peat moss is good for holding moisture. But it contains no nutrients. Your mix seems nutrient poor. The worm castings and manure are nutrient rich, but I think the amounts are too small in proportion to all that peat. You can mix some more in now or you can just be aware that your plants are in kind of low nutrient soil and plan to keep fertilizing through the season.
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: New Raised Garden Bed

Welcome to the forum! :D Hope you are ready for more :wink:

Hmm. I’m in agreement with the comments already posted. I like making a combination lasagna bed type raised bed, with compost pile-like ingredients on the bottom, and hugelkultur concept of heavily lignin and cellulose/carbon wood base aided by mycelial decomposition of fungi to add bulk and organic matter that won’t be breaking down to nothing too quickly — this goes in the very bottom after loosening the subsoil with a garden fork — Especially so in the deeper/higher raised bed like the double-stacked sections. I usually grow in a technique from “sheet mulching” and cover weedy materials with cardboard or layers of paper and thoroughly wet down before topping with weed-free materials/ingredients.

- Also, amount of lime seems inadequate? I add 2 cups per 1.5 cu.ft. in my sub-irrigated planter
-- I use dolomitic lime and rock phosphate — they contain micro nutrients. You might consider azomite for micros since you are in Colorado.
-- I think hard wood ash is another good way to raise pH and add potassium
- Composted cowmanure is typically less nutrient and more soil conditioner.
- Don’t just toss in worm castings but get some earth worms if you don’t have a lot of them in your garden already. Do a little research and try not to get imported worms. But bait worms can be the easiest if you don’t have other readymade sources. If there are some resident worms already, the kind of piles were talking about will attract them, so no need to add more.

What kind of fertilizer were you thinking of using? Note that ratio of npk and micronutrient needs will vary depending on what you plan to grow. It would be a good idea to plan with this and crop rotation in mind.
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:17 am

Re: New Raised Garden Bed

Thank you all for your replies. I actually made an error when typing this. It is 3cf sphagnum peat then TWO cf composted, bagged manure. Might also use Osmocote slow release fertilizer. Finally, the bait shop has earthworms/nightcrawlers and red worms (which are smaller). Will either type be good to use?

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