Jake L.
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Quick Tip for Raised Bed Tomatoes

Don't make beds 4 feet wide, it is a waste of space/soil. Only make beds 2 feet wide.

The Helpful Gardener
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Couldn't agree more; mine are two foot...

HG
Scott Reil

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Duh_Vinci
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Learned that lesson too, all of my "second" generation beds I built this fall are 2' wide. Early spring - 6 more to build, will be 2' wide also!

Regards,
D

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rainbowgardener
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It would be helpful if someone said why they think so. I still like my 4' wide beds and I don't see that any space in them is wasted. They get FILLED with plants. The idea of 4' wide is that that is as wide as it can be and the gardener can still reach all of it, from one side or the other for weeding, etc.

Maybe since we are in the Tomato forum, you are thinking that you can't put two rows of tomatoes in a 4' bed, so you might as well only have a 2' one? I put two rows of tomatoes in mine, but offset a little. Also, since I have limited sunny garden space, the same bed has broccoli earlier in the season on the outside edges. The tomatoes start by sharing space with the broccoli. By the time the tomato plants are getting really big, the broccoli is done and pulled. In the meantime there's also marigolds, onions and nasturtiums in the bed for companion planting benefits. Sometimes I also tuck in a couple basil...

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applestar
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Only reason I wouldn't make mine 4' any more is that I'm too SHORT to reach the center strip of 4' wide raised bed from either side. 40" would work better for me. :roll:

Wouldn't you waste excess space on walkways between 2' beds? ... says a suburban backyard gardener trying to optimize every square inch of space.... :wink:

muddy45
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2ft. wide beds ?? stubby arms ?

Ya know i have a 2ft. arm reach,,soo 4ft. wide beds are perfect for me.
I am only 5' 5" inchs tall,i lost a half inch in my older years,sorry to say that,oh well!
All my beds are 4'x4' and 4'x6' with 30"inch walkways and 40" wheel barrel paths running the other way.
I am adding more boxes as soon as weather warms alittle to same measurments.
I had medical problems in fall,so put me behind a little. I did get my boxes manured and mulched ,befor i went in to the hospital.
my all knowing buddy ask me why i don't make them 20,,30,,or 50' long so i would have more planting space,,my answer? you do it your way and i'll do it my way.
I have 3 acers not all flat ,but plenty of room for garden space.
I like to walk all around my boxes,not build a bridge across them or pack a lunch to get around them.
I kinda use the sq.ft. method but not always as i like to heavy mulch them down.
well any way i have no problem reaching two feet across.
Now if your bed was against a fence or a building i would understand the 2'ft width.
I may be wrong,,but i would think a narrow box would dry out faster or maybe not.
Oh well to each their own.
Larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

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Duh_Vinci
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There are couple of reasons that appeal to me:

Since I have the room to expand the garden, I like to be able to freely walk around and between the garden. But, if the space is limited, and one is trying to utilize every inch of available space, can definitely agree, 4' beds can support a good variety of veggies at the same time.

Wheel barrel a must for me to get between the beds

Two rows of tomatoes in one 4' bed - I find a bit too crowded in terms of the lack of the air flow

Tried this year a 2'x10'x12" bed, with 3 bell peppers plants on each side, two indeterminate tomato plants in the middle, and 4 rows of 6 varieties of Basil n front of tomatoes - results are just as good as I got from 4'x10'x24" bed, same soil, same care, but less than 1/2 of the soil what I'd use in the larger bed.

So in my mind, since the crop rotation is highly recommended, I can build more than double the number of the raised beds of 2' wide with the same amount of soil as I'd use on 4' beds, and easily utilize the crop rotation.

Support of tall, indeterminate varieties I find to be much easier to achieve when planted all in one row of 2' beds.

Honestly - I really have not had any issues with quick drying, every 2' bed was mulched heavily with the straw, and all kept pretty well moist.

Going to build 8 more 2x10 as soon as the spring will smile on us, will take a week off, and organize the garden well, add more organic matter to each bed, so those would be nice and ready for 2010 planting, can't wait!!!


Regards,
D

muddy45
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Tomato spacing in 4' wide bed

I have noticed folks talk about wider spacing of tomatos then I do for air movment through plants.
I normaly plant them 1 per ft. on the north side of my boxes,,although i do a little pruning,not much,i have very good luck this way.
I have no leaf disease or fruit disease.
I have good fruit production.
I guess what I am trying to say is that i plant 4 plants on the end of a 4' wide box and trellis all of them.
My celeberties reached 6',,my sweet 100's reached about 7'and i also had a yellow cherry type tomato that only reached 5',but spread out on top of a 6' box the full length 6'.
don't know what the yellow ones were

,but had a citrus sweet taste to them.
this year i may try to give them more foot room and see what the difference is.
i love to try different things,,all is part of the enjoyment of gardening.
i am not very scientific,,though i do a lot of reading on subjects,that interests me.
i feel that hands on teachs me more then the reading about it does.
may all your desires be fullfilled

Tater
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I will never plant a tomato any closer than 5-6' on center Mine grew together at 3 foot on center in all directions...

muddy45
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I find that very interesting.
you must not do any pruning.
Tell me more.
Larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

muddy45
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tater

I think i will try that tater with a few plants since i have plenty of room,,see if i get more maters.
larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

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I am close to taters spacing, in a two foot row...

I live in the (mostly) moist Northeast. Fungal disease is an issue, therefore spacing becomes important for air circulation as muddy noted...Also keeps soil amending and fertilization to a minimal area...

RBG's point about space optimization is a completely valid point; if that is a key consideration for you, then there it is. For those of us with a little more room to spread out, and a little more wet to worry about, increased circulation and drainage make a narrower row of more value. Find your optimal mix and work it...

HG
Scott Reil

muddy45
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SUPER DIRT,MAYBE

When i decided to switch to raised bed square foot gardening,,it was to raise more vegetables in a given smaller space,,plus i am sort of a lazy gardener.
in the beginning it is sort of a butt busting job for us aged folks.
when i start my beds i did not follow Mel B's formula on his mixture.
I used 1/4 pasture top soil and 3/4 compost
this may be why i have such good luck with my close plantings.
leaves,alfalfa hay,pigeon and rabbit manure along with chicken manure and straw,kelp pellets ,green sand along with some other things i can't remember at the moment,make super dirt..
Larry
PS can't forget my
worm poo
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Tater
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Muddy I did not prune them-I pinched up as high as possible and planted. With close to 200 plants and the rest of the garden to tend I simply did not have time. I used cages (and everything grew together) I plan on using twine supports this year with metal t-posts.
Similar to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjLXGo_n5lQ


I am searchin the forum to help with other problems I had with my tomatoes but to stay in line with the op tate

The Helpful Gardener
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Tried the Texas/Florida/Figure 8 weave (heard it called all the above) this year on one row and I am retiring the cages completely next year. No storage of cages, easier access to fruit and I can train as high as the stakes (6 feet). Works a charm and easier to break down too...

HG
Scott Reil

MysticGardener67
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Could somone post more

on the texas/florida/figure 8 weave? Prsonally never heard of it...
I probably use the technique and not even no it LOL

muddy45
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I can not go in to youtube and see information,because of my obsolete browser.
I never heard of this weave system.
please explain.
Larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

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Very simply stakes at either end of the row; tie twine to first stake, run to other end of row with string at desired height. Once around the pole and head for other end. Many cross over to the opposite side of the row making a super elongated figure eight, hence that name; I first heard it called the Florida weave but then heard somebody else use Texas weave and don't wish to take sides there.

Simply repeat as necessary; as the plants grow you simply weave them into the twine. Support is contiguous and encourages the plants to grow on a vertical plane rather than horizontally; perfect for garden rows and smaller spaces, and it is resource conservative, taking neither great amounts of time or money... just works for me...

HG
Scott Reil

muddy45
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Small world,this is what i do on some of my plants,,others i make my own netting with jute twine and others i use hog wire stretched across t-posts.
i like the hog wire better,more permanent.
no it does not burn plants or tendrils.
the hog wire is 1950's vintage,rusty as all get out,,given to me by my late 95 yr. old brother in law when he sold his farm and equipment.
Larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

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Reduce, reuse, recycle. Good on ya, Larry... :D

HG
Scott Reil

Timlin
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Great thread. I'm just beginning to think about the coming season. Put in my first 3 seeds and they are just peeking through the soil right now.....they grow in the greenhouse all summer and I reseed a couple more times before seeding the outside garden varieties.

I like the idea of the weave and have copy/pasted that info for using on two of my raised beds. I'll see about the hog wire....this is not farm country so I may not be able to find that it sounds good.

muddy45
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HOG WIRE

I am not promoting hog wire for trelless.
I am just cheap and don't have a lot of money to waste on things that i can find alternatives for.
if you are gonna buy some thing new their are other things you can buy.
I also use the strings off of hay and straw bales to make trelless,,they last several years.
just string them to t-posts and draw tight.
all one is doing is duplicating a store bought vegetable trelless.
good luck
Larry
may all your desires be fullfilled

Timlin
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Thanks Larry! Actually we are a joke in our family for our inventiveness (that's a term that actually translates to 'cheapness'!). I'd probably never buy new but I appreciate the suggestions......I actually hadn't thought of using the hay bale string and it is indestructible isn't it?

tedln
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Re: Quick Tip for Raised Bed Tomatoes

Jake L. wrote:Don't make beds 4 feet wide, it is a waste of space/soil. Only make beds 2 feet wide.
The four foot beds work best for me. I plant my tomatoes in cages in the middle with summer squash planted on both sides of the tomatoes and either peppers or eggplants at the corners. This year the 4' X 8' beds will have summer squash in the middle with onions along the outside edges.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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