mandamankins
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Location: st. louis

Raised Veggie Garden

Hi! I'm new to gardening, and plan to grow vegetables in a square foot raised garden bed. I've constructed the bed (from a kit) and attached chicken wire to the bottom so moles and other burrowing animals will not be able to burrow up through the bottom.

The raised bed is 4ftX4ft and 5.5 inches tall

My question is: do I need to till the grass and soil that will be under the raised garden bed?

Any help will be much appreciated!!

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hendi_alex
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If it were mine, I would cover the area with 6-8 sheets of newspaper, then fill the beds with quality soil/compost mix.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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rainbowgardener
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Agree, don't till. The point of the newspaper is just to be a weed barrier. Be sure to water the soil first and then water the newspaper well, then put down the bed and fill it. You want the newspaper to break down after it's done it's job of preventing the weeds in the ground from sprouting.
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cynthia_h
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I did my first Square Foot Garden raised beds in Spring 2008. I believed Mel B in his 2005 revised edition when he said 6 inches was deep enough.

Not really...

You'll want at least 10, ideally 12, inches of depth for leafy/fruiting vegetables (think tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumber, etc.). If you'd like to grow carrots, parsnips, or other root veggies, 18 inches is better. I cheated and made part of the bed 10 inches deep and part of it 18 inches deep (for those who've kept track of my saga, this is Bed #1, out of concrete blocks, *not* filled with native soil :wink:).

There are some other St. Louis area gardeners here on the forum, so you'll have neighbors advising you on the best veggies for your area! :)

Happy gardening!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

mandamankins
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:25 pm
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thanks for the advice. I guess I need to go back to home depot so I can make a taller raised bed, which is too bad, but I'm glad I found out now before I started planting. This seems like a great forum!

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hendi_alex
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My raised beds are on concrete or over landscape fabric. My original beds on the concrete area were filled with about five inches of soil. They did a great job for planting things like lettuce, beans, garlic, and other plants with modest root systems. However the beds did tend to dry out too fast during the hottest part of the summer. In 2009 I replace those beds with 2 x 10's holding about 9 inches of soil. The beds now hold adequate moisture and both cucumber plants and squash vines did very well in the beds. I believe that tomatoes would do fine there as well, but have other uses planned for the beds. So for most things I believe that 9 inches of soil in a 4 x 4 or 4 x 8 sized bed will work quite well in most locations. If for some reason additional depth is needed, another section of board can be attached to the top of the initial board, such that there are two frames stacked one on top of the other. That way the frame depth can grow as material becomes available to fill the bed to a greater depth.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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