bionictony
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Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

raised garden bed placement

hello all, first post looking for advice.

i recently built a garden bed out of stacked 2x6 redwoods. my bed is 4' long, 4' wide, 1' high.

i have a 7' high solid vinyl fence that goes east to west. i placed the garden bed 2' from the wall on the north side, so about 2/3 gets full sun and 1/3 gets fully shaded sun all day. I'm in the inland empire socal area so it's pretty hot and sunny here all year round. I'm planning on growing veggies in this 4x4 garden bed for now. do i need one of those covered shades? should i move it to a sunnier area? i bought some young tomato plants and put it on the sunny side with cages. they seem to be growing well so far sprouting green small tomatoes. i also recently planted in young sweet basil and young strawberry plants. they were 30% off at the target garden center. they all seem fine for now. in the fall, when the sun shifts, i may get a more shaded garden bed where mayb 2/3rds or more will be shaded. should i move it now? i should have thought about placement and shade before doing this! i also want to grow romaine lettuce, mint, and maybe some other vegetables soon. looking for advice. thanks.

bionictony
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Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

i didn't know tomatoes were deep root plants. so they would die in my shallow 10" soil garden bed?

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Is there a solid bottom under the raised beds like hardscape or gravel or solid clay? If there is, the depth of the raised bed becomes much more serious issue. The roots will tend to grow laterally along where the two soil textures meet. Then the spacing between the plants will become a bigger issue as there won't be enough room for all the roots.

If it is gravel but a shallow one, then the roots will find their way down. If it's clay, I would use a garden fork -- stand on it to fracture/make holes as deeply underneath as you can (you don't have to dig up or turn it over -- just stab the fork down and rock/wiggle). Make sure to add up to 1/3 compost in the raised bed soil mix.

We have the micro-climate issue going on with your location: The color of the fence and wall will affect the level of darkness in the shade. White and lighter walls will reflect more light. Wall material will affect the temperature level. Depending on what it is, in the summer, it may reflect/hold in too much heat. This would help in a colder climate to winter over some plants, but, in your climate, I'm not sure if there is a plus. There will be less air circulation, but if your area is dry, then it won't be as much of an issue as in a humid area where loss of circulation may promote fungal diseases.

bionictony
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Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles

looks like I'm going to build a bigger garden bed. it'll be 4x8 and still 1' high. but i'll dig into the clay soil and fill it so it'll be about 2 feet of soil. anyone ever grow them upside down? say take a 3 gallon container and hang it 6 feet in the air?

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rainbowgardener
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They make special grow bags for growing tomatoes upside down, called Topsy-Turvy. You can do the same thing with your bucket, it will just need more support, being heavier. Type Topsy-Turvy tomatoes and/or upside down tomatoes into the Keyword Box that comes up when you click on Search the Forum above to find a number of threads here about people's experiences with upside down growing. It's been pretty mixed...
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gumbo2176
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bionictony wrote: anyone ever grow them upside down? say take a 3 gallon container and hang it 6 feet in the air?

My father-in-law, who at one time was an avid gardener, is now 83 and can't do what is necessary to sustain an in-ground garden. The last 2 years he tried those topsy-turvy tomato plants and has had little to no success. The few tomatoes he got off them were small for their variety and the plants themselves were much smaller than what he experienced with in ground plants.

I bring him stuff from my garden and his sister who's 81 still has a good size garden and she shares much of her crop with him.

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