SurpriseAzGardener
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Just Starting

We are just starting our garden with raised beds about 3 feet high because I have back problems and my husband is going to build them. My question is we will have a bottem (wood) should we put plastic or ? on the wood then soil? Any help will be greatly appreciate. This is a great site because it helped with the 10 inches deep so thank you:)
My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view. ~H. Fred Dale

DoubleDogFarm
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Why the bottom?

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Since SAZ mentioned 10" deep, I'm guessing the bottom is that they are essentially making a soil tray and then raising that to get to a better working height.

DDF is right, another alternative would be just to build them 3' deep, but that would take literal tons of dirt to fill.

Yes, the concern with the soil tray idea is that the bottom will rot out after just a few seasons, depending on how thick it is. My raised beds are built out of 4x4" fence posts (cheap to buy) and they have lasted 10 seasons now. You could use something like that. Just hold the fence posts together with cross pieces underneath. That would allow you to leave some spaces between the posts for drainage. Whatever frame you are building will have to be very solid, dirt is heavy and using the fence posts makes it even heavier

If you are using plywood or thin boards they will only last a couple seasons without protection. You could put the plastic down to protect it, but then your issue is drainage. If you don't have good drainage, your soil tray will only be good for wetland/ swamp plants. I guess plastic with plenty of small holes in it. Your frame still needs to be very supportive. Thinner wood is lighter, but will warp more.

Here's some ideas for planter boxes:

https://healthfoodfitnessdirectory.co.cc/raised-planter-boxes

It looks like some people are using plastic and some people are putting gravel in the bottom for drainage then landscape fabric, then the soil....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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vegetable-gardener88
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Why not just fill the raised beds with soil. We have raised beds but they are around 1' - we didn't make a bottom as that will just rot out.

We filled them up with soil, you can also add leaves, grass clippings and manure with the soil to fill them up.

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rainbowgardener
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Look at the link I posted, scroll down to the pictures. They are working on bringing gardening up to a level that works for people with back problems, which I think is really admirable, rather than giving up gardening. You could just fill it, but as I noted above, to fill a reasonable sized bed to even a 3' level, you would have to truck in tons of top soil. If you make it shallow but raised, you can accomplish the same thing with a lot less soil.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

SurpriseAzGardener
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Thanks

Eric the reason we were going to use plastic we though we had to protect the wood and rainbowgardener thanks for the pictures we are going to look into doing something like that and use the rock so it will drain. Gardener88 I can't bend over for to long so my husband thought he could build something with legs so i can reach. I am very excited now with the link can't wait to start we have some time with the heat at 103 so early morning and at night we are getting the area ready and start a compost area. I will show pic. Thank you all so much :D
My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view. ~H. Fred Dale

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paul1149
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AZ, one thought I had would be to use heavy plastic to protect the bottom plywood, but to cut drain holes along the bottom edge of one long bed side and then permanently tilt the bed in its direction. The drain holes would simply be periodic notches cut into the side before the frame was assembled, and I would recommend running the plastic under the bed sides as well. IOW, cover the entire bottom, then attach the bottom to the sides, so the plastic continues out to the edge. I would even wrap the plastic over the edge and tack it to the bottom of the floor, to protect the plywood edge. If you use stone to facilitate drainage, use gravel, as its round edges won't cut the plastic.

I'm assuming you're using plywood, but this would hold true for a solid wood bottom as well, though it wouldn't be quite so critical.

be blessed,
p.

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