TheLorax
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Vegetable Garden Design

I'd like to create a raised bed vegetable garden using a similar type of retaining block-
[img]https://www.snowcrest.net/vic/graphics/halfwall350.jpg[/img]

I like the gray ones in the photo above.

The area in which I have space to create this is in full sun.

A friend sent me an e-mail of a photograph of two pages from her Country Gardens Spring 2008 magazine of a vegetable/herb garden. I can see that one of the page numbers is 51. I really like that design.

Since it is unlikely anyone has Country Gardens magazine, I went online and tried to find something similar. From this site, the Dartmoor design would be most similar to what I'd like to create-
https://www.ipwoody.com/Garden%

Thoughts were to go up three tiers of retaining blocks with a design that would provide me with easy access to hand weed from all sides. Ideally, I'd like to grow the following:
tomatoes
beans
lettuce
spinach
collards
brussels sprouts
eggplant
zucchini
endive
green peppers
squash, acorn & spaghetti
possibly some cauliflower and broccoli
strawberries

Preference would be for heirloom varieties.
I need this to be an organic veggie garden.

I already have an asparagus bed. Problem is none of it ever makes it to the table because I snack on it when I'm out gardening. I'd like to enlarge the existing asparagus bed.

If I can work on this a little bit here and there over the summer, I should have some space to grow vegetables by next season. I have been composting for years and have been setting that aside.

I do not know what I am doing. These are just ideas I have. Yes, I've grown a tomato plant before as well as other common vegetables. The last garden I had was obliterated by deer and rabbits, not once but twice so I will need to attach chicken wire to stakes to enclose the entire area.

Any help appreciated- I do not know what I am doing and have failed miserably in the veggie dept in the past. Links to sites to give me ideas and information also very much appreciated.

TheLorax
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Really sorry about that second link. They must have changed things around at their site. In order to get to the illustration I wanted to share, those interested would have to go to here first>
https://www.ipwoody.com/
Then once you are there you have to click on th box toward the top that says> Garden Designs
Then you need to scroll down to the Dartmoor design (a)

I really apologize for the bad links I'm adding. They worked for me at the time but things change I guess.

TheLorax
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In this thread-
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7281

There is a photo of a page from the Country Gardens magazine that Dom Nizza posted at the link above to help me out.

Please take a look if anyone has a moment.

bullthistle
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Planting perennials deer dislike interspersing them throughout your garden might help, 1-those with felted leaves such as lamb’s ears, 2-those with aromatic leaves such as the ornamental oregano and other herbal perennials, 3-those that are poisonous.

https://propagatingperennials.blogspot.com

TheLorax
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Seems to me there is little deer dislike these days unless somebody comes up with a plant that is hard like concrete or has razor blades for leaves. Based on the damage the deer have and continue to do here, the best route for me to go is exclusion for a vegetable garden or else I will go nuts trying to keep them out of my vegetable garden.

I don't know much about growing herbs. I received a little window sill herb garden kit once and enjoyed it while it lasted but our cats got to it and that was the end of that. I've been buying my herbs in little jars and tins from the grocery store. I might be interested in adding some herbs to a vegetable garden.

Stachys byzantina (Lambs Ear) would be a no go for me though. I'm finding that, Daucus carota (Queen Anne's Lace), and Verbascum thapsus (Mullein) coming up all over here the last few years. Those three are hard to work out of the ground because of their long tap roots.

One of the things I'd like to know would be what would the ideal height be for a raised vegetable bed in the midwest.

I'd also like to know if they require drainage of any sort.

doccat5
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Hi there, Love the pictures on the sites, just lovely.

If I may make some suggestions on some things you can do to make your veggie gardening in raised beds more successful.

I'm not chicken wire is heavy enough, nor small enough gauge to control deer and rabbits. But you might also want to consider adding a row of used cd disks, tin pie plates or strips of foil along areas of the fence line. The moment has a tendency to "spook" deer and they will avoid it. You also might want to consider using two separate strands of wire with a low voltage electrical charge to discourage your visitors.

As for the raised beds, I'd go at least 4 deep, cover the bottom with 3-4 layers of wet newspapers to help smother out weed seed and add your amendments to the area.

I'm not sure what zone your in, but in order to plant heirloom veggies, you are probably going to have to grow your starts from seed. So do consider your growing season and factor in the amount of time you have to get them in the ground from the last danger of frost.

From your list, I would suggest you consider planting strawberries in their own separate bed or depending on the number of plants you want to use, there are also strawberry jars available that work quite well.

Squash and zuccini are both sprawlers so plan accordingly.

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant are all heat lovers, so plant them where they can get maximum benefit from the sun. Depending on the width of your bed and I wouldn't go over 3-4 foot, (you have to be able to reach to the middle) you need to decide whether or not you want to stake your tomatoes and do it when you plant the plant, so you do not disturb the root system later on. Eggplant can be grown on a trellis, I use old kneehighs or pantyhose to act as a sling for those, cukes, and small melons. Works like a charm.

You didn't mention it but pole or bush variety beans? Pole beans also need a trellis or support. Do consider putting your beans toward the middle of the bed and inter plant with your "salad mixture". Those have a tendency to bolt in the heat and if you provide some extra "shade" they will produce longer. Also do succession planting with those type of crops for a continuous fresh harvest. Cauliflower and broccoli are also "bolters", but they don't mind a nip of frost, so they can go in early in the spring and again in the fall. Try and pick a variety that matures fairly quickly.

I don't see radishes anywhere on your list. They are wonderful additions not only to eat, but as row markers between your plantings. I use them to mark my rows, because they germinate so quickly I can easily see where I left off between one and the other. Also if inter planted with your other plants, they act as a "trap crop" for squash bugs and cuke beetles. Just pull the damaged radishes and discard.

Consider doing some additional companion planting with marigolds, (you want the old fashioned ones with the strong smell), nasturtiums (which not only repel bugs, but taste wonderful in salads) Certain herbs would also help. I suggest you google for more information on companion plantings that would be of interest to you. For you new asparagus bed, I would separate the two beds with a row of parsley or basil or both.

The list is to numerous to mention, but some research should yield some good ideas for additional plants that will work well for you.

It is critical that you keep a record of your planting when using a stationary raised method. You not only need to note what varieties you planted, when you planted them and how they did, but you need to note the locations of all so you can rotate crops as necessary. For tomatoes that is very important.

Good luck and much success on your venture. Nothing tastes quite as good as home grown vegetables.

doccat5

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Jess
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Interplanting with herbs will benefit your veges enormously. They not only deter/encourage pests from your crops they also benefit them through the soil via the roots.
https://www.dgsgardening.btinternet.co.uk/companion.htm
https://www.ecolocal.org.uk/Beanstalk/companion_plants.htm
They add beauty to an area that is normally quite regimental and their flowers bring pollinators by the bucket load!

You might have guessed by now herbs are my thing! :lol:
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

TheLorax
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My questions regarding drainage have been answered by another gardener.

I loved the pictures too.

Yes, please do continue to make suggestions.

I don't know if chicken wire is strong enough or not. My thoughts had been to sink pvc down into the corners to be able to secure stakes that chicken wire could be wrapped around. Never thought of an electric fence. I've used electric fences around ponds to stop raccoons. Good suggestion.

I had been thinking 3 deep would be adequate but can easily go 4 rounds of retaining blocks. Smothering the grass with layers of newspapers was something I had planned on doing.

I'm in zone 5. I have a few suggestions for tomatoes but other than that I'm open. I think I could grow veggies from seed. If I killed them it wouldn't be the end of the world. Don't know that I would be able to factor in the growing season but I could try. Is this information available online somewhere or on the seed packs? Have you any sources for Heirloom seeds?

What is a strawberry jar? Gotta link? I could plant strawberries separately.

Another gardener just mentioned to me that the squash would be too sprawly for a raised bed too. I can knock those off my wish list and maybe as time goes on, I can create another area just for those. I do use those veggies in quite a few recipes which is why I listed them above.

TMI for right now-
Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant are all heat lovers, so plant them where they can get maximum benefit from the sun. Depending on the width of your bed and I wouldn't go over 3-4 foot, (you have to be able to reach to the middle) you need to decide whether or not you want to stake your tomatoes and do it when you plant the plant, so you do not disturb the root system later on. Eggplant can be grown on a trellis, I use old kneehighs or pantyhose to act as a sling for those, cukes, and small melons. Works like a charm.
How about I draw out a picture of the raised beds after they're up and draw an arrow to show North, then list out what veggies I have, and let someone like you fill in the blanks with what goes where and why for me?

I would prefer bush beans.
Pole beans also need a trellis or support. Do consider putting your beans toward the middle of the bed and inter plant with your "salad mixture". Those have a tendency to bolt in the heat and if you provide some extra "shade" they will produce longer. Also do succession planting with those type of crops for a continuous fresh harvest. Cauliflower and broccoli are also "bolters", but they don't mind a nip of frost, so they can go in early in the spring and again in the fall. Try and pick a variety that matures fairly quickly.
Maybe you would take a moment to suggest varieties of cauliflower and broccoli for me so I don't screw up? As far as succession planting, I'll need help with that also.

The idea of companion planting marigolds and nasturtium appeals to me. Where do you purchase yours? I'll poke around the Internet for companion plants tomorrow.

The asparagus bed is existing. I'm going to expand it. It's completely separate from the above.

I maintain very detailed logs of what I do.

Thank you doccat5. I appreciate the time you spent replying to me.

Hey Jess, you can pick my herbs for me ;) I like the idea of separating rows with basil and parsley so any other herbs you feel would work well for me are fair game. Please know this isn't a huge vegetable garden though.

TheLorax
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Found this in another thread-
You can try using floating row cover over the young plants, to keep off the beetles. You can also interplant with radishes which act as a "trap crop" for beetles. Just pull the damaged radishes and discard.
What is a floating row cover and when would you use one? Also too, I've read about trap crops. Understand the concept but would like to know more.

doccat5
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For choices on seed try this site, they are both heirloom and organically grown seed

[url]https://www.heirloomseeds.com/colecrop.htm[/url]

Row covers come in different "weights" and sizes. They are used to help protect young seedlings from insect pests and from sudden cold snaps. They act as an insulator and help hold the warmth next to the seedlings. Garden's Alive has some nice one's available.

[url]https://www.gardensalive.com[/url]

If you can provide a diagram and tell me what varieties you are planning on using and their mature dates, I can probably get you started with a planting chart. :)

doccat5

NewjerseyTea
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Hi Lorax,
Floating row covers are semi transparent loosely woven white fabric available in garden centers. They are used to cover plants so the flying insects don't deposit eggs or chew on plants. Very effective.

You might want to consider growing your vegetables in a French style potager that is beautifully designed to include herbs and flowers.

Two books you could look at that I used are: The Complete Kitchen Garden: the Art of Designing and Planting an Edible Garden by Patrick Bowe and
Creative Vegetable Gardening Accenting Your Vegetables With Flowers by Joy Larkcom

Books on vegetables I've used are: Vegetable Gardening Callaway Gardens by David Chambers
Heirloom Vegetable Gardening A Master's Gide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History by William Woys Weaver

Unfortunately I've so overextended myself volunteering on other projects I will only have an herb garden instead of a potager this year.

TheLorax
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doccat5- I will take you up on your offer to provide me with a planting chart once I get the retaining blocks up. That's when I'll begin researching which varieties I'll be interested in planting next year.

NewJerseyTea- Which of the books you suggested would best address companion plants for vegetables as well as trap crops?

Another issue has come up. The possible need for a base for the landscape blocks. Thoughts on this please?

TheLorax
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Found this raised bed garden design and really like it-
[img]https://epsplasticlumber.com/pics/gardenstogrow2.jpg[/img]

Here's the manufacturer-
https://epsplasticlumber.com/contact.shtml

I wonder how many more designs I will go through before I settle on something?

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

I just finished planting MY new raised veg beds. Mine are strictly utilitarian but here they are:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/DSCN1393.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/DSCN1385.jpg[/img]

They are made with 8" metal raised bed corners from [url=https://www.gardeners.com/Raised-Bed-Corners/Landscaping_RaisedBeds,11892,default,cp.html]Gardener's Supply[/url]:
I used cedar 2x4's instead of 2x8's because they're cheaper, and also because they let me adjust for the sloped area without having to make angled cuts. So the lower beds (B), (C)-(D) are 2 2x4's high and the taller bed (A) is 4 2x4's high.
(A) 4'x4' (B) 4'x6' (C) 2'x6' (D) 2'x4'

I found out by accident that putting the 12" [url=https://www.gardeners.com/Raised-Bed-Stakes/Landscaping_RaisedBeds,36-652,default,cp.html]raised bed stakes[/url]: inside the corners creates a handy place to put cedar 1x1 stakes. I have the short vinyl coated wire fence secured to the stakes with tie wraps (google for an image if you don't know what that is). It's not in these photo's but I planted broccoli with the potatoes and carrots in (A), so I put up more fence around (A).

The veg garden is mostly for my kids' benefit so they're mostly planted with their favorites:
(A) carrots, potatoes, broccoli, soybean (edamame)
(B) sweet corn, pumpkin, scarlet runner bean, nasturtium, parsley, dill. Also Moonflower in a corner by the fence
(C) sweet corn, pickling cucumber, sunflowers, dill. Also Moonflower by the fence and clematis in the corner
(D) peas, tomato, basil, dill
I based the plant spacing on square foot gardening.

I really like the hooped netting. I just bought 2 more for another part of the garden ([url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8140&highlight=]Sunflower House[/url]) It's also from [url=https://www.gardeners.com/Insect%20Netting%20with%20Hoops/37-439,default,pd.html]Gardener's Supply[/url]:

My main concern is bunnies and neighbor's cats. I was protecting the corn with the Garden Quilt (heavier than floating row cover, only 60% light transmission) until they were big enough. So I've taken that off now. The groundhog may or may not venture all the way to this area.
Last edited by applestar on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheLorax
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I lust for your fence! That would do a pretty decent job keeping rabbits and deer out. You've got so much space to work around in that area too! That's really a great veggie garden design.

We've got problems with stray cats around here too. They love loose garden soil because it's easier to dig around in to pee and poop. I hate finding cat turds when I garden so must admit that when I began looking at designs, I tried my best to keep out not only the critters that would eat my plants but the critters that would pee and poop in an around my plants. The most recent design I came up with is very compact but with the end posts, I'd be able to drape netting over the top. Cats won't normally jump up on a fence to try to get to the other side if there's netting over the top. Deer would jump over if they could find a clear space to land on the other side but the design I've got doesn't provide much space for anything but one human being to work in so even though it's way below the minimum of 8', I don't think the deer would get clearance to get in and browse.

pete28
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Just a quick question. What shape is the raised bed going to be. the reason I ask is because I would htink the different shapes would give you several different options especially for the variety of veggies you will have. The second is size, how big is it going to be as you will need a bit of room for all the veggies to grow comfortably. Just wondering.
Begin again before you end and start the process over again.

TheLorax
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Here's the style I like and I'd like one about the same size-
[img]https://epsplasticlumber.com/pics/gardenstogrow2.jpg[/img]

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