Help! Garden Plan

whiteappleSeptember 27, 2009

I've been planning out my vegetable garden out for next year, which will be my first real garden so I can build the raised beds and they are ready in the spring for planting. I really want to have a good sized garden and produce a lot of food. I am a vegan so I eat a lot of fresh vegetables when they are in season. Ok so I have already planted some grapes on trellises and plan on trellis some wild native berry plants. Ok for the Garden after changing my plan several times I think I got one. I wanted to know your advice on size mainly. I plan on doing 4 raised beds either 4x8 or 4x10 or 4x12. And raise them probably around 4 inches (should I raise them more?)

I read that a raised square foot garden of 144 sq. ft can raise enough veggies for a family but I eat a lot of vegetables and use a lot of greens for smoothies, and I plan on sharing. I know I can always add more beds but I want a lot of room to experiment.

For those with raised square foot gardens how big is yours? Also what soil did you fill it with?

Any advice is appreciated for this gardening newbie.

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I don't have framed raised beds but if I wanted to make some, I would considr three shapes, rectangular, circular and oval. All designs should be of such width/diameter that I can reach everything without steping inside, to weed or pick.
Aside from the geometrics and ergonomics, one must take into account the followings:
-- perenials, annuals
-- heighth and size of the plants
-- sun/shade requirements

For example, design such that taller plants/trellised ones are situated towars west/northwest end, in order not shade the shorter ones.
Some plants may not need full sun, put them where they will get right amount of sun/shade

With the annuals, it is easier to change plans , but with perenials it pays to forethink.
We all learn from our mistakes (=experiences !!). This past pear I planted lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena in my smallish round rasied-bed herbs garden. Well , they do not belong there. This fall I will have to dig them up and plant them somewhere else, as a border plants mixed with annual flowers.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 6:15PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Are you planning on digging down into your native soil underneath the raised beds, or just piling soil on top of what you already have? If you're not digging down, you're going to want to have the sides of your beds more than 4". I believe 6" is recommended for traditional SFG's, but many people prefer their raised beds to go deeper, myself included.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 7:35PM
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wiringman(ZONE 4)

we have 8 what i call grow boxes. they are 4 feet by 30 feet and the people harvesting them complained that it was hard to get to the middle rows. the next grow boxes i build with be 2 feet wide by 30 feet.

the reason i do at least 30 foot rows is because i like to grow a lot of food.

the problem with grow boxes is tending them in the winter to get ready for the spring is a lot of labor. there is now easy way to remove the old dirt even tilling is a chore.

however with new compiled soil you have much lass of a weed problem. we use equal parts peat and compost with about 5% pearlite to help with the water retention.

i have built a trellis over the grow boxes and that works well with almost any vine crop.

trellises economizes your garden space and makes it easier too deal with the weed and to harvest. i can harvest a 30 foot row of tomatoes in 1 min. and the cucumbers and beans in 10 min.

in contrast my banana squash it took me 1/2 an hour to harvest 800 pounds. i guess if you compared the tonnage the banana squash was a more efficient harvest but my back said the tomatoes and light things were easter to harvest.

it really have to give a method a chance to see what you like.

the people here have there own tried and proven methods and you just need to pick and chose.

i had a 7000 square foot garden this year and it had 54 30 to 40 foot row. in 11 rows i had 550 tomatoes plants. i lost about 12 of those plants. this has not been a good tomato year. i only got upwards of 3000 pounds of tomatoes this year. now that the harvest is going strong we get up to 40 qrs a day and last year we were getting twice that.

you take what you can get and enjoy it.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 10:24PM
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I think 4ft wide should be fine. You can reach 2ft from each side.It is about the length of an arm, without even bending. By making beds 2ft wide you are using a lot more lumber per square foot to frame it, almot twice as much. Also you are wasting more land for walkways. But if money and land are no object then its fine. O! also you will have to do more walking. But this one is good for you!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:21AM
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potterhead2(z5b NY)

I have gardened in raised beds for over 25 years and I believe it is the best. It is wise to limit the width of the bed to 4 ft. since you will be able to reach into every part of it without stepping on the garden soil.

The depth depends on what kind of soil you have. If the soil where the beds will be is pretty good, then 6" high beds is fine. Your plants will use the soil below the 6" frames too, so prepare that well. First break up the soil where the beds will be, mix in a good amount of compost, then put the frames on top and fill the frames to the top with topsoil mixed with compost. If the soil is not good you will need to bring in about 10" of topsoil/compost. Where my garden spot is located the ground is heavy clay and stone fill. It can only be broken up with a pick axe. So, I made beds from 2" x 12" lumber and put them on the surface and filled to the top with purchased topsoil/compost. If your drainage is really good you could excavate 4"-6" down, removing the bad soil and carting it away to use as fill somewhere else. Then put 6" frames over the excavated hole and fill to the top with purchased soil. You still have to bring in 10" of topsoil, but half of it will be below grade level. Only do this if you are sure the drainage is good. Otherwise the excavated hole will stay filled with water.

It may seem like a lot of work or expense, but starting out with the best soil you can will make gardening SO much easier. Your plants will thrive. And you only have to do it once. Each year I just add a couple of inches of compost and a little organic fertilizer to the beds and turn them with a hand trowel. It's so soft and loose you don't need a shovel.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:22AM
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How much of that food do you eat yourself? Do you trellis summer squash, peas, what all?
I live in the suburbs and have one of the biggest yards in the nighborhood because of the power lines that run overhead on the east side since they can't build a house under them. I have a half acre and I would take up the whole yard with a Garden but my mum wouldn't like it or my dog wouldn't either. I think I am going to till the soil underneath my boxes to remove the grass. I also think I will do 4 - 4x12 gardens and I don't know about depth. I mainly wanted to keep it more shallow because of the amount of dirt needed and how much it costs but I figure its an investment so I'll go up to 6 or 8 inches.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:26AM
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Your information is very helpful even though it gets me into a lot more needed work. I will go for 6 inch depth in my beds. Around here the soil is kind of poor, well the home builders took all the top soil off and sold it but thats typical. We have somewhat clay-ey soil, and matter of fact there's a clay company based out of town where they refine it and all about 5 miles from my house. My yard is not too clay-ey though my grandmother's a mile away is.
Well anyway. Looks like I got a plan going. Call about top soil and some compost soil tomorrow(I have only a small compost heap not enough for what I need) Buy the lumber. Mark off area to till. Till around a few inches, remove grass clumps. Cut and construct lumber boxes. fill with dirt and wait for spring. Hopefully It's won't rain a lot this week we have had non stop rain past few days. I was also going to put a few inches of leaves on my beds to let compost over the winter thing that will help?

Also potterhead2 how many raised beds do you have and how big, I'm just curious.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 11:04AM
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potterhead2(z5b NY)


Leaves are great for your soil, just shred them first (you can run over them with a lawnmower) and dig them right in to the soil in the fall. You can also put them on top in spring as a mulch around your plants. The best is if you mow the grass with some leaves on it and collect this. The mixture of shredded leaves with grass clippings will decay over the winter and be fabulous.

My garden is 12' x 28' fenced (we have lots of deer). It is kind of bull's eye in design (although a rectangle - not a circle). I have 2' wide beds that run all around the inside perimeter up against the fence, then a 2' path and a 4 ft x 20ft bed in the middle. I graphed out several designs for the space and this one gives the most growing area compared to paths.

I would have a larger garden but the family wants some lawn too (go figure!). I do also sneak some winter squash at the edge of the lawn which trail off into the unmowed slope.

To get the most out of your space do a lot of trellising. Also do some research on what varieties take the most space. For instance Dwarf Curly Kale is much more compact than Red Russian and I think I get just as much many leaves. The biggest space hog I have is zucchini, which doesn't trellis. Next year I'm going to try Zuchetta (Trombocino Ramicante) instead of Zucchini. It supposedly tastes the same but it can be trellised.

Congratulations on getting started with home gardening. You'll find it's very addictive. Check back in here often to keep us posted.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:07PM
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Thanks for the Kale tidbit, I plan on growing a good amount of that. Also the zucchini because I like it a little but I was going to grow it for others. And that zuchetta you mentioned was actually mentioned to my mom who then told me and she showed me the name but I had forgotten it and was going to try and find it again. The person who told her about said it tasted a lot better and I think it produces more.
What about Yellow Squash? Trellis?
I am definitely going to collect a lot of leaves for my gardens so I have good compost along with my top soil I need to get.
I plan on starting a blog mainly about food I should be posting pictures on there soon with my raised beds construction.

Okay so I just googled that squash wow look at this picture ( I don't know how to post an image on here!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:50PM
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I went to Lowe's today to look at lumber and I wanted to know what wood would be best for the Garden. I am trying to avoid treated wood but I don't want an untreated wood that will just rot away in a few years. They had some whitewood I think was the name, is this fine to use?
I plan on lining it with plastic anyway on the inside so if it's treated I won't get the chemicals or if untreated it won't rot. What about wrapping the whole peice of lumber in plastic? or What waterproofer could I use that is safe?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Also I am looking at water-sealers, are these safe, I would opt for Water-Based ones but is Acrylic or Latex safe for sealers?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:50PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

I think the general recommendation for raised bed building is redwood or cedar. Some people opt for treated wood, which is supposedly now much safer than it used to be, but although I do have a few areas in my yard where I grow things in treated wood, for the most part, I avoid it when I can. I built my new raised beds out of landscape timbers - the squared off round ones, not the ones that look like railroad ties, but I'm not sure what kind of wood is used - pine maybe. I expect that they'll probably rot out in a few years, but they were $1.99/8' piece on sale at Home Depot, so the price couldn't be beat. Redwood and cedar would be much more rot resistant, but the cost goes up exponentially (at least around here) if you choose either of those.

As far as a wood treatment, I've seen lots of recommendations for linseed oil (NOT boiled linseed oil, which contains a lot of carcinogens), but it takes a really long time to dry, and is supposed to attract mildew and/or mold. I was going to use it on my untreated beds, but I decided not to after hearing about the mildew and the spontaneous combustion of linseed oil soaked rags.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:56PM
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I looked at the timber and all they had were expensive ones I'm not sure what size or what they were made of but when I saw $20 or more I just walked away.
There were some other landscape timbers that were $4/8' and I think they were treated.
The thing with them is I wanted 12 foot wide gardens and they are more expensive and don't allow me to go as deep as I want (6").
Cedar is expensive in this area. Menard's has it on sale and 2x6x12 is $19 and the 'whitewood" I looked at was around $5. I am thinking I will go ahead and just get untreated cheap stuff and put a water sealant on them that is water based and has latex since latex is a natural rubber and still line it with plastic on the inside.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:38PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I looked into water resistant MDF over here to find you can't buy it and the waterproof cover of melamine is liablr to clipping and the board blowing I think there are only the alternative you are looking at, using the latex or heavy duty varnish, Latax has issues as it can cause sensitively in some people or allergy.
I have grappled with this problem since March, and in June brought some raises beds, made of recycled plastic, which can also insulate the beds to about -28?? I think and have canopies over them to extend the season, but this would be an expensive option, for the size of garden you want, but idea for me as they can easily taken apart, moved and re build, which for someone who moves ever few years this is of great benefit, and they are good for 20 years or so, I like them so much, I am getting more next year. it would cost over a $1000 to cover the area you want!
that said as they are 1 part 6 inches deep and the other 12 inches, if you only wanted 6 inch beds you can take of the top tear and make it a separate 4x4 foot, you get enough poles to make this a viable option, and is what I am looking to do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Got them from Gardeners Supply,

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 8:03PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I was going to show you my slide show then realised the first 2 picture of a raised bed may confuse you (it's an old toddler bed! I tipped on end) the one I was wanting to show you was the green one further in, but I hit submit, rather than, going to correct it! DOH!
that said you can see the canopy on my picture, the sticky up sticks aren't meant to stick up! but my soil is pure rock!
PS these are available from other companies, it was just the best deal I could get at the time. to google search, the company is Link a bord, search for two tear raised beds if anyone is interested. Best still not made in China! but sorry England! I nearly died of shock when they where delivered, I didn't think we made anything anymore!
Come all the way to the US to find something I would have loved to have had at home :)
but as i said really you need to do the math and find the best solution for you which given you are vegan means starting on a bigger scale than I did.
PS in case your doubting my soil, the Pumpkin picture, their are no weeds in the dirt, I never once needed to as nothing grew! the pumpkin was started in the raised "toddler" bed and sprawled! that's bad dirt!

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here if Heather38 is an idiot!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 8:19PM
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Spaghettina, you might want to double check those landscape timbers ~ all the ones I've ever seen were treated. Even if they're not green, they still could be. I think the new treatment makes them yellow, or doesn't change the color much at all (? ~ I'm not sure about that, but I think that's the case). Landscape timbers are cut from the heartwood of the log, so that makes them more rot resistant, but it's still yellow pine, so will rot if not treated.

Tyler, I agree with everyone who said 6" high is a lot better. Four foot wide is the usual, but if you have shorter-than-average arms like I do, three feet may be better. To check that, kneel down on the ground and reach out as far as you can comfortably. Now measure from your legs to the spot you just reached to. Make your beds twice that width. If you make them wider, it'll be such a pita to reach the middle that you'll find yourself dreading working the middles, and weeds and other pests will pile up.

As far as length goes, you'll have to do some math to figure out which length is better for you, which length gives you the most enclosed growing are for the least money. For instance, if an eight foot board is $9 (just guessing here) and a 16' board is $16 it'd be better to get the 16 footers and make one long bed than two 4x8 beds. Both would be the same area enclosed (64 square feet), but the 16 foot long bed would be cheaper since the cost breakdown would be this:
Two 4x8 beds: six 8' boards = 6x9 = $54
One 4x16' bed: one 8' board & two 16' boards = 2x16+9 = $41

Cedar would definitely be the best way to go if you don't want to worry about them rotting or being treated with chemicals. Linseed oil does extend the life of plain old yellow pine (or that white wood ~ that stuff still rots relatively quick, just like the yellow pine ~ I think it's white pine?), but what a pita to apply. And even then, I've read that it still doesn't last as long as cedar. You could line it with plastic, but it's still going to rot relatively quick because moisture will get in between the plastic and wood and won't dry quickly. Same thing if you wrapped the entire board with it ~ you'd have to really seal it up permanently to keep that from happening, but even then, a stray hoe knocking against it would put holes in it. Much more trouble that it's worth imho.

If I were you, I'd invest in as much cedar as you can right now, then do wide rows ("raised beds" without formal sides) with the rest. You can buy more cedar as you can afford it and enclose those next time you replant. Actually, I find that using unsided wide rows the first year in a new garden is a good idea actually. Once you get in there to grow that first year, you'll likely think, "I really should have made this bed a little farther over there" or "It would have been lots better to make them run north-south instead of east-west", or some such. If you do wide rows, you can just reorient the beds like you want them the next year and put sides on them then. That'll give you a year to save up for the cedar. Believe me, you'll be glad you did. Aamof, that's what I did this past year in my new plot and what I'll be doing this winter as well when I plant my winter garden. I've already tilled flat the summer beds ~ they just weren't right, pathways way too narrow and some spots a bit inaccessible despite me really thinking they'd be fine. Man, am I ever glad I didn't put boards around them yet!

As far as what to fill them with, if your native soil isn't TOO bad, you can just till it or double dig it (best way), then till in a lot of compost. I like composted cow manure ~ don't know how you feel about that being vegan? But it's really a nice, mild and balanced fertilizer that adds lots of organic matter to your soil. That's what you'll need if you have clay ~ organic matter to break it up and keep it friable. If it's really heavy clay, you may benefit from some sort of large gravel or such. At the nursery where I work, we recommend decomposed granite or expanded shale for clay soils. It's a lot of work to ammend soil with those, but you'll only have to do it once (both of those ammendments will literally last thousands of years). And avoid sand ~ many people have come to the nursery with rock hard soil after someone else suggested ammending their clay soil with sand. Sand particles just aren't big enough to break up really heavy clay. So before they had hard soil that didn't drain ~ now they have impenetrably rock hard soil that doesn't even soak up water.

Speaking of clay, you said you weren't really sure which kind of soil you have. I'd suggest taking a gallon or so of it to local nurseries and county extension agents to ask them about it. For now, you can do a little test ~ grab a handful of damp soil and squeeze it hard into a ball, then open your hand. Does it hold together in a clump or fall apart? If it holds together with maybe a bit of crumbles falling off it, that's good. If you poke it with a finger, does it fall apart even more? If so, that's great! If it stays together in a hard ball, that's heavy clay. Ammend, ammend, ammend.

Sorry for the length of this, but in the words of Mark Twain, "I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn't have time." *snicker*

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 10:24PM
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Those raised beds made out of recycled plastic makes me start to think. You see I collect recyclables from parking lots, neighborhoods I walk and bike in, and on trash day. Just today I filled the car up with all the recyclables I've tossed onto my deck after walks to the recycling bins. I was thinking I could save plastic bottle and by next year I might be able to make a raised bed out of those by next spring. Maybe I'll make the strawberry bed I wanted to add on.

The raised bed from the link is quite expensive considering I can make a 4x12 bed 6 inches deep for arond 16 dollars then still soil on top of that and I was lucky enough to find some old gardening fencing in the barn so theres less money to be spent and I also found I have a rototiller. All together 4 beds and the waterproofer it is $66 then for soil add another $30-$50 at least. I think thats pretty reasonable considering I can go to the Farmer's Market and easily spend $20 every week and just barely get by but with my own garden hopefully I can have all I can eat plus more - I am really optimistic, Hopefully the Lord will let his plants grow for me!


    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 11:07PM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Knittlin, you know what's funny? I actually thought it might be PT, but I didn't see any of the telltale weird little dimples and the tag didn't say anything about it being PT like the stuff next to it, so I went ahead with it. The next batch I bought, I asked the nursery people at HD, and they told me it wasn't pressure treated, just stained. Then today, just before I read your post, I went to HD's website to see if they had photos of the lumber I used, and sure enough, it says it's pressure treated. (**^&%^*#!!!! Had I known that, I would have just bought the regular wood colored timbers instead of the cherry toned ones, or heck, I would have gone with the landscape timbers at my local landscape supply company, stacked upon each other, and I could have saved myself literally hours of work drilling holes for rebar.

Live and learn. But on the upside, I guess it won't be rotting nearly as fast as I'd originally thought. The downside of that is that I'd been telling myself that if I hated the look of the timbers later on, they'd probably be rotted soon anyway. Argh. Lol.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 11:19PM
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thanks for your input. I did consider the mounding of soil other than raising it with wood but I thought about the way the land naturally has settled and gone downhill and the garden spot is higher up than soil near it. Also especially in spring and early summer it can pour rain we had I want to say at least 4 inches in less than 24 hours over two days this summer and it caused flooding in a lot of areas so I was worried the soil would wash away downhill with the veggies as it is higher than thee soil around.

As for soil I know I have clay soil but it isn't that bad were I am planning on doing the garden I was digging over there for my grape trellis and the soil was pretty easy to shovel and garden claw and rototill. My grandmother's yard a mile away is very clay-ey. I think there used to be a farm actually where my house is now or right behind. I don't know the source of that info I was told by neighbor kids I believe but there is a demolished shed and bathtub in a field beyond my field across the lake and theres a barbed wire fence that has fallen apart and is all rusty and is in the forest so trees used to be on the other side. Well onward......

For the cost of it....I already figued a way to save money on it I will get 12 foot lumber for the front and back then one 8 foot piece and cut it into two. I forgot to look at 16 foot long lumber then I can cut 4 feet off and use two pieces for one bed but I think I remember all the 16 feet pieces were a lot more.

I have redrawm plans for the garden several times believe me and layed pieces of scrap wood and plastic in the yard and considered all what I would grow and the heigth of everything and played what went where and all. I think what I planned now will work the best. I can always add more beds or rearrange them If I really wanted to next fall.

I don't think reaching to the middle of the bed will be a problem, with the proposed bed outline I pretended I was reaching to see and I could reach far enough.

The whole idea of wrapping the wood in plastic well right after I pressed submit I realized how stupid it was - duh mildew and mold and thus faster rotting. But I have read about many people especially those who have reused railroad ties and other treated wood they got for free that they use just plastic for the bed so the dirt in the bed won't touch it and cause it to rot or leach chemicals. But I do plan on using some watersealer, but I might change my mind after I go and read the labels. I have been looking at the sealers online because I wasn't thinking about it when I was there today.

Oh..... I don't have a problem using composted cow manure as long as it is organic because I am raising an organic garden. I plan on mowing over all my leaves and grandma's collecting them up and let them sit over winter and they are supposed to compost by then, I believe I was told that by someone on here!



    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 11:49PM
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For what it's worth...if 4' is just a tad too much you can always join the bed walls with the long size fitting inward giving you a true long-length size on the sides while giving you 2-4"+ of your reach back on the short-length walls on the ends...making them 44-46" rather than 48".

It's not much, but it might make things a little easier on some.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 1:23AM
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Ack! I said something wrong, Tyler. This: " If it's really heavy clay, you may benefit from some sort of large gravel or such." should have said "some sort of small gravel". Sorry! You don't want large gravel, as in 1" size.

That old garden fencing in the barn ~ is it painted? Is it VERy old? Be careful it's not lead paint on it, or that it's treated with something. You never know. I made that mistake once ~ used some old one-by- boards that were painted, found them in the barn here, too (100+ year old family homestead). One day, as I looked at my beautiful garden, I realized they were painted and it was most likely with lead paint ~ Doh!! (I've since dismantled all that and moved my garden.)

Good on you for figuring out the math trick before I mentioned it! Yeah, those 16 footers are usually more per linear foot since there aren't that many tall trees relatively speaking that they can get a board that long out of. But using 12' boards in my example would have been more convoluted, and not as easy to follow my train of thought. I think you did well though in using the 12 footers ~ likely the most economical.

And you've already laid out the beds for a practice run and measured your reach ~ Ha! I get the feeling I'm preaching to a choir here that has some snap already. ;)

On wrapping railroad ties ~ yeah, I've read about people doing that, too, but it's more for a barrier to the chemicals than water. The water between the wood and plastic won't matter so much since they're already fairly impervious to rot, as I'm sure you figured out.

Just to make sure, you do know that some cow manure contains actual animals, right? In the hot composting process, even an entire cow can be rendered down into compost and some compost makers do just that since it's cheaper to just compost the animal than bury it or otherwise get rid of it. I certainly don't know if all of them do it, but have seen that on a Discovery Channel show on commercial farming or some such (something like "How it's Made" or "Dirty Jobs"). If that bothers you, you may want to seek out composted manure that's made with a more organic/vegetarian/vegan mindset, but still ask if they do that since you never know.

Spaghetina, doesn't that just suck?! I've resigned myself to just using cedar from now on for that very reason ~ you never know for sure since the person you're asking may not know either, and even if they have researched it and are giving as accurate of information as they can, years later you may find out that the info they were given is wrong (CCA anyone?). Bummer that you've wasted all that time and money. But now you have some nice beds to grow ornamentals in, huh? LOL!
    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:44AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Oh, I'm still going to grow veggies in them. ;) Living will kill us all someday, so I might as well have fresh produce in the meantime, while blindly hoping that all the claims that PT wood is now much less toxic and safe-ish to grow veggies in, lol.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 3:36PM
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Well I've had a few days to think this whole thing over and I roto-tilled the garden area and I found pretty good soil didn't clump that much and very good color. I have never dug into my soil much I was sort of judging the soil from my grandmother's who lives a mile away and digging in her gardens it seems like I can take the clay dirt onto a potter's wheel and make something it's so tough and clay-ey.
I think I am going to roto-till the soil more and "frame" around the "beds" with logs that have been sitting for years because we never use the fireplace, that way I won't care if they degrade since I might be moving out of here in the next few years. The logs should add at least 4 inches height.
I'm going to go take leaves from people's trash and till them up into the soil along with some top soil.

Should I take off the topsoil already there with all the well top soil and grass (and weeds) roots and grass (and weeds) or till that up with the leaves?
And how far down should I till I already got two inches down and hopefully I
can do more tomorrow since it is raining right now so it will be easy?

Oh and the fencing is pretty new (last 15 years) its just some metal fencing the kind to keep rabbits out, some has a little rust but thats only a cosmetic problem.
Also I kind of made a new plan with the whole garden like have a table in there (my garden cafe) and an archway for cucumber vines to grow on, but I am still thinking and planning it, good thing I started on this in the fall! I think I have had at least 20 different plans for the garden each time laying out wood scraps and testing it or making planting plans. Hopefully I will get a vision tonight as I dream the perfect plan!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:49PM
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"Living will kill us all someday". Ha! Love that.

Sounds like you have a good plan, Tyler. I like the idea of using the logs along the sides ~ reduce, reuse, recycle! Cheaper that way, too. Even though six inches tall is good, four inches will do okay.

I don't know if you should remove the weeds first, though. It seems like you might need to since temps would be low enough they'd take forever to rot, but I really don't know. Down here, we never really put our garden to bed for the winter if we don't want to ~ we grow year 'round (I'm about to plant broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, green peas, spinach, garlic, etc.). I just till everything in (along with a good bit of compost) and it rots fairly quickly.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:03AM
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"we grow year 'round"
I'm so jealous. I've always said my idea of paradise was being able to have whatever item of produce at any time fresh right then and there. Where do you live? I see zone 8 is the southeast/west I've really been having the urge to move south recently with the cold and all, I usually looooove the cold but now that translates into no more veggies so I hate it. But Indiana/Indianapolis is my home I'm a hooiser at heart I don't know if I could leave.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 11:39AM
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I'm just west of Austin, Texas, and I love it. Usually it's a great growing climate, but this year we had 68 days over 100 degrees. It was a scorcher! Beans burned up, summer squash bit the dust, and I only got about a five gallon bucket's worth of tomatoes off of 73 plants. Peppers did fairly well. Okra, too. And a couple of the winter squashes did pretty good ~ spaghetti squash, musquee de provence, and early butternut.

Of course next year we'll have the opposite problem ~ El Nino's going to bring us loads of rain, probably a few floods, and the lack of sunshine that comes with that. But I don't mind ~ atleast I should get a few more tomatoes and save some irrigation time.

It is nice to always have something growing in the garden. We can't have just any type of veggie out there at all times though. Spring/summer is the usual warm season things ~ tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, corn, cowpeas, okra, sweet potatoes, etc. Fall/winter we grow the coles (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts), green peas (English, sugar snap and snow), greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.), garlic, shallots, etc. Our bulbing onions and Irish potatoes go in in late winter to beat the heat.

But you know what? Sometimes (not often, but sometimes) I kind of wish I could just put it all to bed for the winter and spend my hibernation planning next years' garden. Grass is always greener, eh? ;)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 1:40PM
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