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Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Posted by nancyjane_gardener USDA 8ish No CA (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 20:54

My neighbors are having to move to Hawaii (poor guys) in a couple of months and have offered to sell us their raised beds. These are about 3'x8' and about a foot deep.They are up on stilts so they are about waist high. They were built last summer, so have years of life in them. The hubby is in construction and the wife is a big time gardener, so I'm sure they are constructed with thought and care!
Besides asparagus, which has it's own bed, tomatoes and beans that get too tall and the herb garden which is it's own area, can I grow pretty much anything in a 1 ft deep space?
How bout things like root veges?
Someone on the vege board suggested top hatting some of the beds to do root veges.
Any suggestions? Nancy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Now, having read a bit more in the container garden forum, I might not have the right soil in these containers (I'll have to ask the owners what they used in the beds).
The containers are going to be delivered by tractor with the soil still intact.
I can't afford to buy these huge raised beds and fill them with the optimal mix this year! Is there something I could add to the existing soil when I fluff them up for planting? Nancy
P.S. There are sure to be many more questions coming, cause I'm used to raised beds, not "containers".


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

The soil is not likely to be optimum for container growing, but I think you can get by for this years vegies OK. If you are in doubt when you check it out, you could help by installing some wicks to help the drainage. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Al- Howdy neighbor! I'm in Santa Rosa! When you say wicks, do you mean to keep the soil damp? How might I do this?
Could I do some simple drip as in gallon jugs with pin pricks in them to let water continually drip slowly over the beds? I've done this in a garden where I couldn't be there to water over the week and it seemed to work over a couple days at least. Suggestions?
As I said, buying these beautiful beds will pretty much wipe out this years budget for the garden, so cheap is good! LOL
I'm retiring this summer, so will have much more time to devote to "projects" come this fall! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Nancy if you have a problem with this old soil, it is likely to be because it does not drain well enough. String like wicks extending from the drainage holes, has the effect of lowering the saturated soil, maybe all the way to the bottom of the container. It is a cheap and easy remedy for this season. You have not mentioned the drainage holes in the containers. Please check and report what you find. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

I saw the owner of the beds today before I saw this post. The soil is very nice soil, bought from a landscaping place (vege mix) with some manure in the bottom. She only filled it last fall.
The builder is a contractor, and the wife an avid gardener, so I'm sure they thought of decent drainage. If not, I'll send my DH out there with his drill to make sure there is sufficient drainage!
Calistoga, I'll monitor the water and see if we need to do some wicking!
Thanks! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Sounds like you're going to have a great gardening season. The only thing you might need to add is a little fertilizer. Manure will contribute a small amount, but veggies are hungry in containers and chemical fertilizers will help. Come back when the season is underway to report on how it goes. I do envy you.


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Great buy. I wouldn't turn it down.


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Hi Nancy, I looked up the recipe for 'veggie mix' as supplied by Wheeler Zamaroni landscape supply, in Santa Rosa. Its principal organic ingredient is fir bark, which should be good for another year. Enjoy your new garden. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

"Its principal organic ingredient is fir bark"
What else does it have? Just wondering.


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Thanks ALL! I think all I have to figure out for this season is what type of fertilizer I might want to buy? I have more of the nice soil to top off the beds for this year. I'll fluff up the soil before planting.
Calistoga I'm not sure they bought from WZ, but they are one of the better places along with Sonoma Compost and the place on Llano Rd.
They said they bought from a "good" place! LO I'm quite excited! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

MG1 if you want more information about WZ products you can check their web site. I am not associated with them other than as a customer. www.wzsupply.com Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Well, the more I'm reading these boards, the more I think that I'm going to have to think about a new way of gardening! I'm so used to using home made compost to top my beds a couple times a year, and now I'll be using fertilizer! Strange!
I will still have raised bed gardens of asparagus, tomatoes and green beans and whatever might get too tall to go in the new containers and will stay in the raised beds.
I'm sure I'll still fill those raised beds anyhoo! LOL Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

I'm getting much more confused, reading about gritty mix and other mixes!I haven't even attempted the several versions of soil and water retention that are 100+ posts! WELL beyond my scope!
Sounds like I'm going to be OK for this year at least with some fertilizer, but is there a way to just incorporate stuff to the beds I have down the road, rather than empty and re-do the soil the neighbors started with? It would really tone down the $ spent if I can add some stuff gradually!
If I can find it, I have a small auger that attaches to a hand drill that will mix a container quite well.
Does anyone know if the landscape places actually carry container mixes? On my way off to vacation, so don't have time to call around. Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Stuff to add for vege gardening? The neighbors filled it with "good" soil. The beds are hopefully going to be moved this week and topped off with some more good soil. Or should I mix in some compost that I have pretty much "done" in a bin?
I'll have to get back to y'all about amending the raised beds for next year! Really confused! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Nancy I think you are confusing yourself by continuing to think of these containers as 'raised beds'. Keep reminding yourself that you are now 'container gardening'. These two ways of growing are quite different, and should be kept in mind. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Sorry to confuse! I also have a regular "raised bed" garden, lined with hardware cloth for gophers that hold the tomatoes, asparagus, pole beans.....
The ones I'm asking about are the raised CONTAINERS. 40"x8'x1'deep, standing waist high. I'm pretty good with the raised BEDS.
Not yelling, just clarifying! LOL Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Update....everything is planted...3 types of squash in one container, cukes, peppers, eggplant, lemon cukes, beets, ummmm and more!
Everthing is doing GREAT! In fact I'm seeing little bitty peppers already! I don't usually see peppers til mid June! I'm guessing that the soil is warmer in my new containers????
I am finding that I have to water more often than the regular garden. Drainage is good.
If I ever figure out how to post pics, I'll send some out!
Happy gardening! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

all Sounds good Nancy :)

I like pic's whats that saying a picture paints a thousand words ?

I know for me if I cant see it I make up a picture in my head and its usually nothing like what it really looks like :)

your having fun that's the main thing and that's what its all about :)

BZ


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Ahhhh, crap! The soil ended up being horrible and almost everything except the small eggplant and some herbs and marigolds did horrible! Zuks and yellow squash gave me about 1 per week (which is OK for the 2 of us with no freezing), cukes and beets were yellow and petty much non-existant
I'm going to start planting in the 2 beds I keep for winter beds.
Beets, lettuce, arugula, broccoli, chard, radish, kale is still going! Garlic, onions, greens. snow peas
Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Sorry Nancy. Are you going to change your soil for the new planting? Maybe one of the container soils described on this forum. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Yes I am, Al.I'll be doing that probably early spring.I already have my regular beds prepped for planting now. Considering these beds are huge(Approx 3'x8'x1'deep), do you know of a place in Sonoma County that sells a proper mix by the truckload, or will I have to mix my own? And if I have to mix my own, can you give me a recipe and an idea where to buy all of the materials?
I was so excited and everything started out so well, then everything just went yellow and fizzled!
Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Hi Nancy, could your trouble have been not enough water? I visited someone with those types of beds and their plants looked like they weren't getting enough water, soil was dry, leaves wilted. I could tell that at some point the plants had been growing well because of their size, but they made me want to run find a water hose.


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

For what you are growing, I would suggest Wheeler Zamoroni Landscape supply in Santa Rosa. I have been using their #1 Nursery Mix for 20 years with good results. It costs about $50 per cubic yard if you pick it up yourself. Any mix that drains well will require more frequent watering and must not be compared with raised bed in the ground, when in a container. Along with more frequent watering comes more frequent fertilization. As your plants grow more foliage the rate of transpiration of water also grows and watering has to follow. No matter what the gardening style, the gardener must learn to be observing any changes. Good luck. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

I watered about every other day as needed. I used osmocote, and when things started yellowing I added more.
Funny thing is, the marigolds did and are doing fabulous!
It seems to me lack of nitrogen? I don't know. Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

After reading the latest water retention and movement thread with only 15 replies (I get very intimidated when there are over 100 replies), it seems you are right about a watering problem!
I'm going to go out tomorrow and dig int the soil and see what it's like down deep in the containers (1 ft). The neighbors put in a few inches of gravel "for drainage" Luckily I have some ruts out in the field that need to be filled!
I'll check out Wheeler Zameroni to replace the soils throughout the winter (already have most of my winter crops planted in lower raised beds that are closer to the house) or maybe I'll just save up some each month to get a couple of yards in the spring.
Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Well, I dug down into each bed and the soil dampness was very consistant and PERFECT!
So now I'm back to fertilizing and feeding problems!
Ahhh Welll! I have the winter to figure it out! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

One of the beds collapsed underneath, so we will be emptying completely and repairing that one soon.
I did notice that they used about 2" of gravel for drainage. That soil/rock will be taken out into the field to fill some ruts that someone made with a truck.
Will I need a full yard to fill a 40"x8'x1'deep container?
Should I save some onion bags (or get them from freecycle) for the bottom?
Should I install wicks right away as I'm adding the soil? If so, how many and how deep in this size container?
Any other re-make help is appreciated! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

You will need about 15 cubic feet for this bed, a yard is 27 cu. ft. You can buy less than a yard in bulk, a half yard is normal, and will fit in your pickup. If you use the nursery mix you should not need the holes screened, if less than an inch in diameter, and drainage will not be a problem. You will need to water more often, than you have in the past. Did the container collapse because of wood rot? I would consider a plastic liner to keep the wood dry. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

We're not quite sure why it collapsed. It was just built a year ago and is 1x12 redwood.
Watering didn't seem to be a problem with the planters. I dug all the way down and they were evenly moist after 2-3 days. Just right.
Thanks for the info on the soil amounts! Nancy


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Nancy a 40 inch span of one foot deep wet soil is too heavy to be supported by one inch thick flat redwood, at least in the long run. Think about how to get more load carrying support in your containers. Al


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RE: Thinking of buying some raised raised beds

Actually, the bottoms are 2x4s crosswise with a support beam running down the middle. DH said it was something wrong with the side panel that failed. He'll be fixing it in the next coule of weeks. The other 2 seem to be quite sturdy. Nancy


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