Materials for raised gardens?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by CluckyCharms, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    After a *lot* of poking around and reading we have decided on several small...raised bed gardens.

    I would like some input on the following:

    - What to lay down on the grass? Will cardboard eventually rot and disappear? That seems to be the choice I'd like (per Mickey here on the board, ty Mickey).

    - What to throw in the bed? IE: what kind of dirt to buy? Yes, we will be buying the dirt because I don't want our yard dug up all to heck. =)

    - how deep? I was thinking 2 feet should be *plenty* for veggies to take root and grow - but I don't know for sure.

    - what to use for the border? I'd like it to be pretty...but not over-the-top-silly-expensive-pretty

    - Any critters I should be putting in there? Such as earthworms to move dirt around, or no?


    Thank you in advance[​IMG]
     
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, cardboard will do much disintegrating over the winter. You can also use several thicknesses of newspaper, which will also rot over the winter. I sometimes hesitate with newspaper since most of the ink is full of chemicals...but it does fall apart more quickly than cardboard.

    Good topsoil is the best for in the garden...you'll want about 4 to 6 inches of it. You can go with just 4 inches and amend it with some peat moss and sand as well...that'll provide a decent, loose, well-drained soil for your plants. You sure don't need 2 feet....vegetables are annuals, so they don't send down roots near that deep. Tuberous ones like carrots and potatoes will need more, but not much of anything else. For potatoes, you can build up rather than dig down...makes them easier to harvest as well :)

    We used 2 x 8 boards screwed together. Not fancy but not trashy looking. In the past I've used logs and other timbers...just make sure whatever you use isn't chemically treated (like railroad ties) because those chemicals will leach into the soil and your vegetables will absorb them.

    Worms will find their own way into it, not to worry! Start now on a small compost pile or bin...toss anything organic (no meat or dairy) into it and keep it moist but not soggy. Turn it every so often and by summer you should have a nice batch of mostly composted materials for your garden. Check locally and see if you can get ahold of some rabbit poo...that stuff is awesome! It doesn't even need to be composted...can go straight into the garden for lots of extra oomph for your plants.

    You can make a small composter pretty cheaply...get a plastic trash can with lid. Drill some 3/8 inch holes around the sides and bottom, spaced about 3 inches apart. Toss in a layer of "brown" matter...dried grass clippings, dead leaves, shredded paper. Then toss in a layer of "green" matter...veg trimmings, fresh grass clippings, any veg or fruit that's over ripe. Then alternate layers like that. The smaller the pieces are, the quicker they'll compost. Periodically, you can lay the can over on its side and roll it around a bit to mix up the stuff inside. Check to see that it's moist...not soggy but not dry. Worms will find their way into it via the holes in the bottom and they'll help with the process as well.
     
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  3. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great information (again) [​IMG] I'm printing these threads off and putting them in my binder as I go. lol

    Thank you!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Colorado
    Oh, heck,...you'll be an "old pro" in no time! [​IMG]
     

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