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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:21 pm 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I’m in the process of building the boxes for the raised beds. They will be 8ins deep and filled with finished compost, hopefully before the hard winter sets in. My first question is can anybody tell me approximately how much they will reduce in depth each year due to additional decomposition or vermin activity? My second question is, will the compost have to be replaced periodically do to worm casing buildup and no space for additional organic mater to be added? :?:

John

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:48 pm 
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Yes compost will keep breaking down. How fast will depend on how well it was composted to start with and what it was.

You can keep adding compost through the years.

I just filled my raised beds with soil or sand in my case. Then worked in some compost. Now I just mulch the top.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:15 pm 
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Location: Eastern Canada
In our case, we made our beds by layering manures, etc, with sifted soil. We dug them quite deep, and filled them to the top of the boards, which are about a foot above the soil surface. By spring, all had settled by about a foot (give or take an inch or so). And that was good, because it gave me room to work without spilling everything over the side boards.

So if you're adding compost, you might expect maybe a little less settling than what we had, because it's already broken down. I've found the beds have settled more and more each year too, so that gives me room to add fresh stuff, like top/side dressings. :D

We really lucked out when we were making our beds... we were able to use some of the scrap lumber from an old church they were tearing down at the time.

Chickadee

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:20 pm 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
My progress to date is, the two boxes on the left and the three boxes in the center are finished and in place. I am currently building the three boxes for the right. The poly tubing will be about six ins. below ground level and the soaker hose will be about three ins. below the bedding surface. Can’t wait for spring!!!

John

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:47 pm 
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2 years ago, we put in 3ft wide x 12ft long x 1ft deep raised beds made from cedar planks and filled with compost from the city composting site. I plant them very dense and mulch heavily with cocoa bean huls. I have not noticed much shrinkage yet but I am very careful to knock all the dirt off of roots when I pull the plants at the end of the season. I have had the best yields and healthiest looking garden in these raised bed compared to all my other gardening adventures over the years.

I plan on starting a worm bin this spring to start generating some more fill and I will have to start scrounging leaves and grass clippings to start a compost bin hopefully this summer. I don't have many trees - the lot is too small.

Of course, in the meantime, I can visit the city compost site and drag some home. I will probably do this to start an herb bed on the south side of my house by the patio.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
My progress to date. Just in time for planting season. :lol:


John

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:18 pm 
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Location: PA
Very great.

What did you use to make your plan (Dec. 17 post)? A special computer program?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Hi Kmerrifi, I use Adobe Photo Shop and Corel Paint Shop Pro.

John

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:09 am 
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Location: PNW
It looks great John! It's all so neat and tidy looking. I'll look forward to seeing it full of plants. Have fun!

I just took a look at your website and I'm very impressed with your woodworking skills. You do beautiful work.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:16 pm 
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Hello luv2grdn and Kmerrifi, thanks for the complements. :lol: luv2grdn, I developed a sensitivity to wood dust and had to give up woodworking. :evil:

John

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:33 pm 
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Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
Here in the bay area most people have redwood privacy fencing that is 6' tall. That gets replaced periodically, and you can go on craigslist and search for it in the free section to get all the 6' redwood boards you need. Trim off the bottoms (which tend be the worst for wear) and they're good to go for building raised beds. I stapled 6 mil plastic to the boards around the sides on mine so the wood would stay drier, that should improve the service life considerably and improve water retention.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:32 pm 
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Location: PA
John, your garden looks beautiful and there aren't any plants growing yet!

In a couple of decades, when it will be a little more difficult to get up and down on those low beds, have you thought of raising your beds a couple of feet more for easier access? I know the invesment in compost would be horrible at first, but you could safely and (hopefully) comfortably manage your beds. Also, for your vining plants, they could run over the edge and still be off of the ground.

Instead of a large amount of compost, maybe you could put straw bales down as the first layer and then compost on top of them.

Just thinking out loud. I'm a bit younger, but my back is a bit achy. I have been thinking about ways to make gardening more comfortable and more accessible for people with trouble bending or getting up. You seem so crafty, I bet you could come up with a few good ways to do it.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 am 
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Great set up, John! Do keep us posted on the progress of your garden.

Foxy.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:37 pm 
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That's a shame you can't do woodworking any more. Did it affect you skin?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Did it affect you skin? No, my sinuses, the only way I could sleep was setting up. My favorite woods are cherry, walnut and red oak, the most toxic of the domestic woods I can still work with pine as long as I don’t do any sanding. The flip side of the coin is I have more time to spend in the garden. :lol:

John

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Sorry to hear about that. What if you worked with a gass-mask on?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:47 am 
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I have a good mask for dust and vapor and it did work. But it is clumsy and I was afraid of cutting my arm off.

John

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:56 pm 
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So, JBest what has been planted? Or are you still waiting for it to warm up?

It's already too hot here for the cole crops :(. But, I am able to move on to the summer crops.

Do you have plans for asparagus?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:00 am 
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Hi Kmerrifi, I won’t be planting until the 1st of May even then I will keep the hot caps handy. :D I tried asparagus many years ago without much success. I put the bed in according to Hoyle and gave the plants everything they required but no luck. :cry: It may be time to try again though.

John

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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 7:20 pm 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I started this project about last October by replacing my GH and deciding to go to SFGardening. I have a few more plants to put in as soon as the sweet potatoes arrive and mulch everything then I can set back and sip a few bloody marries and watch the veggies grow. :wink:
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My project this summer and fall will be to get last falls leaves composted and these two areas converted to SFG.

John

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 11:22 am 
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It's so nice to see a yard with no visible weeds or mole mounds. It looks great!

Yesterday I spent about 4 hours weeding in the woods and today I plan on doing my garden area...body willing.

How many boxes will the new area hold?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:37 am 
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This is an entry in to my journal and I thought I should post it here also. :?:

Mid June, I’m feeling very good about making the move to SFG. Some people say you can’t grow vegetables in 100% compost or you should have between 5% and 8% compost well these are growing in 100% compost. Every thing is doing well except for two boxes because of a pesky wabit but I think he has moved on.

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John

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:11 am 
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It's looking good.

I have rabbits too and I use a piece of wire fencing to make an arched cover to put over vulnerable plants, then put bird netting over the ends. It's quick and simple. You can make it any length. You could also just put short fencing around the beds. I went with the covers to keep the deer out of it too.


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