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 Post subject: Garden name????
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
Posts: 280
Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I am going to change the name of my SFG to Jurassic garden, I’m afraid to enter without a machete. :lol:

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
You should see my yard! I have some thistle that's 5' tall. :oops: I'm so far behind on the weeding and our long cool, wet spring really helped them to get big and healthy. Your yard is looking great!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
John
You are convincing me that the system works.
Also the watering system must be a great addition & help to the plants.
Getting enough compost is/has been my biggest hurdle but I'm getting there. I may be able to experiment with a test section soon.
A few questions:
Watering with a timer when it's raining, how do you regulate it so the soil is not too wet? (good drainage under beds?)
How deep is is the composted soil? It looks like you used 2X6 construction?? treated lumber?? So I'm guessing about 4" of soil?? then add as needed?
If the answers are on your web page, let me know & i'll go there to save you time answering.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Thanks L2G and Dave, not looking for complements though, just passing on as to what I have been doing. The reason I have kept my SFGing efforts up to date on these posts, is to lay aside the myth that you cannot grow vegetables in 100% compost. 8)

Dave, the boxes are sitting on top of about 24” of garden loam so drainage is not a problem. They were made with 2X8 construction lumber if I were younger I would have used the new composite lumber. It is very pricey but I have been gardening in this same location for 36 years and it would have solved the rot or leaching problems. I used about 4” of mulch in the pathways so the boxes do not look that deep. Originally they were filled to the top with 100% compost and no vermiculite. I will fill them to the top this fall and probably again this spring. :roll:

One caution you may already have thought about is plant spacing. I was very liberal with my spacing and probably should have given them more space. Youns guy’s in Alaska will probably need one 4X4 box per cabbage? :wink:

John

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
Dave, treated lumber could leach chemicals into your soil, so it's generally not recommended to use it around food crops.
Use wood that is slow to rot, like cedar, which you most likely know about.

I got tired of wood borders and decided on a rock border, but it has been slow going since my health problems slowed me down on everything. The picture is a little deceiving. The concrete at the bottom is level with the ground and the rocks are mortared to it. I'll cover the concrete with the gravel eventually.

Cinder blocks would be faster, or those concrete pavers designed to be stacked, but the cost can add up pretty fast on those. Cinder blocks are pretty cheap.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
I'll most likely use bricks or concrete blocks. Treated lumber is probably a bad idea. No cinder block in AK, that I've found. Really like the looks of the cement & stone work. May try something like this on a flower bed. I have no shortage of large river rock here as we were a glacier & river a few years back. The land where the garden is was many years of nature made topsoil (about 10") on top of a layer of clay (about 4") then sand & gravel for many feet.
I was planning 18 inch or 2 ft wide boxes in long rows & let the plant growth extend over the boxes (figuring the roots don't need much more room than that) & give me more rows.
I need to experiment with "sun angles" to get the most heat to the raised beds. (East to West will allow for one side to get most of the sun & that side will get hottest, North - South will let both sides get some sun.) ("flat black" paint would help also). 2 X 8 for the first ones & if it works out then gradually do the whole garden in block
If I start with 4" wide block (8" high) I can add a 2 X 4 to the top to stabilize the rows & protect me from the edges of the blocks. (typing & thinking) Going to be Fun & in the long run better & less maintenance (more time for fishing) :)

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 Post subject: cheapest
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:29 pm
Posts: 948
Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
Concrete is the cheapest option, and it's pretty easy to cast a wall of the stuff, or cast it flat in a mold and tip it up to form your walls. A yard of sand and gravel is around $25 and the cement to make it into concrete costs about the same and will make about 50 linear feet of 4"x18" slab.

You can buy a cement mixer on craigslist and sell it again when you're done for what you bought it for. I did that but have yet to sell it because it's a pretty useful thing. ;) Pre-mixed concrete is pretty cheap too, but you have to build a mold large enough to handle the entire batch at once. If you use a mixer you can cast it in sections and take your time, learn lessons, ect. In all it's less hectic.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 pm 
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Location: PNW
I wasn't going to do raised beds at all until the moles kept dumping dirt onto the paths. I dug about a 4" wide trench, put down landscape cloth, then a layer of gravel and then the dry concrete mix up to the path level. I smoothed it out and watered it, then covered it with plastic to keep it moist for several days and it has worked out very well. Much easier and faster than making the wet mix and pouring it in. We did that at first and it was so slow in comparison. I have a long stretch that is just the concrete with no rocks. I made it wider so there would be plenty of dumping room. It would take way too much time and materials to add rocks along it, so it will just stay as is and I'll add some potted plants here and there. I made a tufa trough to go on one part of it.

Concrete blocks are what I meant, but after several years on garden forums and people calling them cinder blocks, I got used to it and started calling them that too.

We have good soil too, from it being forested for many decades. I've really seen a big difference in how fast the trees and shrubs grow and how fast the tree trunks thicken up.

Promethean, I like your idea. It would get done faster than mortaring rocks. I was thinking about how to do that in one area where I want to do a gravel patio. What would you use as the cast for a wall?

John, sorry I'm hijacking your thread!


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