The Garden Forums

Dig In!
It is currently Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:10 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Depth of beds for no-till?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
I got the garden tilled. Now I plan to buy some 2 X ? , to begin making the raised beds for next year.
2 X 8, 10 or 12 inch.
Sand in the bottom layer 2" or so? (for good drainage)

I've been making compost all summer & it seems ready.
Should I fill the beds (providing I have enough time before snow) & let them settle all winter (until April)

I think John said 8" but it seems shallow for potatoes & carrots since it will settle as it breaks down. (I had to use a tri-pod, chain saw & hoist this year for the carrots) :)

I did notice lots of earth worms when I worked the compost so looking good so far.

_________________
THANKS ***


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:35 pm
Posts: 177
Location: NH zone 4/5
2" x 6" is probably enough. 2" x 8" looks prettier.

I wouldn't bother with sand for drainage unless you KNOW where your bed is going has intermittant flooding.

A raised bed isn't ready for carrots till year 3 or 4.

Let the cmpost settle, stuff mulch on top like there is no tomorrow.

_________________
Tom C
Zone 4/5


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:42 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
Posts: 280
Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Hi bogy, if those turnips and spuds were an example of what you normally expect :roll: , I would go with 10” to 12” depth. I would forget the sand also.

John

_________________
Always remember that most editors and professional writers have never stepped foot in a garden.

My Web Page: http://www.jbest123.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:46 am 
I like my raised beds freeform without solid sides so I can make beds of different sizes & in different places every year on whim.

How high I make them depends on what I'm going to be growing. Can be as shallow as 6" for greens to as deep as 12-15" for root vegetables.

Oh - & I've always grown root vegetables in new gardens right away without any problems. So long as your soil is friable & deep enough there's certainly no reason to have to wait 3-4 years.


Last edited by Breezy on Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:57 pm
Posts: 25
Location: NYC- zone 6/ Shohola PA-5
With the new type of Preasure Treated wood (PT)is it true you still shouldnt use it for food crops, because it leeches stuff into the soil?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
Thanks all

Tom, can you explain in more detail the: "raised bed isn't ready for carrots till year 3 or 4". What will I need to do to get an earlier start, (other than the obvious grow them else-where for 3 years) ?
John, what's your take on 3 - 4 years prep for carrots? (soil density, composition, drainage?)

John, I never thought about it until you said 10" or 12" but why no make the beds different depths depending on the crop to be grown. Getting cold so even my brain is slowing down.
Beans, radishes squash etc. that typically don't have deep roots in 6" may be OK, cabbage, broccoli etc 8", tators & carrots 10 - 12". I don't think depth is etched in stone, especially if I mix the bottom layer (as you said) before I place the frames. Then if roots need to go deeper they can. (also saves some $)

I had short stubby carrots my first year here. I found out that when carrot roots hit soil temp around 40 deg (f) they will go no deeper & some will turn 90 degrees & have multiple legs. Raised beds solved this problem.

I was thinking of painting the outside of the boards flat black to help absorb heat (exterior latex) any reason not to?

Breezy, I didn't quite understand: "I don't like my raised beds freeform without solid sides so I can make beds of different sizes & in different places every year on whim. "
Assuming you meant "do like", that's the way I've done it for years. This seems like it may be less work in the long haul, no tilling, less weeds, not have to hoe up mounds/beds, easier watering. At least that's some of the advantages advertised with "no-till". Plus it's fun to try something new. I can alway fall back to tried & proved method we use now & use the frames for flower beds if it don't work for me.
I can see that "crop rotation" may be an issue though.

To Pete:
NO Treated wood ever (old or new), that's my opinion. TOXIC

_________________
THANKS ***


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:51 am 
Yes - sorry about that. I did mean "do" like freeform beds - like you've shown in some of your garden pics.

And I don't till mine in the spring - I just pile more compost on top.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:49 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
Posts: 280
Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I have not heard that about carrots, but I have not tried them yet either. I did a quick search on Google and nothing turned up. Tomc is that your experience or from Mel’s book. Maybe if you use Mel’s mix that is the case?

bogy, I am converting the second half of my garden to SFG and I am using 2” X 10” lumber for that reason. I will be planting root crops there and want too be able to rotate when needed.

John

_________________
Always remember that most editors and professional writers have never stepped foot in a garden.

My Web Page: http://www.jbest123.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
You could also design your boxes so that you could add height or lessen the height, depending on your needs. If you don't want to design it yourself, there are always these, http://eartheasy.com/store/proddetail.php?prod=AJSJ

I don't see where paint on the outside of the boards would be a problem as far as leaching, although I wonder if it would cause the lumber to rot sooner by not getting any air from the outside of the box, holding in the moisture longer. Just a thought.

Good luck and have fun!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:15 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:35 pm
Posts: 177
Location: NH zone 4/5
Based on what the old guys told me when I was just a little snot, and my own practice carrots come best when they are a year out from the resident soil being manured.

This presents a problem for me in new beds. Now its cause could well be cold soil as other posters have noted. I won't dispute it.

*For me* carrots come better when soil has been loosened and well fertilized AND then given a break from manuring.

I suppose you could get there from here by composting first and sifting after. These lazy old bones aint up to that. I don't double dig any more than i have to either.

_________________
Tom C
Zone 4/5


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:29 am 
I don't double-dig or sift. Don't have to. My compost finishes out just as friable, loose, & fine as can be. No extra work necessary.

What probably also helps me grow great carrots from Day 1 is that I prefer to grow the round & finger-type carrots rather than the longer old standbys that I can get (if I want) at any farmers market or supermarket.

I find the smaller ones more interesting & tasty.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
I let the earthworms do the work. :D


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: depth
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:23 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Russellville, AL.
Well, since my sfg is 8" deep, I planted a variety of carrots that only get 5" long, named "short and sweet"....just wanted to mention that there were other options.....


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:53 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 221
Location: Zone 5
Hi Gang, I'm new to this forum and so just reading along as I have time and found this interesting thread. Hopefully I'm not rudely interrupting, but I had a thought with regards to building different depths of beds. While it does make sense to not bother with 12" for lettuce, what would you do in the case of companion planting and rotation crops? Would you still be able to plant tomatoes or carrots in that box some year down the road? With that in mind, I was thinking it might be worth the expense and work of making the beds all the same depth?

I've never heard of waiting 3 or 4 years to plant carrots either, so am not sure what the theory is behind that. I planted the same year as building a bed. Does it have something to do with what you're filling the bed with? You'd think that they'd grow in almost anything as long as they are receiving nourishment, air and water.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:23 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Russellville, AL.
There are lots of arguments about ideal depths of raised bed gardens. I can only speak on my behalf, when I say that an actual soil depth of 6 to 7 inches will grow anything. In my case, the roots grew outward, once they reached the bottom of my box. With this depth, I have successfully grown:
tomatoes, corn, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, watermelons, canataloupes, okra, field peas, snow peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, turnips, and collards. I would make all of the boxes the same depth. I hope this helps.....

EG


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:31 pm
Posts: 5
Started SFG at the end of last summer after i had tilled all my space up and had a pretty good garden going. I built one 6" bed half on soil half on concrete, and another raised bed 6" on wheels out of an old wood dorm couch(heavy and strong). this year im doing more 4x4s only they will be 3" deep because they are gonna sit on previously tilled earth and i wont have to buy so much mels mix. My composting efforts are also ramped up full steam. New homemade tumbler, earth machine will be used more efficiently, and i will start a hot pile
too.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=7 ... 1074682278

Mel is great he really jumpstarted my new favorite thing to do Garden.

Ron


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Alaska
Well the carrot issue "A raised bed isn't ready for carrots till year 3 or 4. "
is not the case in Alaska
OR
I'm going to need a tri-pod & chain hoist in 3 years to harvest the carrots :) LOL
First year, added soil just before planting this spring (2009)
Attachment:
102_3169.JPG
102_3169.JPG [ 488.15 KiB | Viewed 1417 times ]

_________________
THANKS ***


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: PNW
They look great. I've given up on root crops here because of the moles. I could dig out all the soil in the beds and put in hardware cloth to keep them out, but it would be a lot of work. I wish I had known what a problem they were when I was doing the beds and I could've done it then.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group