DaveEstey Dork
4/2/12 8:42 p.m.

SWMBO wants veggie gardens and I'm more than happy to comply, however (you knew that was coming didn't you) the soil here is incredibly acidic thanks to decades of pine trees doing their thing. I can't even get grass to grow decently. The ground is also full of massive roots, so I'm digging all that up.

The answer would be raised bed gardens, but I'm not content just mounding some dirt up and putting wood around the edges to keep it contained. If I'm doing raised I want these bad boys up on legs.

My thought was to build two 4x8 gardens (less cutting) and build legs and frame work out of 4x4 treated lumber. I would top that with slats for the bottom and 2x12's for the sides, pour in some 3/4-inch gravel to keep dirt from falling through the slats while maintaining drainage and then fill up with dirt. I'm shooting for 10" of usable dirt.

Looking for a working height around 36", which would make the legs/frame about 2 feet tall.

Does of this sound like a stupid idea beyond the work and cost of lumber, which are appreciably high.

BoostedBrandon HalfDork
4/2/12 9:15 p.m.

All that dirt and water is going to be heavy. I don't see any real advantage to having it so high off the ground, considering all the extra lumber that would have to be used, versus just kneeling at the edge of the wood.

Taiden SuperDork
4/2/12 9:23 p.m.

Part of gardening is getting down on three knees (elbow counts as a knee) and doing work. It's easy mode at 36"!

Just get some 2x6 and some pegs and throw together some beds. Spend asinine amounts of money on soil and never recoup your investment in produce. But, have fun while you do it!

I've badly wanted to throw up some gardens at the house, but we have wild asparagus that sprouts every 5 or so days. We also have about three varieties of blueberry bushes that yield somewhere around 50 pounds a year. That's good enough for me and I don't have to do anything to get it!

alex UltraDork
4/2/12 10:16 p.m.

Forget raising it up. This...

just mounding some dirt up and putting wood around the edges to keep it contained

...is exactly what you want to do. Don't overthink this. All my friends in construction have hilariously overbuilt garden boxes. You need a pile of good dirt and something to keep it from eroding, and that's about it.

And on the subject of that good dirt, you probably have a building/material supply place nearby that sells garden soil and fill dirt and various types of mulch by the yard. That's where you want to go. Buy a couple (cubic)yards (measure your beds) to fill up the back of your full size pickup bed (or equivalent trailer) and spend a good afternoon shoveling that stuff into your (not)fancy (not)raised beds.

alex UltraDork
4/2/12 10:24 p.m.
Taiden wrote: we have wild asparagus that sprouts every 5 or so days. We also have about three varieties of blueberry bushes that yield somewhere around 50 pounds a year

The two crops I want that I don't yet have! At least the ones that are feasible - I would really like to grow my own winter wheat, but I'm in a very inappropriate climate for that.

Hasbro Dork
4/2/12 10:56 p.m.

You're talking about building grow tables. What a pain! They are fine in a greenhouse...

2x12s are good for raised beds. You can build right on top of existing soil or dig down however far you want. A good garden center will have woven plastic sheets for the base to help keep out tree roots, they are a problem, and allow drainage.

Soil: call around for the best pre-made soil you can find. Or there are many ways to make soil and it can be really fun but it can get complicated. Ask around and some good gardeners will steer you correctly.

Probably a bit of overkill for you but I'm building a raised bed next week; 16" deep, plastic root barrier, shade cloth sides and top due to desert conditions, osmosis water filters and holding tanks and pumps, ec meter for for H2O electric conductivity, organice planting media with beneficial bacteria and fungus, worm castings, pH meter, set ups for a few different types of teas, etc., etc, etc.

32 sq. ft., about a $1,000.00 for initial set up.

1988RedT2 SuperDork
4/3/12 6:29 a.m.

Yeah, I can't imagine putting in a floor. Just edge the area with wood and fill it up. Don't just use any old fill dirt, though. What you put in the beds will make or break your garden.

If you have trees close enough to your site to have roots, make sure they're not going to shade your garden. Hard to grow veggies without full sun. Fire up that chainsaw!

DaveEstey Dork
4/3/12 8:37 a.m.

Just had 5 trees taken down. 4 50' pines that are now mulch and one red maple which is slowly being turned into firewood. The beds are going where the trees were, which means they're going over low stumps. No I'm not paying to have the stumps ground.

Irrigation will be all rain water. I have a 330 gallon storage tank and an 800gph pump that will turn on twice a day for 10 minutes feeding PVC lines that are drilled for each plant.

We're getting top soil ($28 a yard here) and amending it with some compost and peat moss. I have a never ending source of horse poo as well but it hasn't composted yet so that will have to wait.

The whole goal of these things its to make them easy to maintain. I work late and don't have a lot of time during the week to keep things up and SWMBO is at the barn after work until 9:30-10 pm most nights with the horse.

Raised up is easier to work on and I may end up building a greenhouse over the site, or at least mini greenhouses over each bed.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/3/12 10:48 a.m.

I have raised beds because the soil here is clay. There's a horse racetrack nearby, they clean the stalls and save the crap. The County cuts the milfoil (seaweed) out of the lake. They combine the seaweed with the hosre E36 M3, bake out the koodies and sell it as compost. $15/ton (one full size pickup full).

My beds are framed with railroad ties, just one tie high. Soil sinks eventually, so the compost is now deeper than the 8" tie.

Good E36 M3 !

4cylndrfury UltimaDork
4/3/12 12:40 p.m.

If you go directly on the ground, add a layer of 1/4" hardware cloth along the bottom to keep moles and other rodents from getting in from underneath.

z31maniac UberDork
4/3/12 12:50 p.m.
DaveEstey wrote: No I'm not paying to have the stumps ground.

Rocks/gravel around the stumps, half-bag of charcoal, light.........toss a piece of pinion wood on every once-in-awhile to keep it smelling nice.

No stumps.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/3/12 1:06 p.m.

I'd go with railroad ties. They are thick enough that you have a descent bed that is deep enough.

DaveEstey Dork
4/3/12 3:39 p.m.

Aren't railroad ties treated with creosote? That stuff is too nasty to allow near food.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/3/12 4:58 p.m.

You should be able to find untreated ties. My grandfather used them all over his property and 35 years later they are now falling apart.

Well most of them have fallen apart anyway

DaveEstey Dork
4/3/12 7:01 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac:

I'm going to try this next weekend. Thanks.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette Dork
4/4/12 10:45 a.m.

This product is soon to be released with a low heat high output laser light source perfect for gardening and self sufficient food sources . wallfarms

Hasbro Dork
4/4/12 1:01 p.m.

In reply to Karl La Follette:Those are for indoors, are expensive, and a pain to maintain. That said, I would still like to play with one.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette Dork
4/4/12 4:32 p.m.

$595 should be the unit cost and lighting is extra , this unit is stackable and can be a countertop unit . Website should be up soon will announce when everything is available . The full unit as pictured should run $595 dollars and hopefully will be available at Home Depot . WE are the southern distributor This unit allows all Vegetables to grow vertically and saves space . The lighting system is scandinavian and uses low wattage and does not produce heat . Basically it is very high tech meets mom in her kitchen .

Our Preferred Partners