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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:12 AM
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LPN LPN is offline
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Questions-Raised planting bed material.

I want to get started constructing a raised bed this coming spring for a veggie garden. I plan on fencing it to keep deer and rabbits out.

1. What would be a suitable, readily available (cheap) material to use to construct the raised perimeter sections? (16' x 40')
2. How deep should the raised bed be?

Any comments are greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
Cheers, LPN.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:44 AM
JanR JanR is offline
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Re: Questions-Raised planting bed material.

1. You can use whatever is cheapest in your area. I made mine out of 2 x 10 spruce boards because that was what was the cheapest. If you make it out of cedar it will last much longer. It all depends on what you want to spend.

2. It all depends on what your soil is like underneath and what you want to grow. There is also the question of where you are going to get the soil to fill it up. A 16 x 40 bed will take a lot of soil. There is also the question as to why you want a raised bed in the first place? Is it so that the soil will warm up faster? Do you need it to drain better? You might want to consider making multiple smaller beds. If your beds are only 4 feet wide, you will never have to walk on the soil and it won't get compacted. Just something to think about.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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LPN LPN is offline
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Re: Questions-Raised planting bed material.

Thanks JanR for your ideas. I may be able to clarify a few things regarding your comments.

I thought about 2 x 10's but they'd have to be braced so as not to bow outward under the weight of the soil. Railroad ties would be suitable if I can get enough. The local railroad leaves all their old ones off to the side of the tracks. Cedar is prohibitavely expensive dispite the fact it grows wild here everywhere and is quite prolific. I'm prepared to bring in a dump truck load of top soil for this large planting bed. Not too concerned about soil warming up as it's location is in a prime sunny area, but our native soil is nothing more than rock and sand with minimal organic content. Multiple smaller beds seems OK but would require more material (boards and fencing) to acheive the same square footage of planting area. A raised planting bed would just be neater/tidier overall and with a 3' weed free perimeter, keep weeds down in the beds too.

Cheers, LPN.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:47 PM
woodschmoe woodschmoe is offline
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Re: Questions-Raised planting bed material.

Mill slabs have been my cheapest source of cedar for beds; you'll have to scab them together and work with different sizes, but you can't beat free. I'd imagine there's a backyard mill or two down your way.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 08:07 AM
JanR JanR is offline
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Re: Questions-Raised planting bed material.

Multiple beds would definitely require more boards, but I think if would be worth it in the long run. I put stakes in the corners and one along each side. I am hoping that it will be held adequately. I wouldn't use railroad ties as they could contain toxic ingredients that wouldn't be good for a vegetable garden. Mill slabs would definitely be an option. I recall my parents had some raised beds made from split logs, so if you had any trees that you wanted to cut down, that might be an option. Of course a raised bed doesn't have to have solid sides, but it certainly helps in the maintenance dept. I think you will find that having smaller beds that will never be walked on will be a real advantage. Your garden would not have to be as large either as any pathways will be outside the bed and not in the middle.

Let us know what you decide to do. :)
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