Author Topic: Raised garden beds?- Update!  (Read 2767 times)

mozar

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Raised garden beds?- Update!
« on: April 27, 2018, 03:21:54 PM »
I went to Home Depot and they told me they had stopped selling cedar planks. Any suggestions on what to get?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 08:17:20 PM by mozar »

letired

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2018, 03:30:33 PM »
My current bed is the cheapest untreated pine, but I expect it will rot out sooner than I'd like. The internet has strongly suggested solid concrete blocks to me, but I haven't tried it yet. The double bonus with them is they will never wear out or rot, and they are heavy enough you don't need any hardware or fastener to hold the whole thing together.

Telecaster

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2018, 03:42:58 PM »
A couple thoughts...

...If you still have a local lumber store, they almost certainly have better selection and quality than Home Depot and Lowes.  So try there.

I've tried building beds with untreated pine, but it rots out way too fast.  Not worth it, IMO.

I have had good success with galvanized troughs like these:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003B6HHEW/ref=twister_B01M3Q2IS8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

You need to drill holes in the bottom for drainage which takes some time, but maintenance free after that. 

bacchi

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 03:45:28 PM »
Plastic HDPE lumber works, too, but it's expensive. I had some left over from a deck project.

Untreated pine lasts ~2 seasons but the 2nd season will require adjusting screws and maybe some blocking.


Bracken_Joy

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2018, 03:53:58 PM »
I find it weird people have so many issues with pine. I live in Oregon, a very wet place, and I've always built my raised beds out of just like... stud lumber. Untreated pine. They've always lasted like 5+ years for me. We're going into the second growing season at our new house, so I guess I'll let you know how they do next year ;) But they seem totally find still after this winter. No tightening, etc needed.

Fishindude

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2018, 04:11:42 PM »
My raised beds are 6" x 6" treated timbers stacked to approx. 30" height. 
I don't have any fear of the chemicals used to treat the lumber getting into my food and poisoning us.   

NV Teacher

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2018, 04:18:55 PM »
I've been wanting to try making some out of old tin roofing panels from a barn tear down.  I love the look and I think they would out last me.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2018, 04:27:35 PM »
Since my car accident 10 years ago, I don't have them anymore, but
I had the equivalent of 8 4 x 10 beds of various products, mostly concrete block.
On half of them, my husband put 12-15" sections of pvc pipe at the corners and the middle of the 10' sides, attached.
He made 6-7' tall screens - pressure treated poles, about 1 1/2  square, with 2" x 4" metal screen that I anchored climbing things on.
Kind of like these
I admit to having morning Glories among my little pumpkins, cucumbers, and tomatoes

(I have to add this - I am glad the accident happened. It changed my life immensely but because of it my husband's bladder cancer was discovered , they said before it even got to stage one.)

skibum

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2018, 04:27:55 PM »
My raised beds are 6" x 6" treated timbers stacked to approx. 30" height. 
I don't have any fear of the chemicals used to treat the lumber getting into my food and poisoning us.   

The risk is exceedingly low that the chemicals would poison you, the gardener through the food, but I was taught that they could potentially affect the micro-organisms in the soil, which may have an impact on the soil quality. In any case, some plastic lining stapled to the inside of the bed will easily prevent anything from leaching into the bed, if you are really worried, and still probably cheaper than cedar. The other option is to just make sure  you are planting more than a foot or so away.

The ultimate cheap solution is to just make a pile of dirt, without retaining walls. It's not very tidy, to be sure, but definitely frugal. Depends on how high you want/need it raised above the ground.

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2018, 05:28:09 PM »
Some interesting ideas here. The thing is that it's on a slope, so I was thinking of doing something like this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5xZgiibypc

I also don't want to have to update it every 3 to 5 years if possible, and I will be carrying everything myself. I will look into local hardware stores.

Radagast

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2018, 05:48:59 PM »
I have a smaller decorative raised garden (but all it grows is garlic, cayenne peppers, tomatoes, and peaches).  I used decorative concrete blocks. It cost a couple hundred bucks, but it greatly improved the exterior vibe of my house. I would highly recommend concrete for durability, even though it is more expensive and heavy. It will probably be less expensive if you plan to keep it for many years.

I never liked 2byX raised beds, they only look good for a short while and in wet places they won't last long. But, Home Depot should have redwood 2byX, which is just as good as cedar or even better. The plastic "wood" options are also available.

My parents use railroad ties in places that are out of general sight, and rock walls for places in sight. Both of those are heavy though.

Cranky

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2018, 06:05:30 PM »
Iíve got some that are wood, and itís just regular lumber using plastic connectors. I think we replac d the wood after about 10 years. Now we mostly use cement blocks. They arenít as decorative, I guess, but they look fine when the plants are in full growth, and I like planting herbs and flowers around the sides.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2018, 06:22:51 PM »
Wood sides help the garden look tidy, but you can do raised beds just fine with soft sides. Thereís no functional reason to use hard sides, FYI. Many market gardeners do field scale raised beds, now granted you typically have to reshape the edges every season, but you get all the benefits of raised beds with no material cost.

Because I live in a neighborhood with a bunch of busybodies, I did wood sides for many of the beds to make it look more appealing. Untreated stud lumber, 3 years old, theyíre looking practically new except for being sun weathered.

The designs on the Internet showing corner reinforcement are unnecessary in my experience. I made mine 4x8, so itís 3 studs, one cut in half. Screw them together with star drive deck screws, two to a corner.

Erica from NWEdible told me even in her rot-friendly PNW climate cedar doesnít last long enough compared to stud lumber to justify the price premium. (E.g. it might last 2x longer but it costs 3-4x)

mozar

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Thegoblinchief

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2018, 06:35:08 PM »
What do you all think of this? https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pavestone-RumbleStone-Large-3-5-in-x-10-5-in-x-7-in-Cafe-Concrete-Garden-Wall-Block-91969/203158384

@furrychickens what are soft sides?

If you have the money, sure, but those blocks would make beds WAY expensive to build. Not economical at all.

Just hilling up the bed and leaving dirt exposed on the side. No retaining wall or wood.

And any particular reason you want raised beds at all, versus just ground level beds? IIRC youíre mid-Atlantic area? Unless your site has drainage issues, thereís not a ton of functional advantage to having raised beds. Sure, the soil warms a touch faster, but the differences are minor for growth performance.

Cgbg

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2018, 07:42:23 PM »
I used what I had onsite- old cobblestones. They are havens for the slugs though.

ender

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2018, 09:19:08 PM »
What do you all think of this? https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pavestone-RumbleStone-Large-3-5-in-x-10-5-in-x-7-in-Cafe-Concrete-Garden-Wall-Block-91969/203158384

@furrychickens what are soft sides?

Cinder blocks are reasonably cheap options (much cheaper than those bricks).

But get your back ready, hauling a raised bed worth of cinder blocks isn't going to be for the faint of heart ;)

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2018, 10:53:28 PM »
Quote
Just hilling up the bed and leaving dirt exposed on the side. No retaining wall or wood.

And any particular reason you want raised beds at all, versus just ground level beds? IIRC youíre mid-Atlantic area? Unless your site has drainage issues, thereís not a ton of functional advantage to having raised beds. Sure, the soil warms a touch faster, but the differences are minor for growth performance.

Really? On a slope the dirt won't go anywhere when it rains? That's the main reason I want something. Yes mid atlantic. You all got me thinking. I have a box of tile that my dad gave me after he renovated his Baltimore row house. I think they're ceramic. I could glue them together and set them into the hillside.

Re: cinder blocks, yeah it would be just me carrying it. The bed would ideally be 4X8.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2018, 04:44:00 AM »
You didnít mention a slope in the OP. How much of a slope?

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2018, 10:45:07 AM »
I'd say like 35 degrees, eyeballing it.

Radagast

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2018, 11:04:30 AM »
35 degrees is so steep that you could barely get to the top using your hands and feet, and soil is basically falling off the slope unless there is thick vegetation.

Is visual appeal a goal, or only holding soil? I still like concrete blocks and would recommend the cheapest per square foot of wall that meet any visual goals, but if it is out of sight out of mind and you are not explicitly after a retaining wall 2x8 could be fine.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2018, 11:06:50 AM »
I'd say like 35 degrees, eyeballing it.

You want to look at techniques for terracing or retaining walls then. 35 degrees is quite steep.

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2018, 11:15:31 AM »
Just holding soil. I've been googling terraced gardens, slope gardens, hillside gardens and not really getting anywhere. I think I just have to start building it because I'm not good at visualizing things.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2018, 12:20:53 PM »
Just holding soil. I've been googling terraced gardens, slope gardens, hillside gardens and not really getting anywhere. I think I just have to start building it because I'm not good at visualizing things.

I saw this earlier today: https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/2014/10/heres-a-quick-way-to-terrace-a-hill/ May be worth a try?

Radagast

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2018, 12:53:14 PM »
Just holding soil. I've been googling terraced gardens, slope gardens, hillside gardens and not really getting anywhere. I think I just have to start building it because I'm not good at visualizing things.

I saw this earlier today: https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/2014/10/heres-a-quick-way-to-terrace-a-hill/ May be worth a try?
Yeah that's a good idea. I have realized I don't have any idea what this is for. I had pictured between house and street. But that is a great idea to establish natural terraces along a hill side.

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2018, 01:06:29 PM »
Interesting, I do have lots of sticks.
Here is what I am working with (pic)

Radagast

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2018, 09:16:27 PM »
Interesting, I do have lots of sticks.
Here is what I am working with (pic)
That's more like :\ 3.5 degrees :D. Honestly up to you and what kind of labor look and money you want from this project. I could easily see anything discussed going there.

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2018, 10:20:31 PM »
Lol, I just googled "degrees" I don't really know what it is.

Penn42

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2018, 07:27:38 AM »
My fir 8'x4' beds (built with 2x10's) are on season three and holding up just fine. One thing I'd recommend is buying a 4x4 to cut into 10 inch chunks (to match the height of your boards), place them in the corners of your beds, and screw the sides of the beds into those instead of into the end of the 2x10's.

Fishindude

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Re: Raised garden beds?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2018, 12:14:20 PM »
Something I will throw out there.   To me the whole point of raised beds is to get your gardening at a level where you can work standing up instead of stooped over or down on hands & knees, so my beds are 30" tall.   12" Tall raised beds don't make much sense.   May as well just till up the dirt at ground level and have a conventional garden.

mozar

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Re: Raised garden beds?- Update!
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2018, 08:13:37 PM »
Here's what I did. I went with the natural look using branches to hold up the soil. I will probably add some gravel and another terrace in the middle.
Thanks for all the responses, I wouldn't have thought to this on my own. Sorry the pic is blurry.