A few raised bed questions - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 01-27-2011, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure this has all been covered here and there, but there's a lot of info to sort through.

 

I've done container gardening before, mostly herbs but a few peppers and tomatoes. This is my first year with a "real" garden.

 

Simplicity and cost are key.  I'm lazy, work full time, and have a nine month old.

 

I'm going to do a raised bed- I'm thinking 4x8 and 6 inches deep? 

 

I was thinking of doing: tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, loofah (for fun!), calendula, spinach, and various herbs (cilantro, basil, chives, thyme, oregeno). 

 

On my list of things that I'm also considering are things like peas, pole beans, eggplant, winter squash, garlic, green onion.

 

I'm also going to do potatoes in a trashcan, and sunflowers somewhere else.

 

I'm going to go to the bookstore and buy a sq ft gardening book, but they seem so fussy.  I have no interest in making mel's mix or anything.  I do have a worm box, though I may or may not have frozen the worms, we'll see.  I have a stash of cardboard ready to lay down on the bottom of the bed.  No time for true lasagna gardening.

 

I live in Zone 7 (central NC).

 

So, dump your knowledge on me!  What are some pitfalls I should really really avoid?  What are some things that I don't really need to worry about?  Any plants that I should really not plant near each other?  Anything that I'm forgetting to plant? 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 of 9 Old 02-01-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Given everything you've said, I don't think the square gardening book would be a bad place to start. Forget the Mel's mix - you really can leave that out, just ammend the soil as well as you can with what you have. I've used all different methods to prepare my raised beds to see what works best. I've used Mel's Mix, double digging, lasagna gardening, trench composting and more. And in my experience, if you are feeding the soil the garden will get better over time, regardless of which method or non-method you used. ;)

 

Your bed size sounds small. I'd be inclined to start with a 4 x16, or two 4 x 8 beds, especially since you want to grow tomatoes and squash. They take up a ton of space! One zucchini plant and two tomato plants would take up your entire 4 x 8 bed. You could certainly fit small, early season plants like spinach, cilantro, radishes and lettuce around them early in the season, but later, they will take up the entire bed.

 

In my climate, garlic is planted in the fall, left to overwinter, and picked mid summer. You might want to check with someone in your area about when to plant it. I know that in some climates you can plant it in spring, and that may apply where you are.

 

As for spacing and what to plant near what, my favorite book to use as a guide is Tanya Denkla's "The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food". She covers fruits and herbs, as well as common veggies. If that one doesn't work out for you, as I said above, you could use the Square Foot G. book for the planting information and just ignore the Mel's Mix part, or check out "How to Grow More Vegetables" (which is, admittedly, pretty "techy" and chocked full of statistics that may or may not be up your ally - if math gives you hives, best not to go with this one ;))/

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#3 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was going to use a trellis and train the zucchini and squash up that.  That should make them take up way less room, right?


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#4 of 9 Old 02-03-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rhiOrion View Post

I was going to use a trellis and train the zucchini and squash up that.  That should make them take up way less room, right?



 In my experience, that would work for a pumpkin, but the zucchini plants I've grown are big and bushy, so a trellis would not help.

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#5 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 02:36 AM
 
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I second the PP's suggestion of larger beds! 4x8 looks large paper, but boy does it get small when there's a zucchini in it, and even if the squash gets trained up a trellis it still needs a good amount of undisturbed space for roots.

 

4'x16' would give you much happier plants, less work watering, and a bigger harvest. Also, make it deeper if possible because 6" really isn't a lots of soil for hungry plants in tight quarters unless there is soil underneath for roots to dig into.


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#6 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've already bought and made the bed.  Went with 4x8 and 12 inches deep.  Maybe I'll ditch the zucchini or something.  There are always people trying to find a good home for their overgrowth of zucchini anyhow.


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#7 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Highly relevant to zucchini:  Attack of the Squash People

 

The mistake I make far too often is to plant too many things, too close together. And then nothing really grows well. This year I'm using gardening software to help me with the spacing and I'll try really hard not to squeeze in just one more plant :)


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#8 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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Yeah I like the plant spacing idea for square foot gardening but have never used their other ideas. I do like the garden planner at the link below! You just drag and drop the veggies you want to plant into the “squares” and it tells you how many you can plant, plus planting instructions. Make the garden bed to match your dimensions too. So fun!

 

http://www.gardeners.com/Kitchen-Garden-Planner/kgp_home,default,pg.html

 

Click on Plan Your Garden link.

 

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#9 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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The things I am planting in my raised beds are:

 

Cabbage, broccoli, chard, spinach, lettuce, beets, leeks, onions, and assorted herbs. Peas on a string trellis on the south facing side of raised bed. Kale and garlic in the winter.

 

Bean teepee, squash and tomatoes elsewhere, because they get big! I can’t imagine squash or tomato plants taking up ONE square in a bed hahahahahaha

 

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