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View Full Version : Building a raised garden. Q&A


ussoldierforhire
04-05-2009, 11:56 AM
Ok, I'm just a home owner. I'm building the wife a raised garden since we have horrible georgia clay. I am making a 16' x 6' rectangular garden out of landscaping timbers. I have purchased top soil, peat moss, and manure compost to put in there. I am going to seal the wood in hopes of keeping the termites from eating it.

Should I screw the posts together or drill holes and bolt them together?

What should I do to prevent the rain from washing out the soil from under the wood?

The Elements Group
04-05-2009, 12:04 PM
attach a permeable layer to the bottom , use timber nails galvanized good luck

White Gardens
04-05-2009, 12:33 PM
If your gaps between the timbers are pretty big, then you might want to use landscape fabric to cover the inside of the timbers down to the existing soil to create a barrier to hold the soil in.

Large nails will work just fine for connecting it together. Raised beds are great, but eventually the timbers will deteriorate over 10 to fifteen years regardless of protecting it. Too many environmental factors that you can't take into consideration, including constant wet soil.

If you want to in the end, go buy some re-bar from a local home store and drill holes big enough through the entire stack of timber and use a sledge hammer to run them through into the ground. A paddle bit with a bit extension works good.

I hope that made sense.

ussoldierforhire
04-05-2009, 02:16 PM
thanks guys

bigslick7878
04-05-2009, 02:40 PM
I second the re-bar idea for the first row,you can get 2 foot pieces at Home Depot pretty cheap.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 02:41 PM
If youre looking for the end all be all last a lifetime garden build it out of stones. Line it with a permeable fabric of some kind to prevent erosion, etc.

Good luck and post some pics!

Ruben Rocha
04-05-2009, 04:09 PM
You know you could use some of the hybrid lumber we have today. Such as trex. It is basicly wood and plastic. And you don't have the issues of pressure treated wood leaching toxic chemicals into the garden.
It is pricy but pretty much will never rot.
But to answer your question Since we don't know the dimensions of the lumber you may need to install a vertical piece of the lumber in the corners and maybe midpoint of the long side and nail or screw to it so to prevent it from bowing or coming loose at the corners.

ussoldierforhire
04-05-2009, 04:31 PM
You know you could use some of the hybrid lumber we have today. Such as trex. It is basicly wood and plastic. And you don't have the issues of pressure treated wood leaching toxic chemicals into the garden.
It is pricy but pretty much will never rot.
But to answer your question Since we don't know the dimensions of the lumber you may need to install a vertical piece of the lumber in the corners and maybe midpoint of the long side and nail or screw to it so to prevent it from bowing or coming loose at the corners.

I thought about the fake wood but I want to see how it turns out. I'm not great at building things so this is sorta a test run. I think i will be using corner pieces and I will post pics as I build it.

ussoldierforhire
04-10-2009, 01:15 PM
Ok here are some BEFORE pictures. I am done collecting materials and will now begin the building process. The area is on a slight hill so I may need to dig some to set the bed.

glfredrick
04-10-2009, 03:55 PM
Mi wife and I installed a number of raised beds for gardening when we still owned our home in central Wisconsin.

We double dug the hole under the raised bed to a depth of 3 feet, then stacked it with all sorts of mulchy stuff, layered with dirt and composted manure. Longer roots, better plants!

You could stick your arm in, up to the elbow, in any of our beds. The plants we grew were unbelievable. Tomatoes went over the top of a 6' cage, and we picked a bushel of tomatos per plant. Pole beans were planted on a piece of 8' expanded wire fence. They went over the top and back down the other side. Carrots were over a foot long. We had cucumbers growing up and out of the garden and into the trees.

When pulling up plants in the fall to prepare beds for winter, the root systems would be amazing. The beans were close to 3 feet long. Same with tomatos. Other plants not so long, but very thriving.

In one 4 x 10 bed, we grew enough vegatables to hold our family of 4 for a year. It was a lot of work to get the beds dug and installed, but SO worth it.

We watered with natural rain water caught off the roof of a garden shed and stored in a plastic barrel. We hooked up a homeade plastic pipe watering device that we left in each bed. Used 1/2" pvc, capped one end, and t-d the other. Add a hose fitting and drill a bunch of holes down the length of the pipe. Turn on the water and do the whole bed at one time. We added fertilizer to the water from time to time to help out.

Oh, and we also raised our own source of manure... Steers are SO easy to raise, and take very little room. In a 10' x 20' run with a little bit of shelter, you can manage to raise a couple of freezers full of prime beef in 12 months using the Tenderlean program. http://www.tendrleen.com/Sept-04-techrpt.htm

ussoldierforhire
04-10-2009, 04:08 PM
WOW talk about self sufficient! I like the idea of a barrel with hoses to the bed. hmmmm got me thinking now!

ussoldierforhire
04-10-2009, 07:17 PM
O.K. Here's the end of phase I. I digging clay sucks! Gonna get the tiller tomorrow then mix in the store bought (topsoil, Peat, and manure compost). It's supposed to rain some tonight so hopefully the timber will lock into the clay ground pretty good.

I bought some posts and chicken wire to keep the dogs out. Also, going to surround it by mulch so the wife can put flowers on the outside.

Ruben Rocha
04-10-2009, 07:27 PM
Have you ever read square foot gardening by Mel Bartholomew?
He has had a book out for many years and he used to have a show on the local education channel.
I have the book and it is really great.
http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

ussoldierforhire
04-10-2009, 07:59 PM
never heard of it, i'll look at it tonight. This garden is basically a birthday present for the wife. she's the one that will be doing all of the planting. I just want to make sure I build it right and make the soil the best I can.

ussoldierforhire
04-11-2009, 09:16 PM
Ok, so I got busy today and tilled it, filled with more topsoil, peat moss, and manure compost. Transported my daughters baby sunflowers behind it next to the fence and some easy seed flowers front and back. I realized very quickly that i would need quite a bit more mulch but you can see where I'm going with the whole thing. Eventually it'll be surrounded by a white picket fence. I gotta keep the dogs out or they will dig. I also tilled the hill behind the fence and spread wildflower mix for the hummingbirds.

comments/suggestions???

kirk1701
04-12-2009, 12:28 AM
Ok here are some BEFORE pictures. I am done collecting materials and will now begin the building process. The area is on a slight hill so I may need to dig some to set the bed.
Nice rig ussoldierforhire
Actually, looks lime mine and have the same 10 pt dump cart which has been a back saver. :)

What tractor? Didn't see the model LA140?

bigslick7878
04-12-2009, 12:48 AM
Not to be picky,but the timbers should overlap on the corners not have a seam straight up.

ussoldierforhire
04-12-2009, 10:16 AM
Nice rig ussoldierforhire
Actually, looks lime mine and have the same 10 pt dump cart which has been a back saver. :)

What tractor? Didn't see the model LA140?

Nope just an LA115.

ussoldierforhire
04-12-2009, 10:18 AM
Not to be picky,but the timbers should overlap on the corners not have a seam straight up.

I'm not picturing what you're saying. How could there not be a seam?

44DCNF
04-12-2009, 10:41 AM
Be careful stepping on those treated timbers when working around the garden. They will become very slippery when wet.
As for the corners, the structure would be more solid if one sides timber overlaps the other sides at the corner. Interlock you fingertips or look at the corner of a brick home to get an idea.

Ruben Rocha
04-12-2009, 10:50 AM
Here is a simple drawing of overlapped corners.

ussoldierforhire
04-12-2009, 11:38 AM
That makes sense. Dang.

Ruben Rocha
04-12-2009, 11:51 AM
I know it is probably a little late for that. So if they do come apart. And you have some short pieces say 16". Just dig a hole on the inside corners stich the lumber in and nail to to the corners.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-12-2009, 12:35 PM
That makes sense. Dang.

Just go to Home Depot and buy construction angle brackets for those corners. Screw them in (don't nail them) and you'll be about as sturdy...

Ruben Rocha
04-12-2009, 12:42 PM
Oh yea just got to the department with the Simpson truss fasteners.
Why didn't I think of that?