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advice on raised garden beds

 
Gail Saito
Posts: 88
Location: Medford, OR
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Cleared the land and I am now ready to build some raised beds. This will be my first experience with raised garden beds. Thinking about incorporating hugekulture techniques. I will be using some of the soil that was on this piece of land...what else should I use to fill the beds? Any and all advice about raised beds, including building them, will be much appreciated!
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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If you build them very tall and don't have outside inputs by the truckload, my experience is that you'll soon be so desperate to fill them you'll use anything organic or that looks like soil. The one I built last year, I first dug a pit that I filled with huegel wood. Then I slowly added back the dirt, mixing in fallen leaves, dead grass, fallen osage oranges, rotten bark, and soils of various kind stolen by the bucket from around my property. It was a scramble to find enough.
 
Joe Camarena
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What do you want to grow? How much rainfall a year do you get? How much sun light do these beds get every day? Last question, what is the natural soil like?

Joe
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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i've never tried this method but i have always wanted to...putting straw bales around in a square ish shape and filling it in with dirt/compost/mulch, or any kind of straw bale garden.

http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/straw-bale-gardening.html

i do garden with a lot of straw, it would be one of my favorite materials to use if there were better local sources out here, but i find some random straw/hay around and it works really well in the raised garden bed to fill it up.
especially with a few whole bales you can get a lot of height and a sort of terracing effect.

your idea about hugelculture sounds good too, but its true it is a scramble and takes a LOT more than you always think to fill them up, especially if you want something tall.

you could do something simpler and more of a lasagna bed with some hugel ish around it, like edge short raised beds with wood and logs, use a layer of wood chips and cardboard on the bottom, then add whatever layers as you can...of leaves/compost/manure/straw/grass clippings/wood chips and soil on top...both bag soil and screened dirt from the location
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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Digging a pond is a good thing to do along with building a raised bed.....take the soil from one and use it for the other! Win-win.
 
Gail Saito
Posts: 88
Location: Medford, OR
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Straw bales is an interesting idea. However, in my situation, it will not work as I have a huge gopher population. I think I may dig down in the existing soil, 2 ft or so, and make that the huegel bed and put the raised bed on top. I do have a huge pile of pretty decent soil that I plan to fill the beds with. In addition, compost and what else?? I plan to make this my main vegetable garden next spring. One more thing. The area I am working with is not level. That could present a problem when placing the beds on top. Any ideas?
 
Joe Camarena
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Compost and what else?

Maybe if I knew your native soil conditions and what the annual rainfall was like I could give an educated answer. I receive 20" of rain annually where I live and have very dry summers. So my raised bed soil mix is 25% vermiculite, 25% coconut coir and 50% compost. I also mulch with 2-4" of straw and still need to water during the summer...that's just life in central Texas.

Joe
 
Lorenzo Costa
steward
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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I think one can surround his raised beds with anything one has in a good quanity or for free or very close by from a neighbor or similar. Yetserday I was on a farm where they have a lot of wood and they put it around their raised beds, I tried to say hey with all that wod why don't you do hugel beds, but they weren't to keen on hugel so I just let it go.
Ihave other people I know that use the rocks they have on the land they grow their gardens.
I'll use hugel raised beds and use rocks around my beds or even just the soil if they're not to high it's ok really.
I like strawbales but really or you pay them very little or in the long run they're not convenient. How much do you pay them? I'm getting tired of having to go crazy hauling the strawbales to my land and then putting it on the beds as a mulch etc. we have to think simple and non expensive possibly.
 
Gail Saito
Posts: 88
Location: Medford, OR
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I first dug a pit that I filled with huegel wood. Then I slowly added back the dirt, mixing in fallen leaves, dead grass, fallen osage oranges, rotten bark, and soils of various kind stolen by the bucket from around my property. It was a scramble to find enough.

Dan...did you use the huegel wood in the pit under your raised bed or did you put the wood in the raised bed?
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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In my experience, raised beds will require more water. Just so you know now, going into it...
 
2017 Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs http://richsoil.com/pdc
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