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How I'm filling my 8' X 4' raised beds.

 
pollinator
Posts: 121
Location: Treasure Coast, Fl
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Joshua Bertram wrote: I considered using jute twine, or plastic twine, but the uv rays here will destroy them by the middle of summer.  I went with bailing/rebar tie wire instead.  Not sure how well it will or will not work.    



Gah I love your set up 😍 Regarding what to use to tie tomatoes, MIGardener (youtube channel) uses 1/8" elastic (which of course you might have a hard time finding now because of all the mask making). He gets his through Amazon. it has give and it holds up to uv radiation.
 
Posts: 475
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Vanessa Alarcon wrote:

Joshua Bertram wrote: I considered using jute twine, or plastic twine, but the uv rays here will destroy them by the middle of summer.  I went with bailing/rebar tie wire instead.  Not sure how well it will or will not work.    



Gah I love your set up 😍 Regarding what to use to tie tomatoes, MIGardener (youtube channel) uses 1/8" elastic (which of course you might have a hard time finding now because of all the mask making). He gets his through Amazon. it has give and it holds up to uv radiation.



Thanks Vanessa.....I copy all good ideas, and I already bought this roll off Amazon a couple of months ago after watching MIgardener's episode.  :)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071WJF63N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Hopefully I can mainly twist the tomatoes around the wire, and keep the tying of the elastic to a minimum.  It's going to be ridiculously labor intensive either way, and when the temps get over 100F here, I'm not sure if I'll have the energy or desire to keep it going, especially since the tomatoes go into survival mode during that time vs production.  I might get around to putting up some shade cloth over the top of the trellis to see if I can get them to produce longer into summer.  I should do that anyway.

Thanks again!

Josh
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 475
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Here's a video update of the raised beds, and most of the back yard.  https://youtu.be/kiRGr1TQYME

Really excited to have just bought a couple of purple tree collard cuttings, and a tiny rooted Pakistani Mulberry that I'm still contemplating where to plant if I can get it to survive this year.  Also am awaiting a San Pedro cactus cutting that I hope to be able to propagate into growing here perennially.  

Most everything is doing great, and I'm really happy with all the work I put into the yard this year.
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 475
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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So, I'm getting so much production out of these beds I'm going to have to cover them up to slow them down!  Or, at least keep the 105f sun off them for the next few months.

This has pretty much been "peak" for me the last few years.  Peak meaning in the next two weeks, growth will slow down, the squash bugs will invade, things will die from the heat and neglect because I don't want to go out into the searing sun here.  I don't know how the people in Phoenix, or even Vegas do it!  It's not quite as bad here, but still.  Respect to them.

Anyhow, just documenting the progress.  It's really been amazing so far.  I've had about a dozen ripe tomatoes so far, and I'm guessing have close to a thousand ripening on the vines.  It's just crazy.  I grab neighbors and make them hold an open bag, and I just start shoving stuff in it.  Planted dozens of sweet potato slips in places where I could.  Put out a bunch of peppers, but they're not doing great so far.  Not sure how the shade cloth will affect their growth.  If I can get 1/10 of the already on the vine tomatoes to ripen, it will be twice as good as any year before this.  I never have had luck with tomatoes.  Like I said in the posts above, I'm single stemming and doing the "lower and lean" greenhouse technique.  One plant looks like it might die, but everything else looks great.  I really need to top off all the beds with a layer of fresh compost.  I expected them to settle more than they have so far, so they're pretty much within an inch or so of the top of the bed.  The sparrows have torn up the chard, but so far not much cabbage moth damage.  I expect I'll be seeing tons of them flying in shortly.  Also, something really nice this year.  With the exception of one dino kale plant I've seen no aphids in the garden.  My native desert willow trees got infested with them this year, but almost nothing on any of the greens.   Very few on the fruit trees too, normally I'd be worried about all the damage, and be pressure hosing them off by now.  

The shade cloth I got off Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010US4P66/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It got good reviews.  I paid $60 total for the two sheets.  Each sheet is 10' X 20'.  It covers six  of the beds completely, but the seventh at the end is not covered.  It's 40% shade, and black.

The frame is just cheap electrical conduit.  I welded some of it, and screwed some of it.  I wanted to be able to unscrew it if I needed to take it apart.  (for when the beds fall apart/need repair)

I just put the shade cloth up this morning.  I'm really hoping it keeps things in the sub 95f range for the next few months.

Lot's more pictures.



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Welding in the garden. Life is perfect. :)
Welding in the garden. Life is perfect. :)
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Chinese snake bean taking over the gate and trellis. It still functions with all the vines on it. I think it's the snake bean?
Chinese snake bean taking over the gate and trellis. It still functions with all the vines on it. I think it's the snake bean?
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Squash, peppers, onions, and who knows what else? I call it a buffet.
Squash, peppers, onions, and who knows what else? I call it a buffet.
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before shade pic
before shade pic
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Far end of beds before shade.
Far end of beds before shade.
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Garlic ready to pull. Planted too dense, the heads are smaller this year for sure.
Garlic ready to pull. Planted too dense, the heads are smaller this year for sure.
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Simple emt conduit frame for shade cloth. Not sure how it will stand up to the wind here.
Simple emt conduit frame for shade cloth. Not sure how it will stand up to the wind here.
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After shade pic.
After shade pic.
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Need to make the seam seem like it's not there. I don't like the way it looks.
Need to make the seam seem like it's not there. I don't like the way it looks.
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It's like a secret hiding place! I love it.
It's like a secret hiding place! I love it.
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When you can't afford a drone, a ladder will due.
When you can't afford a drone, a ladder will due.
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 475
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
135
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I just smile when I see the tomatoes!
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