Raised Beds

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Raised Beds

Postby rupietoot » Tue May 10, 2016 8:42 am

Good Morning from the East Coast!

We have recently purchased a property on a river and I am anxious to get a veggie garden started. I am thinking of doing raised beds as I have no idea what the soil is like and I do like the idea of having the garden raised a bit to make it easier to work at. My question is, should I line the bottom with thick cardboard / newspapers or till what is there and just dump the soil on top?

Any hints, ideas and/or advice would be more than welcome.

Thank you,


Re: Raised Beds

Postby madamezil » Tue May 10, 2016 10:14 am

Good morning from the West Coast.!

When we were building our raised beds, we just turned over the lawn and heaped the soil on top. That being said, we knew what the soil was like. In your case, if you don't know what the soil is like, then maybe the cardboard, paper is the route to go. Also, during the first year of a new raised bed, I would tend to stick to veggie starts, the seeds being a little hard to start at first.

Give the beds a good turning over in the spring and lots of amendments, compost etc. We love our raised beds cuz it's a looong way to the ground now. :)

Enjoy your garden!
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby HeidiPG » Tue May 10, 2016 3:40 pm

Can I direct you to a very interesting website which has information on this topic under the title of 'The myth of paper based mulch"

I really respect this author's information which was developed through the extension service of Washington State University's for its master gardener program.


I have a couple of Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott's books which have been extremely enlightening.

I do all my veggie gardening in raised beds set up after we removed 4 large old poplar trees in the immediate area. They were not sheet-mulched, rather we did as mentioned - turned over the sod and putting soil and compost on top. I no longer do deep digging or rototilling either, other than digging up potatoes when ready! One bed is home to my two perennial crops, asparagus and strawberries, the other 3 are rotated annual crops. I have occasional incursion of grass from the adjacent lawn which I dig out as it comes up.

I top up the compost in these beds annually.
Heidi in Prince George, BC
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby OGrubber » Tue May 10, 2016 3:57 pm

Good Afternoon from the south coast of Ontario! :)

If you are planning to dump more than five or six inches of [clean] soil on top, I'm going to suggest you just till it up. The reasoning [and some experience included] is that that is enough to smother whatever existing weed seeds you may have stirred up and cardboard or a layer of newspaper has a tendency to create a barrier at the bottom of your raised beds inhibiting both good drainage and bottom wicking.

If you have dry summers, as I do, I found that a layer of cardboard will give certain weeds that propagate by runners [quack grass for instance] a fighting chance to run from the centre of your box to the outside edges to send up shoots which will in turn give enough energy to the "smothered" portions to penetrate the barriers from within and come to the inside surfaces.

In any event, no matter what you decide to do, I hope you have a grand veggy garden this year!
market gardening - just another day at the plant
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby Lizzy » Wed May 18, 2016 10:13 pm

More word from the Wet Coast of BC.

I decided to reclaim some soil from the edge of a walkway in an area that was filled (underneath) with boulders and horrible "soil." I spread corrugated cardboard, and newspapers over the soil, and soaked it thoroughly. Then I applied compost, and some very LIVE compost over it, then not enough decent soil, and topped it all up with lots of mushroom manure.

I left it till the following spring...and we put in blueberry bushes...we got the bestest blueberries we've had yet! We added spring bulbs, daffs/tulips, and drumstick primroses, and I added some anenomes...and last year, a big French Lavender bush.

Last year, the blueberries were delicious, all few handsful that we got. The French Lavender has gone berserk. So have the drumstick primroses, but I foolishly overweeded the anenomes (because I have a kind of buttercup thingie-weed that looks just like.)

I haven't tried veggies in this bed...it is in shade for too much of the day, and does get neglected re watering.

But, it was the easiest of any garden I ever tried to set up!

I have two more beds somewhat like it...and it is exactly as Inge said...the grasses, the weeds...but it is wonderful for a Hydrangea, and for my collection of Japanese Irises. Shade, and NOW lots of watering.

I do add sheep-doo every autumn, we get a rainy winter here...and mushroom manure/compost in the spring time. All of these beds get mostly shade.
Lizzy - wet Coast, BC Zone 7b-8b
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby rupietoot » Tue May 31, 2016 1:15 pm

Thank you so much for all the replies and sage / experienced advice :-) I ended up lightly tilling the area where the boxes go, removed the clumps of sod and will fill boxes with "clean" soil and compost. Have bought seeds, started cucumbers in the house and am anxiously awaiting to plant seeds and plants. Most advise from my area is not to plant before June 10.

Again, thank you so much! Will take a picture once soil is in boxes and area is tidy.


Re: Raised Beds

Postby mapletree » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:12 pm

hello my neighbors to the north!

i figured this thread was a good one to post my question/dilemma.....

i am mapletree...named for my grafted japanese mapletree i planted in my raised bed as a specimen tree a few years ago....well.....
it died.... dead...kaput....nada....as of late last year it was apparent it wasn't going to survive....my fault I'm sure...timing, location and care all my doing...
i also had live-forevers in the same bed and they didn't thrive .... hmmm.....moved them and they are now doing their thing....
so i pulled the mapletree and pondered what to put in its place....

i was at the nursery...and i saw it ...a black diamond crepe myrtle....its a beauty! with its almost black foliage and beautiful crimson red flowers ( when its a bit bigger )....
i knew this is what i wanted....i think...lmao...i dug out all the weeds and soil and mulch from the 8 ft round raised bed...i amended with 3 huge bags of garden soil and then placed my crepe myrtle.... i also added 3 lavender plants ( we use to make healing salve) ... it looks great...and if i ever figure out how to post a pic i will....

so....i know its not hardy enough for the way up north winters...but does anyone have any knowledge of this tree? i know it is drought tolerant...and to trim/prune in jan. and feb. for most blooms....but there ends my know how/ what of this tree....

any advice will be welcomed....

oh....i will NOT be changinging my screen name....i refuse to be called crappe myrtle! ROFLMBO....

hugs peace and happy gardening....

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Re: Raised Beds

Postby Laura » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:41 pm

Hey Mapletree .... I had to look up your tree.What a beauty !! .... I hope you have great luck with it.

Welcome to the site ... :D Can I ask where you live ?
New Brunswick,zone 4
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby conniepr » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:45 am

Mapletree, crepe myrtle is a beauty! If you're still looking for info, you should try the garden.org gardening forums (National Gardening Association). They are a very active group, mostly people in the states and I've seen them post about crepe myrtle before. I looked it up then and realised that it would not survive in my area. You could ask your question there. They have lots of different interest groups.
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Re: Raised Beds

Postby mapletree » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:08 pm

..I am in NW ohio...at the west end of lake Erie at the bottom of the Michigan border...an hour south of Windsor

I have received some advice from an avid gardener and appreciate all that everyone has offered.

I have begun to realize I don't have my gramma and my moms green thumbs...nor do I possess he desire to get dirty pulling weeds...
but I DO want to enjoy my raised beds around my front porch so I am hoping to awaken those lost genes or just learn to love it...

speculation and trial and error is my mantra it seems....

stay tuned for chapter 2 :lol:
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