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Base design borrowed heavily from Qinx. What do you think?
The large raised beds will be built with wooden boards. I'm debating about repurposing some cinderblocks (not a big fan of the way they leak). A square foot gardening technique will be used. And if it looks a little funny to have okra in the same bed with onions/garlic, that's due to the changing planting seasons here in Houston/Pearland. Vegetable soil will be obtained from a local supplier and appropriate amendments added.
I wouldn't grow the pumpkins and the watermelons together. They both vine like crazy, and the pumpkins are HUGE and LONG. Also, if you get cucumber beetles they'll both be overtaken and eaten like crazy. Squash vine borers love pumpkins, so you'll have to watch out for those.
Are these raised beds? Are the beds existing or to be created? I have 270 sq ft. of raised beds and the cost of the soil has been significant. I've created them over several years or I would not be able to afford it. I don't have top soil at my garden spot - just solid rock about 1 1/2 to 2 " down. The covering is mix of soil and shale.
If you are creating the beds from scratch, I'd contact the county extension agent, if you state has one, and see if there is a vendor of compost in bulk in your area. That was my greatest find. I buy it by the truck load when creating new beds. Peat moss is also cheap and goes far.
Vermiculite is the impossible ingredient for me. It's cost prohibitive in 8qt bags. I'm gonna go commercial this spring - so I'm going to buy peat moss and vermiculite by the pallet. I'm going to open a small garden center just for raised bed gardeners. No one here will carry what we need and I can't be the only person needing these things.
NICE DRAWING for your plan. Have you read Carrots Love Tomatoes? It's a new book I've been trying to apply this year - its not easy. It's on companion planting.
Pearland has blackland prairie clay. And lots of it. So yes, they are all going to be raised beds. They don't exist anywhere yet except for my mind and the computer. From experience, I know that each bed will take about a yard and a half of material. Luckily, Houston has lots of good bulk material suppliers, including Nature's Way, which has good stuff. Pricey, but good. I'm guesstimating that the entire project, including irrigation, materials, supports, and soil will be around $1,000. I have a pretty good seed stash already laid in, so that doesn't really factor into the cost.
I did read Carrots love Tomatoes, but it is a little bit impractical for the way we grow in Houston. I even have a carrot-tomato interplanting that I was running a trial on this spring. Not a huge success, especially since I am going to pull the tomatoes through the summer to get a fall crop.
I am thinking of more of a phased approach, have the plan in place and in mind, but do sections at a time. I am taking on some side work for my dad to save for all of this.
Phase I: Build and install all the frames
Phase II: Fill half the beds with soil (which will be the most expensive task)
Phase III: Fill other half of the beds with soil
Phase IV: Install drip irrigation. I already have a basic setup and just need to buy expansion parts.
Phase V: Install trellises, supports, etc.
Phase VI: Plant out.
If your beds are 6" high, your right. You will need 24 cu ft for each 4x12 bed, and 8 cu ft for the 4x4 beds. That's rough 0.9 cu yd of soil mix for the 4x12 and .3 cu yd for the 4x4. I personally have gone with 8" high beds. They seem to offer more of a buffer for watering. I find that the 6" beds really need water in a timely fashion. Plants generally don't survive vacation.
My preference for the 4x12's, is to have a divider every 4 ft or just putting 3 - 4x4 beds together. It allows universal accessories, like vertical towers, to be used through out. Also, you can build cold frame inserts or critter screens easier. My garden is a mix of 4x8, 4x12, 4x4, and 3.5 x 7 beds. I plan to redo with all 4x4 beds. Some will be grouped to make 4x12+ beds that have 4' divisions.
I plan on making my sfg grids to fit the 4x4's as well. I am also considering making cages that will fit the 4x4 beds to raise rabbits just for their droppings. I'll try to keep it gender specific so I don't have more rabbits than I need at one time. Just rotate the rabbit cage(s) over the bed for a month or so and then work that in.
I have the opposite climate issues. My growing season is only 3 months long. I plan on having my beds spaced so that I can move hoop houses over them and then put the cold frame covers on and raise the winter veggies that Elliot Coleman talks about.
Looks like you know what you are doing though. I wish you the best with your growing venture.
I have lots of space. By 4x4 I actually mean 4'x4' beds, or beds that have a board running across at 4' intervals. The important thing for the universal accessories is that your inside dimensions be the same - and that the foot print of the outer ledge be the same so you can just move stuff around without having different sizes.
The idea is not original. I got it from GardenGirlTv.com. I'm not urban, but have some issues like the absence of top soil where i garden. I also want to be self sufficient at some point in the next two or three years. Raise what I eat, etc.
I do use larger walking spaces between my beds. I am somewhat handicapped, the extra space makes it easy for me to get up and down and turn around.
Been doing a lot of learning! Knowing the soil amount comes from experience. I currently have 1 10" deep bed that is 10'x5' (50 sq ft.) and that one took 1.5 cu yds of soil to fill up. The two smaller, shallower beds obviously less. I do like the deeper beds, especially for raising the root veggies. Good thoughts about standardization and subdividing. I'll keep that in mind.
HI everyone, just found this site and am setting up for meat/fertilizer rabbits and some RB planting myself.
I found a great, simple planning program at MotherEarthNews.com. The program is free for 30 days, lets you put in your planter sizes and layout easily and has lots of veggies and flowers with their footprints marked on the printable plot.
I laid out several plans in 15 min. Still revising as I keep learning so much.
Hi everyone, I've been out digging for a garden and hunting feed and seed supply in North San Diego County. Gymgirl, be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits. Greenhouse_gal is right, spread the poop and eat the babies (16 week olds).
Sorry I didn't respond faster, I was in a Green Plumbing class this evening, will make it easier to get my rainwater catchment system approved by my City permit dept.
Yeah they taste like chicken only milder, very little flavor because there is so little fat in the meat, but it's tender and takes sauces and spices easily.
sapphirestar19~ i am so jealous of the amount of space you have for your garden. i just built and am in the process of filling a 6x8 bed which takes up most of my back yard. home depot has some pretty cheap lumber 2x10's at 16' of length are about 15 dollars. two of those would build one of your beds. you would just cut 4' of the end and it would become one of your withs. if my math is correct you could knock out all your beds with 18 boards. also i got a pretty complex irrigation system for 100 dollars here : http://www.IrrigationDirect.com They have a huge selection of kits for a good price. mine was a med sized starer kit and i added on an other 30 bux worth of goodies. good luck with your build you can watch mine grow here http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1169168/ ill have my drip system installation pix up this week end.
Girl, go look up Tapla's raised bed soil mix. It'll save you $$$$ incorporating the pine bark fines (PBFs or double grind pine bark) into your mix. I bought 1/2 yard for his container mix for my self-watering containers and filled 18 units using only 1 LARGE bag of MG potting mix and one 4 cu ft bag of course perlite. In the past, I could fill THREE eBuckets with that large bag of MG potting mix. The 1/2 yard was $18 at the dirt yard. A full yard is $30.
Tapla's Raised Bed Recipe calls for
5 parts PBFs
1 Part Turface (the absorbent stuff used on the baseball fields
1 Part Builders Sand
Compare the price of his recipe to what you're currently thinking of using. LMK, cause I'll be doing the same thing you are, in preparation for the fall/winter '11 garden.
The beds are my summer project. At the moment, we are building fences for my fertilizer machines (aka the horses). Also have to get the chicken coop up so that my organic pest control is in place. The previous owners had a garden area that we are going to clean out and put my tomatoes and peppers in until I can get the raised beds built.