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High Yield Gardening: Raised bed along fence line- ideas?

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JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 25, 2011
12:34 PM

Post #8449682

I need to build a raised bed along our fence line. The fence is comprised of wood cedar planks- pretty standard. I know I can't just pile dirt against the fence and then frame the bed on the front and on the sides with other boards. Any ideas? Should I just build a complete frame and just have it flush against the fence?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 25, 2011
1:34 PM

Post #8449773

I'll be doing the same thing in a couple weeks for my fall raised beds. I'm thinking I will build a complete frame and bring it out at least 2 feet from my new cedar fence that will be going on shortly...if for no reason other than to access the beds from the fence side...but, mostly, to not damage my new fence prematurely!
OffTheGrid
Superior, MT

March 25, 2011
5:04 PM

Post #8450207

Last year I built a raised bed against a fence. I made a 3-sided box. After filling it with dirt I realized I had to attach it to the fence so it wouldn't tip when I was digging in it. Had to add the 4th side. Do a 4-sided box while it is easy!
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 27, 2011
6:54 PM

Post #8454550

Here's what I have so far. I even employed the "wet-cardboard-box-with-holes" method too, in a bid to kill the grass.

Thumbnail by JohnCrichton75
Click the image for an enlarged view.

yehudith
silver spring, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 28, 2011
6:11 AM

Post #8455283

I'm getting ready to put one in along the fence aswell. I'm using the "mini-growbed" from Gardener's supply. I've found they work real well for me. They're nice and deep and I can put them together without having to beg my husband for help. I'm going to put it right up against the fence and sink three 6foot stakes in it and run netting or maybe wire, but I think netting for cucumbers and squash and Japanese melons if the seeds ever get here. Then I'll fill it with planting mix. I'll be able to get quite alot out of it. I'm going to add two more of them around the deck as well to get more vining crops in.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 28, 2011
6:40 AM

Post #8455365

John,
Add some layers of newspapers along the exposed dirt edges on the inside of your box, to avoid breakthrough grass and weeds.

My cardboard sheets were big enough to extend to the outside of the raised beds, so I didn't have to worry about that.

Linda
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 28, 2011
6:57 AM

Post #8455419

JohnC75 That looks perfect. you may want to consider making it twice as deep though. By doing this now before you fill with soil, it will be easier to nail or screw braces from the inside of the bed tying the two sections together . What ever you soil is will settle an inch or two. Plants grow best with minimum 12" soil. Some require more. Some veggies will grow in 6" but with 12" or more you leave yourself room to grow more stuff.

I double stack 7 X 8 R/R ties on their edges leaving approx 16" deep bed. I usually end up with 14 - 15" depth. I have been very satisfied with this depth.
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 28, 2011
7:37 AM

Post #8455547

I've never heard of the "mini growbeds" so I need to check them out to see if they are something I might be interested in using.

I have been pretty successful growing peppers and okra with a 6" depth, but the underlying soil had been worked pretty well so that probably helped. That will not be the case with these beds so I will have to consider adding another stack. I can't recall the last time it rained so the ground is hard to work right now.

Thanks for the advice and comments, everyone.
yehudith
silver spring, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 28, 2011
8:04 AM

Post #8455614

Gardener's has the "Grow Beds" in several sizes. They're the cheapest raised bed kits I've seen. Nothing fancy, but they work and they hold up. If you want to use row cover with hoops though you'll have to get it from Johnny's seeds to get it wide enough. The row cover from Gardener's doesn't work.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 28, 2011
10:01 AM

Post #8455911

John,
I've grown huge okra and eggplants in my eBuckets which have a soil depth of around 11". The roots I dug out were consistently no deeper than 9"-10". If you have a chance to break up that soil before you fill the beds, it would help, cause once the cardboard breaks down, you'll be in good shape beneath that level.

If you water in that soil with some dish washing liquid (acts like a soil softener) before you fill the bed, that should help too. Also, add a layer of organic material on the cardboard, then chuck in some worms. They'll churn up that hard soil in no time!

BTW, How far are you from Maas Nursery in Seabrook?
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 28, 2011
10:58 AM

Post #8456029

Maas Nursery is a nice little drive for me because of all the towns (traffic lights) I have to go through, but it is a drive I don't mind making.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 28, 2011
11:21 AM

Post #8456058

Gardener's 10" deep "Grow Beds"
http://www.gardeners.com/Grow-Beds/34-381RS,default,pd.html?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=Google&utm_term=Grow_Beds&SC=XNET8119&gclid=CNSmyOfv8acCFYS8KgodXV2caA

Corey
cornish2175
Charleston, SC
(Zone 8b)

April 2, 2011
3:52 AM

Post #8466337

Putting your beds flush to a fence is good ONLY if your beds are 2 ft. wide, otherwise you can't reach what is growing on fenceline without stepping on soil. Our beds (raised) are 4x8. Wish I had moved them out a few feet more but did not think of it at the time. I am still able to use the fence for trellis vegetables and flowers but only plant in 4 foot sections so I can reach them on all sides. DH built RB's out of cedar- 3 boards 8' long, 1 cut in half. He fastened together with angle brackets. Has held up for 3 years as long as I remember to keep my feet off them. We only feed the 2 of us but always have enough for the neighbors. By using a modified square foot gardening technique the 4 beds plus the fence produce a great deal. Plus, as it is in the front I think it looks good also. Susan

Thumbnail by cornish2175
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2011
5:18 PM

Post #8485925

Here's what I have completed for this section of fence so far:

8'x2'x7" in back of photo
10'x2'12" in the middle
8'x2'x7" in the foreground

Thumbnail by JohnCrichton75
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2011
5:29 PM

Post #8485947

There are 8 cucumber plants in the back row starting at the top of the pic (2 per sq/ft but they came from a 6-pack where each cell contained 2 plants per cell.) I have 4 sq/ft of cucumbers planted on that back row. The other plants are Clemson Spineless okra. To the right of the okra (the 2 empty sq/ft in foreground) are corn which were sown on Friday. I planted 4 corn per sq/ft. I will not thin-out.

Hopefully this will be high-yield but it may end up low-yield, we'll see.

Thumbnail by JohnCrichton75
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2011
5:42 PM

Post #8485991

Also in the previous photo are Provider Bush beans, 2 sq/ft worth with 9 seeds per sq/ft/ You can tell where I watered those 2 sq/ft.

The remaining 4 sq/ft at the top of the pic will be used for sweet potatoes. I will mound more dirt to give them the extra room.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 10, 2011
6:45 PM

Post #8486182

Looks good!
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 11, 2011
9:23 PM

Post #8489155

Yes, it does look good JohnCricton75!

cornish2175, we made the mistake of building our 4'x8' bed next to a fence. We do have 4 sides to the bed, but didn't leave any additional room for walking back there. It is quite a balancing act for me to reach back into the middle of the bed. On the bright side, it's great to have trellis on the back fence for tying up the tomatoes. But yes, we should have made just 4'x4' beds so we could reach everything. Oh well!
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 12, 2011
9:28 AM

Post #8490181

Thanks, all. Next up is a drip irrigation system or maybe a soaker hose on a timer or something. Better start researching before the heat picks up...

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