Looks like I'll FINALLY be building my very first RAISED BEDS this weekend. Two - 4x8' beds side by side, running NORTH-SOUTH. There's room for a 3rd bed, 4x10', maybe next season.
I need help determining where the veggies go in these beds. Never planted in ground before. Been doing the eBuckets since 2008.
Could use your expertise on the plant layout. I've included two blank bed layout grids with a list of the veggies I'd like to grow this season. If you could mark it up and repost for me, I'd sure appreciate it. Or, just number the grids somehow and post where the veggies should go.
Linda, the eBucket Queen, who's about to relinquish part of her crown, as she's still not ready to give up ALL the eBuckets just yet...They have served her well!
Well...I would put the tomatoes on the ends of the beds...4 on the end of each bed.
I put the taller plants such as eggplants and peppers in the center...and work from there with the smaller plants to the outside.
I know this isn't much help but...maybe somebody else can pitch in some help too.
I know folks like to plant the garden east to west but I found that sometimes it benefits some of the smaller plants to have a little shade in the evening = such as squash especially where it really gets hot.. Just a little note while you set it all up.
Sorry, I live by my GPS in the cell phone! I am seriously directionally challenged.
In my drawing boxes A and B are running north and south, and all the boxes will be at the southwest end of the yard. Box C is oriented east-west. EAST is at the very bottom of each scheme.
Due NORTH is to the right...
I built Box A last night. Building Box B in a few. Progress, FINALLY!
One more question. I'm about to rip all the buckets that I grew the cole crops in. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The raised beds will be filled with a RB mix Tapla has suggested.
5 parts pine bark fines
2 parts each sharp builders sand, Turface Pro League, and Vermiculite, and
1 part compost/reed sedge peat.
I just used a variation of this for all the fall/wtr containers and had my best crop EVER. The medium is fast draining, highly oxygenated/aerated, yet hold enough moisture. The plants took off in that stuff.
All this background to ask if I can use the mix the brassicas grew in to grow the tomatoes, bells, eggplants, okra, cukes and squash. It's basically a "crop rotation to avoid disease spread" question. I had NO diseased plants in this medium.
How deep are your beds? I recommend 16 - 18 inches because shallow roots can cook under our hot Texas Summers.
About your soil...a light fluffy soil is good in your buckets where they depend on wicking water from the bottom reservoir. The soil in your raised bed should be of a consistency that will retain moisture but not become water logged, else you will spend all your time watering. Think hanging baskets with a light fluffy soil. It's hard to keep them watered enough to grow plants successfully.
Don't give up on ALL your buckets. Keep doing what you are doing and grow your gardening experience. I use a mix of growing alternatives such as pots, raised box beds, boxed-in wheat straw bales, and dirt rows with furrows. Each method has it own set of requirements to make growing and fruitful production successful.
A few bullets...southern peas (cow peas) are space hogs for a few good meals...one well fed squash plant can cover a 4' x 4' area...pepper plants benefit from afternoon shade in hot summer.
Thanks for the tips! The boxes will be 11" high, but they'll be sitting on some fertile ground. The site originally had a 10 x 14' Arrow shed on it. When it was torn down, I immediately covered the soil with a thick layer of heavy cardboard, followed by a layer of weed block, followed by a sheet of plywood. The buckets sit in the plywood.
I wasn't planning on tilling the site, hoping that the worms have churned it up another 5" below that cardboard. If necessary, I can til it once, for this first go round. Don't intend to til past the first time.
We've had so much rain on the weekends (PRAISE GOD for RAIN in Houston!) that the soil is moist. I truly don't wanna til up mud.
Lemme know whether tilling is necessary as I don't wanna kill all the worms.
I so have enough leg room to add another 2x4, which would give me a box depth of 14.5". But, such tall, massive boxes would overpower my yard. Also I intend on facing the boxes with leftover cedar fence pickets. Two pickets on edge = 11". I built the boxes so I wouldn't have to cut the pickets!
This weekend (3 days, 'cept I was sick all day Saturday, so big whoop, huh?) I ripped 28 buckets of seedlings, and harvested the pine bark fines (PBF)mix. It's still in tact for the most part, so I'm gonna cut half of the old PBF with the new in the Raised Bed mix formula.
It took three of us to move the bed into place -- should've been four men! I faced it on the outside with the extra cedar fence pickets I had, so it matches. Nice.
My neighbor tilled up the launching pad to a depth of about 8-10 inches. The frame is 11", so I've got a minimum of 18" depth. Suh-weet!
Many of the buckets are heading to Atlanta, Ga., via trailer hookup. I will keep a few, since those water-hogging plants (eggplants & bell peppers) love to drink at their own pace, and the reservoirs seem to do the trick for them.
I can't stop looking out my window at the bed! Just a completely empty box sitting in some tilled up soil, but it is beautiful in my sight!
Will build the 2nd box and have them both filled by the weekend, to receive my tomato plants!
Here's an AWFUL pic I took yesterday evening at dusk, on my phone with almost no juice...
I'll post a better pic later.
P.S. After reviewing the layout, this bed is oriented EAST-WEST, with the back fence on the west side. The wind will blow across the bed(s) from the North-South...It's the same orientation as the two bucket pads were...
You should post on the square-foot/high-yield gardening forum. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/highyield/all/. Those folks will have a better idea of how to manage your space and the crops to get the best results. The way I plant, I would have room for about 8 tomato plants in your raised beds, with no room for anything else.