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High Yield Gardening: Raised bed height

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3bebad2
Manteca, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 1, 2009
1:30 PM

Post #6205672

Hello, newbie here. I have decided to plant some veggies. And before I head out to Home Depot or Lowes
I was wondering how high do I need the raised bed to be? I noticed some used one board while others use
two boards for height. Which is preferred and why? Is it more for convenience or to get better soil?

D'
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 1, 2009
1:37 PM

Post #6205702

I used bricks for my raised bed(s), they are about 2' deep. Probably depends on what you are planting and the root system of those veggies. Some veggies are shallow-rooted, others need to go deeper. Am interested in what others have to say on this subject.

This is an old picture. I have broken this bed down and reconstructed it into 3 separate beds approx 2'x3' and still 2' deep - all are planted in garlic. I don't have a digital camera but took a roll of film yesterday and can post the pics later today of the garlic sprouts.

Thumbnail by MaryMcP
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ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

March 1, 2009
1:44 PM

Post #6205722

What do you intend to grow, and what type of soil will the raised bed be sitting on?
If you want nice long straight carrots and other root vegetables deeper soil is better.
If you are placing the raised bed on hard clay soil, (I hope you are breaking up the soil underneath the bed) then go with the deeper bed.

My experience is hard clay underneath will cause the beds to dry out sooner, as you do a deep watering of the top soil the water will peculate down and then drain off quickly.

I'm sure others will have their thoughts, but this will give you something to consider. Happy gardening.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

March 1, 2009
4:17 PM

Post #6206277

Ditto ladygardener1. We have beds as deep as 18" (the first ones we made) and as shallow as 6" (more recent). Because we have good underlying soil, they all do about the same. One raised bed sat on concrete - it was 18" deep and grew tomatoes well.

Frank

3bebad2
Manteca, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 1, 2009
4:32 PM

Post #6206330

I'l be starting out with the basics.
tomato w/basil, peppers w/onion, cucumbers w/beans and strawberries.
I'm trying the companion plants to see if it will make it easier on me.
I am totally, totally open to suggestions.

D' (zone 9)
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

March 1, 2009
4:45 PM

Post #6206384

3be, and others, you can add your garden zone to your name at the left if you click on your name, go to preferences and then location. It really helps when we can see you garden zone, Thanks.

Sounds like a great veggie garden, I need to get out my Companion plant Garden book, need to refresh my memory and maybe learn something new.

I have posted this picture on other threads but this is a pea/ bean support at Longwood Gardens last May.

Thumbnail by ladygardener1
Click the image for an enlarged view.

3bebad2
Manteca, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 1, 2009
4:56 PM

Post #6206442

On your bean support. These are really tall, do they need to be?
also, can cucumbers also trained upward?

D'
feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:58 PM

Post #6206452

My beds are about 10" high. After 3 years hopefully my amendments are working their way down and improving the clay soil underneath. :)

Pole beans can easily reach 8-12 feet so you will need high trellises for those. You can lash together 3-4 bamboo poles or those green landscape rods and let the beans climb those.

http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/photos/v/memberphotos/morgan/spring2008/IMG_8325-raisedbeds.jpg.html

I'm pretty much switching back to Bush beans this year. They are self-supporting and I have yet to find a true pole "analogue" to Dragon Tongue. (It's been said that for every bush bean variety there is a pole bean equivalent).


Cucumbers grow great up a trellis. They will easily grow 6-10 feet tall. I planted 2 mounds of 3-4 seeds about a foot apart and made a 3 foot wide trellis out of galvanized fence and 1x2s for them to climb.

http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/photos/v/memberphotos/morgan/spring2008/IMG_8295-poonakheera.jpg.html

This message was edited Mar 1, 2009 11:04 AM
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 1, 2009
5:03 PM

Post #6206481

Lady...love that support system - MUCH nicer looking than pvc.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2009
4:18 AM

Post #6209341

Clay soils are more difficult but raised beds made of dirt work great in my sandy loam. Method is called French Intensive or Double Dug raised gardening. For me it was no where near as labor intensive as the instructions I see on the internet. Classically, the beds are 4 feet wide but mine are under 3 and for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and everything else, that has been more than enough.

The garden is 30x40 and was carved out of a lawn. Dug narrow trenches on the edges and that keeps the grass out. Purslane appeared out of nowhere and fills the rows between the beds. It doesn't like shade so it grows right up to the tomatoes and stops.

Photos do not show it but the beds range from 18" to 24" or so in height. Photo on the right was taken at the end of July. By August, the plants topped the bamboo poles and there wasn't as much room to walk down the rows as it appears there would be.

Thumbnail by David_Paul
Click the image for an enlarged view.

David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2009
4:21 AM

Post #6209353

Garden after rototilling but before digging trenches to make raised beds. It was only a matter of walking from one end to the other, tossing shovels full of dirt to both sides, then leveling the beds off.

Thumbnail by David_Paul
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