Veggie gardening in raised beds.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

I have a question for you. First an explanation - I've gardened in raised beds for years due to our sandy soil, gophers and moles. The beds are 2" x 12" rough redwood with a 2"x4" mitered cap on the top edge of the beds. The beds are reinforced in the corners, put together with 5" screws and wired with aviary wire underneath. The beds are 5'W x 12'L; 5'W x 15'L and 3'W x 10'L. I built the last 3 beds 2 years ago and have 6 beds to replace soon. The 6 beds have been around for about 18 years now and are showing their age. The replacement beds will be the 12ft. and 15ft. beds.

I'm feeling my age (bad back and arthritis) and am wondering if anyone has built beds higher than 12 inches? If you did, how high did you go and what kind of reinforcement did you use on the sides? Any suggestions/cautions for building the taller beds would be appreciated.

Barb

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Barb, mine were built with cinder block and they are three blocks high. They are on both sides of the property and run with the taller block wall. I have two. The are 3'Hx 4W x 40'L Then a level wider/thinner block was placed on top of the blocks to make a seat. Now these were built by concrete block wall people but were not that expensive. Sharon, Las Vegas.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Hi WormsLoveSharon,

Sounds like you have some great beds. Is the 3 foot height comfortable for you to work at even though you are seated? I'm assuming that you sit while working your beds. The 4'W is a nice width too. I need to cut the width of my 5'W beds down. It was fine while I could stoop, squat and bend but times have changed. I perch along the top rail of my 12" beds but the back complains greatly as do the knees. . . .just too much of a bend. Had a double knee replacement 2 years ago and now I can't squat like I used too.

Thanks a million for sharing.
Barb

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Barb, In the book, Square-foot Gardening there is an explanation for building waist high beds for those gardening in wheel chairs. Pretty complete guide. Cam

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Hi Cam,

Just checked my garden books. . . . .thought I had that book but it turns out I don't. I'll look up a copy and read about building waist high beds. Thank you for the suggestion.

Barb

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Barb. Sometimes I sit, sometimes I stand and sometimes I get right into the bed, sit down and dig away. But I have to use a step stool to get into the bed. But the hardest part is getting back out and not falling out. I have a balance problem so getting out of the bed is the hardest part. So make sure if your bed is wide, make sure you can get to it from all sides.

This is a photo of my holding garden. Holding garden is where I plant something that is not ready to go into the main landscape.

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Hi Sharon,

What a lovely bed. . . . .and such a good idea. I wish my area wasn't so unchangeable and I was 10 years younger. I'd do the same with concrete block too.

I'll remember your advice about the width of the beds. Thank you again and wish you and your family a wonder and healthy New Year.

Barb

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

well Barb, I am 68 but I plan on gardening until at least 88 and then I will slow down. LOL.

Happy New Year to you and your family and friends. Sharon.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Hi Sharon,

Isn't it wonderful that we can do the things that are important to us. I never planned on yelping at my age ( 72 ) but have developed severe sciatic pain, brought on I suppose, from all the things that I've done over the years that I really shouldn't have done, and also brought on in part by arthritis. Anyway I still try to do everything but I have noticed that I've slowed down a bit because of the pain.

If you are like me, you must derive a wonderful sense of accomplishment from the things you are able to do. I know that I do. Over the years I've had a lot of fun with my different projects. Some projects have been from born out of necessity, others have been from the sheer challange of doing whatever it is that I've set out to do. I plan to keep on going until I'm forced to a screetching halt.

Looks like the rain is coming in. . . .Happy New Year Sharon.

Barb

North Fork, CA(Zone 7b)

Hi y'all, I was just reading all the entries here today and thought you might like this recent article Gardening without pain.

http://www.examiner.com/gardening-in-fresno/gardening-without-pain


There is an exceptional video a woman did, (with a pretty jazzy music background), on digging techniques I didn't know. I think you'll like it! Digging usually does me in each spring if it isn't from lifting rocks, but I'm trying this this year.

Sue Langley
http://sierrafoothillgarden.wordpress.com/

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Barb, how is your sciatic??? I am just hitting the garden but I have two laborers and they have been here for a week and they will be here for another week. They are both in their mid 30s with great work habits and strong backs. Then I can garden and not kill myself. Let me know how you are doing.

My sister lived in Carpendria (sp) right above the polo fields but divorce has her moved to Ventura. But you have several garden centers just south of Santa Barbara that are to die for. I tried to get there the last time I was in Santa Barbara but I had two teenage granddaughters in the SUV and they did not understand my quest.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Hi Sharon, I hope you come across this post. I have not been on the computer very much these last 3-4 years. The Sciatic, well had back surgery then rehab for 4 months and miles & miles of pain. My hubby had been very ill and passed away early this year. We also took/take care of an elderly lady with dementia who is not doing well at all. That said I decided that I needed to plant my garden once again and finally planted a fall garden after a 4 year hiatus. It feels good to get out there and play in the dirt again. Picked my first batch of lettuce and Swiss Chard and shared my Spinach with my resident Squirrel.
Is your sister still in Ventura? Sorry you didn't make the garden centers. I just stopped today to pick up some fish emulsion. Aren't those strong backs great. I have one who comes whenever he has time and really appreciate all the help he gives me.
Take care and have a great Thanksgiving.
Barb

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Barb, I just got on my computer this evening. I had no time yesterday. My sister, Barbara Jo, lives in Ventura. I am so thrilled that you got your winter vegs planted.

I am so sorry to hea about your hubby. Mine (83) is declining and soon I will need someone to help me with him.

Such a similar story. I had back surgery in March after tangling with a young child (about 12) on a bike in the greenbelt. Smashed my 12 vertebrate. Long story and two different hospitals and two different stays about a week apart. I was doing really great until I got a little cocky and caught my foot in the bed sheets while getting out of bed and set off my sciatica. Pure torture while having many x rays and c scan and MRI and pain doctor gave me a shot in my last disk and pain has been gone for over two months but back still gets tired. I need to strengthen my back muscles but I was never sent to rehab. I did have rehab at home but it was minimal.

I still have two garden helpers and I could no longer live in this house or property if I could not afford them. I have nothing planted for winter but still have many green tomatoes but suppose to get down in mid 30s by the end of next week so I need to do something quick.

Keep in touch. And thank you, we did have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a day after because we do not do Black Friday.

Sharon

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

Sharon so glad to hear from you. I'm sorry to hear about your hubby. My husband had been ill with COPD for a number of years and seemed to be doing ok with extra oxygen. He suddenly turned bad at the beginning of this year. He was in the hospital for two months, they were trying everything but his lungs just gave out.
Sounds like you have had a bad round with your back. If I could suggest anything it would be to get your doctor to prescribe physical therapy for you. They can help and teach at the same time and you would be able to continue on your own at home. I know it sounds good and doesn't always work that way. Loring and I had promised the husband of a dear friend of ours that we would look after his wife if anything happened to him. He subsequently committed suicide due to Alzheimer's.
I take care of our friend now and she suffers from Senile Dementia. She is 92 and counting. Me, I have the flu again and ignore my back when I can. Second time in less than 2 months with this flu bug. My sister and brother in laws came over from Vegas and were suppose to come up today but I cancelled the visit due to the flu.
Do you ever do Fried Green Tomatoes? My neighbor said her hubby made a big batch of them with their green tomatoes. Years ago I tried making Green Tomato Relish. My mother in law had given me a wonderful recipe but I can't remember how it turned out and haven't had any green tomatoes to try it again.
I ordered some wire Cloches for my lettuce plants. My bushy tailed friend is just thumbing his/her nose at me. The temperature has dipped so much that everything is just sitting and sulking now. But give it a day or two and our daytime temps will be back up there. Quite windy today. We had a wonderful rain. I think I'll have to break out the row covers any day now since the nighttime temps have dropped so much.
Better close, I think I've rattled on enough. Take care.
Barb

Post a Reply to this Thread

You must log in and subscribe to Dave's Garden to post in this thread.
BACK TO TOP