View Full Version : Raised bed question

03-15-2009, 08:13 PM
OK, I am a believer in the benefits of a raised garden bed--you control the soil, it is easier to reach, the soil warms more quickly, etc.

I had raised beds last year, but they were only six inches. I think they needed to be deeper. Even last year, I wanted raised beds a la The Garden Girl, but didn't get to it. So.....

We have built the first beds. I want to have two stacked together so it is easy to reach. Hub wonders if there is any other benefit. He sees the soil in the bottom being "wasted" in such a tall bed.

Any input? I have not filled them yet, but wanted to hear other opinions before I started. Thanks!!

03-15-2009, 08:50 PM
My two cents...

Now some of my mentors may disagree with me, but this is my opinion.

The gardeners comfort is very important, and I remember the pictures of Eliot Coleman, bent over at a 90 degree angle, and that is not for me. That extra ten inches makes a big difference.

I think that that the deeper beds allow for less watering. It is my opinion that the roots will reach further down and find water on extra hot days and it reduces the maintenance labor.

I grow potato and I think when starting the plants it is always better to get the seed potato as deep as possible.

I suppose that local conditions matter here as well, and how much you actually get out there and water. I building a full irrigation system so I can travel a bit more this year.

Hope that helps!

03-16-2009, 08:58 AM
A lot of vegetable crops have root systems that are at least a foot deep (tomatoes, peppers, parsnips, celery, are just a few examples) - many will go up to 2 feet and would prefer to do so if the conditions are conducive for it. There are exceptions - lettuces etc that do fine with a shallower root system - but most of us do not confine our selves to just "salad" crops in our gardens.

03-16-2009, 10:20 AM
I went 16 inches high and although it costs more to fill, it is worth it to me for all the reasons previously stated. However, if money is tight, go 6 inches and add more later. Or double dig like KitsapFG (see her blog dor details). Good luck!

03-16-2009, 05:01 PM
I am making the really tall beds like Patti's at my daughter's house this year...she needs them taller to keep her dog out. In order to save money, we are going to fill the bottom layer with used straw, cardboard, shredded newspaper and any other compostable material we can find. The produce department at the grocery store said we could pick up lots of waste if we want. This will eventually compost in place. We will then add a nice layer of finished compost and vermiculite mixture to the top planting surface. Kim

03-16-2009, 05:30 PM
Aspen, If you will stop for just a moment, and take a detached and objective look at patti's past video's,you will realize that her system of gardening is far more than just a raised bed technique.At any one time depending on your rotation schedule any particular bed could be a compost pile , a chicken or rabbit tractor or a planted bed utilizing square foot gardening and vertical growing techniques.This is state of the art urban permaculture in every sense of the word. To put things in perspective, I am currently composting three 4by8 beds with over 75 garden bags of oak leaves and several hundred pounds of rabbit and horse manure. You are not going to do this inbeds that are 6 inches deep.

03-17-2009, 04:55 AM
I am sold on the taller beds. It was certainly my preference, anyway. I plan on building three more in the next couple of weeks. That should provide me with enough garden space for everything I want to do this year!

03-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Thanks Kevin, it is "state of the art urban permaculture" that makes me very happy while I listen to the ossified brains at the Scripps network (where I am today, with my happy face on).