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Old 05-08-2017, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
33,281 posts, read 24,096,624 times
Reputation: 44988

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Well, I think we've found one of the few sunny spots in our back yard so we're going to build a raised bed. The soil below the bed is actually pretty good but of course we're going to put in new soil for the bed. Suggestions on mixes of compost and soil, just good gardening soil made for veggies, etc?

Also, do you think that about 6 hours of sun is enough full sun each day? We actually have two spaces that might do - one gets about six hours of early sun but then the ground level is in complete shade from about 2 pm on. The other gets morning shade and then has afternoon sun from about noon till about 6 pm. We live in northeast Texas so the summers get REALLY hot.

Do we need to adjust our lawn sprinklers for whatever area? Right now they are set on 20 minutes of water three times a week.

I'm thinking pretty easy this year - tomatoes, peppers and yellow squash, maybe some strawberries. Suggestions, anyone? I think the space is going to be about 4 feet by 6 or 8 feet - we have some flexibility.

We plan to build a mesh and PVC pipe cover over the bed to keep out birds and rabbits. Has anyone done something like that? Suggestions on that as well are welcome!

I'm excited!!!!
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:41 AM
Status: "Not hardly" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
27,068 posts, read 31,815,463 times
Reputation: 32172
I would site it at the second spot for the high sun. If you put that bird guard on you can always have some shade material to cover it with.

I'd do a mixture of compost and soil. Maybe add some peat moss in if the soil has a high clay content.
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
33,281 posts, read 24,096,624 times
Reputation: 44988
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
I would site it at the second spot for the high sun. If you put that bird guard on you can always have some shade material to cover it with.

I'd do a mixture of compost and soil. Maybe add some peat moss in if the soil has a high clay content.
Thank you! Great ideas. I didn't even think about the peat moss, but that would hold in moisture, right? Without being hard like clay.

We do have clay in our soil but we're going to put a soil mix in the raised bed after we till the soil beneath the bed. Whoever owned the house before us did a great job of adding good soil to the top 4 inches or so of the entire yard and even more in the flower beds, so that's good. Otherwise we'd be sitting on a clay yard. Been there, done that.

So we should be working with at least 12 inches of good soil before the clay starts. I hope that's enough. It has been enough for our flower beds. Plants do well in them.
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:43 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
28,326 posts, read 35,376,354 times
Reputation: 44897
I'm a colossal failure, but you might want to go to the square foot gardening website, to get some ideas for soil mixtures, etc.
All the Basics of Square Foot Gardening | Mel Bartholomew, Creator of Square Foot Gardening
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:57 AM
Status: "Not hardly" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
27,068 posts, read 31,815,463 times
Reputation: 32172
Yes, peat moss will help hold in moisture when it's mixed in well along with loosening the soil.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:27 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
24,230 posts, read 40,979,093 times
Reputation: 21146
This weekend I planted my greenhouse raised beds. I tried the mesh about 5 years ago, and gave up on it. Deer and most birds don't like it, but crows will find a way in, Squirrels, raccoons and rats will chew through it. Zuccini requires pollination,
and the bees will not like the mesh either. You will probably need to hand pollinate with a small artist's brush when you have both male and female flowers open. Otherwise the little squash will shrivel up. My greenhouse is heavy plastic made for that purpose, stapled onto wood sitting on the ground. So far the only creatures making their way in have been slugs. The door and window have 1/2" wire screen.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:19 PM
 
2,575 posts, read 1,080,897 times
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Think about lining the beds with a liner that water can flow through, or at least line the bottom of the beds with a heavy layer of newspaper. I learned the hard way that weeds will come right up from the bottom of the raised bed! I now use black fabric flow-through liners from gardeners.com that fit inside the raised beds I bought from them.

I have found the "garden soil" sold at Home Depot, etc. is too heavy. But it's cheap. If you use it, add plenty of peat moss.

Have fun!
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:50 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
28,326 posts, read 35,376,354 times
Reputation: 44897
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriNJ View Post
Think about lining the beds with a liner that water can flow through, or at least line the bottom of the beds with a heavy layer of newspaper. I learned the hard way that weeds will come right up from the bottom of the raised bed! I now use black fabric flow-through liners from gardeners.com that fit inside the raised beds I bought from them.

I have found the "garden soil" sold at Home Depot, etc. is too heavy. But it's cheap. If you use it, add plenty of peat moss.

Have fun!
Unless your bed is very large, it's worth it to buy bagged garden soil with the goodies already in it, like Miracle Grow soil mix. It takes the guesswork out of it. When I made the SFG soil recipe, the vermiculite was very expensive, so I might just as well have bought the premixed stuff.

After the first year, you can add a couple of bags of peat and compost to top it off then fertilize separately.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,223 posts, read 2,844,820 times
Reputation: 1112
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Well, I think we've found one of the few sunny spots in our back yard so we're going to build a raised bed. The soil below the bed is actually pretty good but of course we're going to put in new soil for the bed. Suggestions on mixes of compost and soil, just good gardening soil made for veggies, etc?

Also, do you think that about 6 hours of sun is enough full sun each day? We actually have two spaces that might do - one gets about six hours of early sun but then the ground level is in complete shade from about 2 pm on. The other gets morning shade and then has afternoon sun from about noon till about 6 pm. We live in northeast Texas so the summers get REALLY hot.
Hi Kathryn! 8 or more hours of sun is generally considered best, but 6 hours is usually sufficient. Much less than that and your plants may still do okay, but you won't have the health and vigor of plants that enjoy more direct sun. If I were in your situation, I would prefer a spot with bright morning-early afternoon sun with afternoon shade rather than morning shade and afternoon sun. Also, the general consensus is that mornings are generally sunnier than afternoons because of building cloud cover and thunderstorms, so it's best to take advantage of an area that gets more morning sun than afternoon sun, if at all possible. My neighbor lives by that rule and has a beautiful garden with about 5-6 hours of morning-early afternoon sun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Do we need to adjust our lawn sprinklers for whatever area? Right now they are set on 20 minutes of water three times a week.
Ideally, you would tap into an existing sprinkler zone and run drip irrigation to your raised beds. This is extremely simple and alleviates overhead watering which can cause all sorts of issues if you're not mindful. I would avoid adjusting sprinklers if you can. Do some research on emitters with varying volumes (i.e. gallon per hour, etc.) and set your system accordingly. Home Depot and other home improvement stores carry tons of pieces and parts related to drip irrigation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I'm thinking pretty easy this year - tomatoes, peppers and yellow squash, maybe some strawberries. Suggestions, anyone? I think the space is going to be about 4 feet by 6 or 8 feet - we have some flexibility.
I think you would do well with any/all of those, but bear in mind that squash plants can get enormous (easily 4-5' across and 3-4' tall). I wouldn't put more than one in that bed, and I'd plant it in a far corner, especially if you're planting other things with/near it. Keep in mind how tall the plants will be once they mature and know how the angle of the sun changes throughout the day prior to planting. You'll want to be sure taller plants won't completely shade out the shorter plants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
We plan to build a mesh and PVC pipe cover over the bed to keep out birds and rabbits. Has anyone done something like that? Suggestions on that as well are welcome!

I'm excited!!!!
That sounds awesome and I am sure there are plans all over the place online for easy ways to do just that. I just haphazardly throw bird netting over my containers to keep rabbits out - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I find that if I can keep it elevated slightly above the plants it works very well. If I just lay it over the top the bunnies will just walk right onto it. Lesson learned. We have a little juvenile male that is so cute and inquisitive, but he has nibbled my radish seedlings to absolute nothingness. I chase him off every chance I get, but the minute I head back inside he comes right back in. I must not be very intimidating.

I hope you'll share your garden with us - it's so much fun to see what everyone else is doing!

Cheers!
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Old 05-13-2017, 01:06 PM
 
2,575 posts, read 1,080,897 times
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Kathryn, since you are in Texas... remember that tomatoes are very THIRSTY plants and need plenty of water. Although the fruits love the sun and heat in order to mature, the stems and leaves will start to wilt or curl if they get even a little dry. I found that out last year.
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