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Old 04-10-2012, 09:49 AM
 
132 posts, read 768,589 times
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I inherited a 4 ft x 8 ft raised vegetable bed when I purchased my house. The bed was in a bad shape: mostly clay soil and overgrown with weeds.

This spring, I removed all weeds and dug out the clay soil. I plan to fill the raised bed with fresh, good soil.

However as I removed all the existing soil - went nearly 1 feet deep into the bed - I found lots of roots at the bottom. It is impossible to remove all roots.

1. Does it make sense to put a layer of weed-control landscape fabric at the **bottom** of the pit in the vegetable bed before I put fresh soil on top?
2. And won't that constrain the roots of the vegetables I plan to grow?
3. Should I be content with mulching & putting weed-control fabric on top of the fresh soil?
4. Is there anything else I should do to prepare the raised vegetable bed?

I don't want to go through another massive digging exercise next Spring.

Request the gardening gurus on this forum to please help!
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 21,634,665 times
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most vegatables dont root deeply so as long as the bed is at least 6 inchs youll be fine for all but root crops (carrots need closer to 8+ inches depending on the veriety)

i currently have 4 raised beds, i plant usng sqft methods but not strictly so. when i built my beds i put down a layer of cardboard ontop of the grass, then set my raised bed walls onto of the cardboard, cardboard smothers the grass and weeds underneath providing a barrier and retains moisutre pretty well.
dumped rabbit poop and good quality compost and peat into the beds, mixed well and tada, done. eachweek the beds get sprinkled with fresh rabbit poop from my bunnies (rabbit poop is safe without aging), and each spring the beds will get topped up with lots of fresh rabbit and compost and some peat) over the years the cardboard will eventually break down and compost itself at which time itll be time to empty out the beds completly and restart

weed block should work fine too, but ive actaully had weeds break throug weed block so i don tbother spending the rextra when i can get boxes for free.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:37 PM
 
132 posts, read 768,589 times
Reputation: 155
Great idea. Thanks for the inputs foxywench
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,308 posts, read 35,214,331 times
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I would just get a gardening rake and really diturb and annoy everything in there with great malice, then forget the landscape fabric and lay down a few layers of newspaper before backfilling with the new dirt. Should do the trick.

You're going to get weeds in your raised beds no matter what. They will require some maintenance no matter what. That's part of the fun in gardening; it's never on autopilot.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:46 AM
 
Location: North Texas
24,577 posts, read 34,238,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimboburnsy View Post
I would just get a gardening rake and really diturb and annoy everything in there with great malice, then forget the landscape fabric and lay down a few layers of newspaper before backfilling with the new dirt. Should do the trick.

You're going to get weeds in your raised beds no matter what. They will require some maintenance no matter what. That's part of the fun in gardening; it's never on autopilot.
I agree. I built raised vegetable beds last year and now I have crape myrtles trying to grow in them. I also regularly pull out oak and pecan seedlings. Just part of the fun.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,345,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxywench View Post
most vegatables dont root deeply so as long as the bed is at least 6 inchs youll be fine for all but root crops (carrots need closer to 8+ inches depending on the veriety)

i currently have 4 raised beds, i plant usng sqft methods but not strictly so. when i built my beds i put down a layer of cardboard ontop of the grass...
Thanks for the tips, Foxy. I ran out of room in my flowerbeds, so I'm trying raised beds for the first time this year. I'm using the same method with cardboard at the bottom and soil on top. It is great to know it will work!


I got boxes from my copious Amazon purchases and the local grocery store. I was worried about the decomposition, though so I put something on the boxes called compost starter before I put on the topsoil.

The only question I have now is I got topsoil instead of garden soil, and it is in clods. I'm practically a cripple now because of all my gardening LOL so I'm wondering if I can sort of break up the clods a little and then go after them w/ a rake or something after they're dried. I broke up several bags with my hands, but my wrists are sore.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:47 AM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 21,634,665 times
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if your soil i clumping i suggest adding plenty of good compost andsome peat and realy mixing well (the more composted manure you can add the better. my beds are pretty much 100% composted manure and fresh rabbit poop with peat for a little extra oomph!
In the fall ocntact any local farms you can (and put an add out for rabbit keepers) and take fresh or old poop by the bag full, cow horse chicken ect) mix i all in well afteryour last crop of the year comes out and by spring it should have "cooked" long enough to be safefor planting, you can also sprinklesome clover seed over the raised beds, then in the spring turn the whole thing well mixing the clover into the soil (clover fixes nitrogen and is REALY good as a cover crop). rabbit manure is safe to use fresh with no aging/composting. so you cna use that to top off your beds in the spring or throughout the growing season.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:40 AM
 
2,401 posts, read 4,080,882 times
Reputation: 2181
Quote:
Originally Posted by caroldixit View Post
I inherited a 4 ft x 8 ft raised vegetable bed when I purchased my house. The bed was in a bad shape: mostly clay soil and overgrown with weeds.

This spring, I removed all weeds and dug out the clay soil. I plan to fill the raised bed with fresh, good soil.

However as I removed all the existing soil - went nearly 1 feet deep into the bed - I found lots of roots at the bottom. It is impossible to remove all roots.

1. Does it make sense to put a layer of weed-control landscape fabric at the **bottom** of the pit in the vegetable bed before I put fresh soil on top?
2. And won't that constrain the roots of the vegetables I plan to grow?
3. Should I be content with mulching & putting weed-control fabric on top of the fresh soil?
4. Is there anything else I should do to prepare the raised vegetable bed?

I don't want to go through another massive digging exercise next Spring.

Request the gardening gurus on this forum to please help!
You can put that layer of weed control fabric & mound 6" high of "Mel's mix" (equal portions of Peat moss, Vermiculite & Compost) mixed well for your potting material.
Mel's Mix - Square Foot Gardening Store
And even at 6", there is no root constraint unless planting giant carrots / root vegetable needing that depth... which I will suggest planting on areas not covered by that fabric but directly over existing "clay" soil.

Mel's Mix is awesome!!!
I have clay soil in my yard & have no problem growing many things w/ my mel's mix.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:13 PM
 
Location: SoCal
5,251 posts, read 9,154,154 times
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Here's a trick I use for root vegetables on raised beds. My raised beds are 12 inches tall, for the areas I plant root vegetables, I add a smaller box on top thus adding an additional 6 inch height.

For potatoes, I will just keep adding boxes so they keep growing upwards. At the end of season, I will just take boxes off, no diggings required, brush aside the soil and harvest new potatoes. You can do the same for carrots, makes it much easiers than digging.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
74,859 posts, read 87,274,042 times
Reputation: 45419
Quote:
Originally Posted by HB2HSV View Post
Here's a trick I use for root vegetables on raised beds. My raised beds are 12 inches tall, for the areas I plant root vegetables, I add a smaller box on top thus adding an additional 6 inch height.

For potatoes, I will just keep adding boxes so they keep growing upwards. At the end of season, I will just take boxes off, no diggings required, brush aside the soil and harvest new potatoes. You can do the same for carrots, makes it much easiers than digging.
that is a great idea. Our raised bed in about 8 inches I think. Through the years we have been able to grown some good sweet potatoes but I think probably the original grass below has pretty much gone elsewhere, thus I have a little more than 8 inches. That being said, I might try your suggestion next year to get even better ones. That is the only root veggie I really care about. Oh maybe beets as well, but they don't need the deep soil.
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