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The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

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The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  IHeartEarth on 8/26/2012, 1:48 pm

Hello fellow gardeners. Two summers ago I built a nice 10X16 ft raised bed. Last summer my organic garden was FANTASTIC. I made mistakes: 1. I did not "close" the bed properly for winter. 2. I did not weedeat the weeded area (owned by the city but they do not maintain it) near my property that would inevitably blow millions of seeds around).

At the beginning of this season my bed was full of weeds. I worked diligently hand pulling, hoeing, using a cultivator and got my soil in good shape. After planting I laid newspaper around the plants to protect them from weeds. Then I injured my back.........and weeds took over my life. This year, my garden has been a total eyesore that I'm actually having to weedeat regularly. I have thick, deep rooted stands of grass and a large variety of other weeds.

My plan is to do the following: 1. Weedeat the weeds down to dirt level using a push weedeater. 2. Hire someone to till the bed since a cultivator just wasn't deep enough. 3. Use cow salts around the edges where the soil is hardest and grass is thickest. 4. After all weeds are removed, cover the bed in a tarp until late Spring at which time I'll remove the tarp and watch for weed sprouts that need hoeing.

I'm new at this. Quite frankly, I don't know what I'm doing. I just know I worked too hard on this raised bed to let it be next year the eye sore that it was this year. Any advice you all could offer on my plan, what if anything I should do differently, advice on keeping the weeds out organically next Spring and Summer...would be greatly appreciated!!

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  llama momma on 8/26/2012, 1:56 pm

Welcome to the square foot garden forum! Have you read the book? When you said, "soil" I suspect you mean from the ground or did you use Mel's Mix that we use? The difference being we don't hoe, cultivate, use cow salts, or use a weed eater. Mel's mix is so soft that when a weed shows up it slips right out with two fingers. Some of us do use tarps, I do, and at the end of the fall planting season, a tarp keeps Mel's Mix from blowing out and keeps out any weed seeds from getting blown in, another benefit is the cats have to find someplace else for a litter box.
Hope you have or will read the book, this is the easiest method of gardening I have ever experienced, welcome again to the forum.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  IHeartEarth on 8/26/2012, 5:22 pm

I have not read the book. I didn't even know there was a book. Smile I came across this site while searching desperately for some advice on what to do with my current situation. I'm single, live alone, work full time and am working on my MBA so the chances I'm going to get to read the book any time soon are slim though trust me, I'd much rather read about gardening than accounting! Laughing

Any advice on what I can do about the current situation? Perhaps Mels Mulch is something I can do for next years garden.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  littlejo on 8/26/2012, 5:35 pm

Welcome!
I think instead of paying someone to till, I'd pay someone to shovel the 'dirt' into large garage bags or cans, buckets, etc. Or just onto a tarp . Put down cardboard, newspaper, and weedcloth, to foil the weeds and grass.

Then put baking soda on the dirt to kill the weeds. You can use salt around the beds, but not in them.
You can put back the dirt anytime. If not planting, put baking soda on dirt and cover with a tarp or plastic.
When you decide to plant, uncover, water well to rince the baking soda out, add some good compost, and plant.
Read the SFG book. It will save you time, labor and money in the long run.
Jo













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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Chopper on 8/26/2012, 5:36 pm

Your idea for the cow salts and weeding and covering with a tarp are a very good start. Then next year, reweed the little ones, put in some weed barrier and cover with mel's mix and have at it. The tarp in winter saves a lot of heartache though. Well worth it. And on those cold winder nights, cuddle up the the ANSFG book and hit the ground running in the spring. Smile

And ooooo - I like the baking soda idea above. And removing the dirt/weeds might not be any harder than tilling and/or weeding and will leave room for MM (Mel's Mix) when you get going again.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  llama momma on 8/26/2012, 5:46 pm

All I can add to the wonderful advice above is please give yourself a real treat and get the easy reading/friendly book, All New Square Foot Gardening, copyright 2006. I promise you will not regret it.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Turan on 8/26/2012, 6:07 pm

Here is what I would do.
Till it as best you can, does not need to be deep. Then cover it with black plastic well staked down at the edges. Do this right now. The sun will bake it for you. In a couple weeks or a month pull the plastic off and retill it and then recover it again. If your weather holds do that one last time this fall and then leave it covered until spring. Repeat in the spring if there is still regrowth.

Don't add more compost until spring. You do not want to feed the weeds.
Depending on how it is in the spring, cover with compost and till that in lightly and then recover with the plastic. You can cut holes in the plastic to plant through. That can help while in the transition. Then in the future plant thickly enough to crowd weeds out and cover for periods you can not keep a garden in it.

I hope that is helpful. Good luck.


Last edited by Turan on 8/26/2012, 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : remembered this is for grass and now perrenial weeds so I took out the watering part)

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Chopper on 8/26/2012, 6:35 pm

@Turan wrote:Here is what I would do.
Till it as best you can, does not need to be deep. Then cover it with black plastic well staked down at the edges. Do this right now. The sun will bake it for you. In a couple weeks or a month pull the plastic off and retill it and then recover it again. If your weather holds do that one last time this fall and then leave it covered until spring. Repeat in the spring if there is still regrowth.

Don't add more compost until spring. You do not want to feed the weeds.
Depending on how it is in the spring, cover with compost and till that in lightly and then recover with the plastic. You can cut holes in the plastic to plant through. That can help while in the transition. Then in the future plant thickly enough to crowd weeds out and cover for periods you can not keep a garden in it.

I hope that is helpful. Good luck.

Since they have not used MM on it before, I would suggest adding that in the spring rather than compost and not to plant through the plastic. At least the first year.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  plantoid on 8/26/2012, 6:50 pm

@IHeartEarth wrote:I have not read the book. I didn't even know there was a book. Smile I came across this site while searching desperately for some advice on what to do with my current situation. I'm single, live alone, work full time and am working on my MBA so the chances I'm going to get to read the book any time soon are slim though trust me, I'd much rather read about gardening than accounting! Laughing

Any advice on what I can do about the current situation? Perhaps Mels Mulch is something I can do for next years garden.



" All New Square Foot Gardening " by Mel Bartholomew 2006 edition

ISBN CODE 1-59186-202-7 ..... paperback version

You can often pick up second hand copies from Amazon or ebay etc. for a fraction of the $20 cost of a new one if funds are scarce .

Treat yourself to the book .. read four pages a day ... one in the morning before breakfast , one at lunch time , one at tea time and one standing naked against a cold mirror just before bed . Laughing Wink


Seriously try 15 min of it per day for relaxation 3x5 min reading , or 5 x 3 min etc.


It's good to give your mind a break from the MBA even if it is busy reading some other thing ...it's quite capable of handling it if you so choose . I frequently read four or five books during the same period , reading a few pages of each depending what I want to do or achieve . I just let my brain sort out & retain the information into the correct order using NPL methods

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  walshevak on 8/26/2012, 7:43 pm

Fortunately the book is an easy read, not full of a lot of deep technical data, just down to earth basic instructions. The first time I saw the book, I was in Lowes and I just sat at one of their garden furniture displays and leafed through most of the book for about 20 mins. before deciding "I can do this" and making the purchase. Even that 20 minutes gave me enough information to go home and start an inventory or what I had and what I would need. That was in Oct and I started haunting the forum and collecting over the winter for a spring start.

Kay

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Turan on 8/26/2012, 7:57 pm

@Chopper wrote:
@Turan wrote:Here is what I would do.
Till it as best you can, does not need to be deep. Then cover it with black plastic well staked down at the edges. Do this right now. The sun will bake it for you. In a couple weeks or a month pull the plastic off and retill it and then recover it again. If your weather holds do that one last time this fall and then leave it covered until spring. Repeat in the spring if there is still regrowth.

Don't add more compost until spring. You do not want to feed the weeds.
Depending on how it is in the spring, cover with compost and till that in lightly and then recover with the plastic. You can cut holes in the plastic to plant through. That can help while in the transition. Then in the future plant thickly enough to crowd weeds out and cover for periods you can not keep a garden in it.

I hope that is helpful. Good luck.

Since they have not used MM on it before, I would suggest adding that in the spring rather than compost and not to plant through the plastic. At least the first year.

The reason to plant through plastic that first spring is to be able to have a garden that year. The plastic is very effective in suppressing the weed growth. After that is dealt with then you can successfully plant intensively and out compete the annual weeds that may be left.

Here is a picture of this in my new cucurbit bed this spring. (I was doing it to help warm the soil here but the principal is the same)


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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Chopper on 8/27/2012, 12:58 am

I understand that. And if they already had MM I would embrace it. Since they are moving over to SFG (as far as I can tell) it would make sense to leave the plastic, or some weed barrier and add 6" of MM on top of it and then plant.

I was not knocking the method. I know, especially in early spring it is a great idea. Just the practicality of doing that and trying to move over to SFG at the same time. Sorry I was not more clear and sorry if it came across that it was a bad idea per se. Just the opposite. Good idea, maybe just wait til MM is in.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Goosegirl on 8/27/2012, 3:41 pm

@walshevak wrote:Fortunately the book is an easy read

This was actually the 'downside' of the book for me! rofl It really is such an easy read that I had the whole thing done in 2 days - and I still had a LOT of winter to go before I could put the info to use! lots o

Get it, read it a bit at a time, and don't look back!

GG

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

Post  Turan on 8/27/2012, 10:10 pm

@Chopper wrote:I understand that. And if they already had MM I would embrace it. Since they are moving over to SFG (as far as I can tell) it would make sense to leave the plastic, or some weed barrier and add 6" of MM on top of it and then plant.

I was not knocking the method. I know, especially in early spring it is a great idea. Just the practicality of doing that and trying to move over to SFG at the same time. Sorry I was not more clear and sorry if it came across that it was a bad idea per se. Just the opposite. Good idea, maybe just wait til MM is in.

O! I see what you mean now. Though in that circumstance I would take the plastic off in the spring and cover the soil mix with cardboard and then cover the card board with MM and then plant in it.

I did not get the feeling that switching to ANSFG was the intention but probably only time will know on that.

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Re: The Disappearance of my Beautiful Raised Bed

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