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New Raised Bed

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New Raised Bed

Post  dpmaki on 4/23/2010, 10:40 am

Tomorrow I'm building a 8'x4'x12" raised bed out of cedar. The area that I'm putting this is on the South side of my house where there is currently a lawn. Is it necessary for me to remove the grass first where this will be going? I'm planning on putting down 1/4 mesh hardware cloth to keep out moles and other unwanted critters. Can I just put the soil down on top of the grass?



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Post  jenjehle on 4/23/2010, 1:58 pm


Welcome to the SFG forums! Hope you enjoy posting here and that you find it helpful. I always have!

First of all, it is not necessary for you to remove any grass. Since the SFG is a raised bed on top of the ground, you can leave the lawn as it is.

Just so you, most people do put some sort of "barrier" down to keep weeds from growing up through the bed. I'm not very familiar with hardware cloth; weed barrier is very common or you can also use multiple layers of newspaper, which is environmentally freindly and will break down over a period of years, I believe. You may want to reference the SFG book or search these boards for ideas of what others have used.

But I'm sure you'll get more replies to your post and more information.

Hope you have good weather for your project tomorrow. What zone are you in? I'm in NE Indiana and rain is in our forecast for the weekend.

Happy Gardening!


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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  Shoda on 4/23/2010, 2:01 pm

Welcome... I just put hardware cloth at the bottom of my beds to keep out the moles. A neighbor suggested it over chicken wire because it lasts longer and they are less likely to break through.

On the Sunset garden website, they just cut the cloth to fit and that is that. I made mine a little bigger and used the hammer in staples to attach to the sides. Maybe hard core but I didn't want to empty the boxes later to fix it if I didn't have to.

Good luck with your project!


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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  organicgardeningzen.com on 4/23/2010, 2:24 pm

I would definitely recommend that you dig out the grass, and also that you dig an inch or so WIDER than your bed frame -- and do this all BEFORE you secure your raised bed frame in its final location.
I made the mistake of digging out my grass after my frames were already secured to in ground stakes, and had a heck of a time getting the grass dug out completely from within the frame right up next to the edges. As a result, my weed barrier fabric was not able to be tucked under the bed frame, and grass managed to grow it's way up around the inside edges.

This was all last spring. In order to combat the grass around the edges, I moved all my mix out of my beds this spring and tackled the grass around the edges with more vigor, to the point where I was able to tuck my weed fabric underneath. Then I added a 2nd layer of weed fabric (overkill?) and also took the opportunity to lay hardware cloth (which I neglected to do when I first built the beds). Hopefully my grass problem is licked now!

Oh - one other note: When I built my beds last year, I put a layer of weed fabric and a layer of cardboard. When I dug the beds up one year later, the cardboard was completely decomposed. If you are going to use cardboard as a weed barrier, it might work better to put it on top of the hardware cloth to make it so there is less contact with the ground - maybe it will last a little longer that way...


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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  happyfrog on 4/23/2010, 2:52 pm

*grin* ask 6 gardeners and you'll get 6 different replies. *big smile*

me, i just stapled cheap 5yr landscape fabric to the OUTSIDE of the box, then flipped the box and had a perfect covering to put all my mel's mix in. the grass and most weeds died and haven't been a problem.

HOWEVER! i have these odd onion like things comgin thru the landscape fabric in some places and i'm unable to remove them well - just pulling out the thick 'grasslike' bits that surface, as the bulbs are under teh landscape fabric.

so, i would consider the area being planted over in future. if it's grass no problem. if it's weeds and onion/chives/bulb kind of things there, i'd take the time and remove them first.

happy sfg!

it's so much fun! and you'll be the envy of your block because you'll be starting sooner, and continuing LONGER than anyone else because you won't be discouraged or exhausted or bored with gardening.

this is the dream way to garden.



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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  mckr3441 on 4/23/2010, 3:28 pm

Last year we dug out daylilly bulbs, covered the area with cardboard and weedcloth then put several inches of mulch over that around the box we put there. This year, guess what! Daylillies! So far none have come through the box. But they have come through the mulched area. We dug down and found that the weedcloth we used was the plastic kind with little holes between the weaves. Those little buggers just stuck their noses through those teeny-tiny holes and grew right on up!

It was late in the season and the plastic cloth was all that was left. I recommend the woven fiber kind with no holes but that allows drainage. I bought lots at the beginning of this season!

Now, of course, if I had wanted daylillies to grow, well -- do I have to say more?



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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  dpmaki on 4/23/2010, 4:46 pm

Thank you all for your replies and welcomes to the forum. I'll let you all know what I end up doing and will take a couple pictures to share as well. Claire - I see you are in Cleveland Heights. We are practically neighbors - I'm in Concord Township.

I'll be on here frequently with questions in the future - I'm very much a new gardener.


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Re: New Raised Bed

Post  sbeach on 4/23/2010, 5:11 pm

Hi David and everyone,

We don't have any experience, but we did as much research as possible (mostly on the SFG site!) before we built our first raised beds. This is our first year trying SFG, and we wanted to get it as 'right' as possible, because we're too lazy to do it all over the 'right' way later!

We did not intend to dig up the grass first; however, we couldn't get the frames to sit anywhere near level without digging into it. And then digging a little more. And then some more, until we figured we might as well dig up the whole patch of grass and level the dirt underneath. It wasn't as bad as we feared because the sod came up easily since it was only a year old.

Our two 6' by 3' frames are built from 6" by 1" by 6' cedar fence boards, stacked 3 high since that worked out to be the most economical solution with the fewest cuts that would still give me the 18" height I need (arthritis).

That size was fortuitous, because when we needed to get 1/4" hardware cloth (which is a wire mesh) to staple to the bottoms (to keep out the voles that tore up our front yard this winter), it came on a roll 3' by 6', so we didn't have to scar up our hands trying to cut it to fit!

On top of the hardware cloth we put a layer of cardboard, the sod we pulled from underneath turned upside down, and then another layer of cardboard. That takes up almost the first 6" so we don't have to use our home-made Mel's mix for the full 18" depth. In fact, we're planning to put another 4-6" of peat moss down on top of the cardboard to fill up a bit more space, since it is the cheapest of the ingredients.

From what I've read here in the forums, we should be fine with a depth of 6-8" of Mel's mix total in which to plant.

We'll let everyone know how this experiment goes.

Sharon up in Canada (Zone 5A) where it is deceptively May-like, and I'm itchy to start planting!


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Re: New Raised Bed

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