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above ground sfg beds

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above ground sfg beds

Post  barry jacobs on 8/14/2014, 1:56 pm

I have been using mels mix for a couple of years. Here is my problem I water 2times a day , when the sun comes out my plants are wilting from dry mels mix. the water seems to go straight threw. Is there anything I can put on the bottom to hold the water? My beds are about 3 feet off the ground and my beds are made out of wooden skids
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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  herblover on 8/14/2014, 2:07 pm

Do you have anything on the bottom now? My boxes are raised up on bricks due to location and have a 3/4 inch plywood bottom with holes drilled in for drainage.
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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  sanderson on 8/14/2014, 2:37 pm

Barry, Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here  I'm not sure what you mean by wooden skids, but most of us with raised beds use plywood on the bottoms of our table top beds. Drainage holes are drilled in the plywood with weed fabric on top of the plywood to keep the mix in. I'm more concerned with you having to water 2X a day. Are you using a thick layer of mulch to slow down surface evaporation?
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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/14/2014, 3:47 pm

Also, plants tend to go limp when it's hot in the sun.  It's how they protect themselves.  I was just home during lunch break and poked around my SFG and had lots of limp leafies but I know my garden is well watered and that they will pick up tonight or once in shade.

Do yours pick up in the evenings?

CC


Last edited by CapeCoddess on 8/14/2014, 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  camprn on 8/14/2014, 3:52 pm

Welcome to the forum. My suggestion is to add a lot of compost at the end of the season. They will settle over winter then add more in the spring before planting. Next season use a few inches of finished but unaged compost or something else as a mulch and water more. In the year of high summer everything wilts during the hottest part of the day to conserve moisture, that's normal.

How deep are the bed walls? When you are talking skids, do you mean pallets?

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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2014, 5:33 pm

As others have said, plants naturally wilt in the heat of the day even if there is adequate moisture.

Do you ever use a moisture meter to check your moisture levels? They can come in really handy, because how much moisture the MM or any soil type may be holding can be deceptive.

Also, when you water, are you "relaxation therapy watering" or watering good and deep? If light watering, especially in a nicely absorptive growing medium like MM, the water may not get very deep down. Not good for obvious reasons, but also because it produces drought-intolerant plants, as light watering encourages root development mostly near the surface, leading plants to dry out very easily.
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raised sfg beds

Post  barry jacobs on 8/14/2014, 7:09 pm

On my first post I did say they were made from skids.the bottom has plywood  and I have holes drilled in the plywood and have weed fabric on the plywood at bottom and on the sides.My sides are 6 inches high and is filled with mel's mix only. The water seems to drain out and the mel's mix gets dry.
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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  camprn on 8/14/2014, 8:08 pm

My beds are now all in full boxes with floors. You need more compost to capture and hold moisture and mulch to slow evaporation.

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Re: above ground sfg beds

Post  boffer on 8/14/2014, 11:02 pm

@barry jacobs wrote:...the water seems to go straight threw...

In my experience, that's a symptom of both over and under watering.  

I suggest reaching down to the bottom of the box with your hand to see if the MM is moist.  If it is dry, you might not be watering properly.  When your peat dries out, the water will run right through it.  It's challenging to get it re-hydrated with plants growing in it: apply water until it just starts dripping, then go do something else for 30 minutes or so, then repeat until your MM becomes saturated.  

Even when my raised boxes had hardware cloth and weed-block bottoms, which allowed evaporation on the bottom as well as the top, I never had to water more than once a day  in 90+° temps.
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