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First Beds (and a couple questions)

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First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 4/21/2016, 3:50 pm

Hi all!  Thanks to some great help I've already received in the Welcome threads, I'm getting close to planting.  At first we were going to lay our bed directly on the ground, but after reading about tree root problems, I thought we should elevate everything to tabletops.

I was hoping to use cedar fence pickets I already had and I'm trying to slot them in, leaving them a bit of room to move.  I hope it holds up over time.


I'm also planning to put something on top of the edges to finish it a bit and give a bit of shelf space.


Here's the tree I was worried about.  It's a pretty close neighbor.  I also had to deal with a slight hill.


Before filling them with mix, I drilled holes in the bottom.  I had the same questions others had about the book's text vs. the book's photo.  I came here and read people doing all different things, but mostly it seemed like they were doing more drainage to some degree.  So, I put 1/4" holes at the corner of each square and a 1/2" hole in the center of each square.  I put down a double layer of the cheap Vigoro weed fabric and filled the boxes.  I gave the mix a bit of a spray as I filled the boxes, but I didn't saturate it.

How do I know if I'm getting enough drainage?  We have rain on the way here, so I will keep a close eye on what's happening, but what should I be looking for?  Dripping from the holes, pooling on top, dig to the bottom and feel?  (Oh, and my mix is about 8-9" deep.)

Any other advice before we get to planting?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  trolleydriver on 4/21/2016, 4:10 pm

Great job on those boxes. Seems to me that you will be OK with drainage. I may have gone with even smaller holes in the middle of the squares but you should not lose MM if they are covered with weed fabric. I am yet to build a Table Top box so others who have real Table Top experience will know better than me on your drainage question.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  sanderson on 4/21/2016, 4:56 pm

Shocked  Excellent   ! Dripping from the holes and maybe between the plywood and sides. Don't worry! you did good'

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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/21/2016, 6:18 pm

Nice! Yeah, that tree would have been trouble....now it is just a tree! LOL
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  countrynaturals on 4/21/2016, 8:18 pm

Great job! 
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 4/22/2016, 8:29 am

Thanks everyone.  We got some rain last night but I couldn't easily see if it was draining out the bottom.  I'll have to wait until it rains during the daytime, like this afternoon.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/22/2016, 8:39 am

Looks great! I like the color contrast...
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  Windmere on 4/22/2016, 11:37 am

Those are  beautiful.  I also like the color contrast.  Functional and stylish!
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 4/22/2016, 11:42 am

Thanks! It was just leftover stain from our fence.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  Kelejan on 4/22/2016, 12:27 pm

You will be pleased that you turned it into a raised bed.

What time of day was your photo taken?  I noticed the tree shadow on the wall behind.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 5/4/2016, 8:18 am

IT was taken in the late evening.  In that photo, I'm facing east, with the setting sun behind me.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/4/2016, 11:39 am

Beautiful! I doubt you'll get pooling with first-year Mel's Mix.

CC
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 5/4/2016, 12:06 pm

Are you suggesting that in successive years the mix will not be as forgiving?  I know when replanting the book says to add a trowel of compost, but it didn't address any annual or seasonal amendments.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/4/2016, 12:46 pm

I'm in year 5  and mine hasn't ever pooled. But I've read on the forum where some say theirs has. And some say theirs gets crusty. It must be that different composts behave differently. But it's not the norm as far as I can tell.

So far so good.
Very Happy
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  yolos on 5/4/2016, 12:49 pm

I am also on year 5 and mine don't pool either.
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  rlriii13 on 5/4/2016, 1:07 pm

Ahh... you guys are setting the bar high. Laughing 

We've had several rains already, and I still haven't witnessed any water flow out the drain holes, but I bet it's draining fine.  I dug in and transplanted some things the day after a rain and it was moist, but not soggy.  That seemed pretty good to me.  What do you suppose my neighbors would think if they saw me laying under a bed during a rain storm?
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/4/2016, 1:20 pm

@rlriii13 wrote:What do you suppose my neighbors would think if they saw me laying under a bed during a rain storm?

Yeah, lol...probably the same thing they'll say when they see you out there in your jammies and bathrobe with a headlamp on in the middle of the night.
rofl
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  sanderson on 5/4/2016, 2:01 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@rlriii13 wrote:What do you suppose my neighbors would think if they saw me laying under a bed during a rain storm?

Yeah, lol...probably the same thing they'll say when they see you out there in your jammies and bathrobe with a headlamp on in the middle of the night.
rofl
rofl After a while they'll just say, "Our crazy neighbor is under the bed, again."

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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  sanderson on 5/4/2016, 2:12 pm

Side bar: I think that folks/neighbors are just curious, or else nay sayers, about 6" of Mel's Mix, or table tops for tomatoes, etc. We are setting examples of gardening with a whole different method.

Regarding adding a trowel of compost, well when it comes time for spring planting, it's more like adding buckets of new compost. Personally, I am liking slightly chunky compost instead of screening it so fine. It seems the worms do a fine job of "making it fine." I think chunky adds air pockets.

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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/5/2016, 8:55 pm

I agree! Your neighbors will be glad because they will be getting your extra squash! Lots of squash....lol

As far as what constitutes finished compost, that is a matter of degree. I am in the chunky category!
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Re: First Beds (and a couple questions)

Post  Windmere on 5/5/2016, 10:32 pm

I'm beginning my fourth year and I found that my MM became a bit dry.  I might have over done it with compost; I had to seriously add some peat moss.  We did have some pretty bad rains in the past years, and my MM never really pooled either.  Perhaps some of the peat moss trickled away?  In any case, I think I've got my ratios right again.
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