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New beds are built...

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Remove the dirt or not?

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Total Votes : 27

New beds are built...

Post  PaddyG on 2/26/2011, 8:34 am

OK here's a pic of our new beds. They are 4x13 each. I wanted them to be
a little more ornate since they were going to be by the patio area.
They ARE salt-treated lumber, but the lumber is 10 years old from an old
deck we had on our camper at the lake. My hope is all the nasty's are
long since leached out. I think I'll clear coat them on the inside. That
is supposed to dry into a hard shell. Or I'll line the boards with
plastic on the inside.

I am going to build a riser on the end of one of
the boxes to make a 1ft deep 1x4 or 2x4 section. I left the corner posts long enough to accomodate another board stacked on top.

We are going to paint them white to match the house trim.

I have a question, do I or do I not have to remove the grass before I fill it?

https://i23.servimg.com/u/f23/16/23/26/33/imag0211.jpg

We are excited about this. We are about to leave for the garden center to get the rest of our Mel's Mix ingredients.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 8:38 am

You can leave in the grass, but I'd layer some cardboard down on top of it before adding your Mix, if you go that route. Some grass can be persistent and it would be sad to have it growing up into your shiny new boxen!

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  FarmerValerie on 2/26/2011, 8:50 am

Personally I would lay down weed block AND cardboard. I have some really obnoxious grass and weeds (and some trees that pop up out of no where) and they keep coming back even if we scrape the top off, lay down weed block, and newspaper. But that's just my grass....

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  camprn on 2/26/2011, 9:53 am

Lovely! I would take up the sod, no doubt! Having gardened for years my theory is it's a bit more work to take up the sod, but for me, I would despair after all the work of building up a bed of growing mix and setting in plants or seed to have the grass come up through. You will get good results.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  miinva on 2/26/2011, 10:39 am

Your beds are beautiful! Very Happy We didn't take up the grass, other than leveling (which is very important and trust me, if you don't level them you'll wish you had after a couple of months of watering them and it running to one end or the other). We used the heaviest weedblock we could find and we've had no problems with grass coming through it here in central Virginia.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  quiltbea on 2/26/2011, 12:25 pm

We built ours over our back lawn and removed the sod first. I didn't want to take a chance with grasses. I'm still fighting grasses coming up in my flower beds and didn't want the same problems here.

Its been fine just removing the sod and then filling the boxes with loam, then peat and composted manure and amendments. Mine are 12" deep and I didn't use any weed block.

I think your putting either several layers of newspaper on the bottom or cardboard won't hurt. They will disintegrate over time but keep weeds from popping up.
Good luck with your garden. Very nice.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/26/2011, 12:26 pm

You've already gotten off to a great start with the aesthetics of your garden, don't stop now. The green grass in your pic doesn't need to be removed, but you have some nasty brown stuff in there that looks like bermuda to me (obviously, you arent going to selectively remove just the brown...you have to ditch it all....or transplant the bermuda to other sunny, thin spots in yard). Get rid of as much of that as you can from underneath. You may be waging war against the uncovered stuff coming up, from it's runners, anyway. If that is bermuda, you will get a head start on it by making sure nothing comes up from underneath because it was there from the start. The fescue/bluegrass will die easy enough. Bermuda don't die!! LOL.

Looks great, though.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  acara on 2/26/2011, 5:53 pm

Just lay old carpet over the grass ... free/easy

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  miinva on 2/26/2011, 7:11 pm

I'm too paranoid about what will leach out of the carpet to use it near my garden, especially if I don't know what the previous owner used to clean it.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  PaddyG on 2/26/2011, 8:05 pm

Well, we made more progress today. We picked up the rest of the ingredients for our Mel's Mix. We finished construction on the beds. I built the 2x4 deep boxes on the ends. Got the boxes all painted up.

Tomorrow we will dig out the grass! Good eye, too, BackyardBirdGardner. That is Bermuda grass. And it is a pain. We'll also add newspaper and weed mesh. I had a ton of cardboard left over from Christmas but I hauled it to the recycle a couple of weeks ago. Just my luck. By tomorrow evening we should have the Mel's Mix in the box.

Thanks for all your input and the warm welcomes. Here are a couple more shots of today's work.


Closeup of the deep box end...


And another of the finished beds...

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/26/2011, 9:15 pm

Those boxes are absolutely gorgeous! I especially like the deep end sections for carrots, potatoes and such. Repurposed decking makes for a great garden.
Enjoy your new SFG. You are going to I love you the Mel's Mix.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  duhh on 2/26/2011, 9:34 pm

Love your new beds! Remove the grass! Good luck!

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  CindiLou on 2/26/2011, 11:53 pm

Don't forget to level!!! I didn't do that with my first box. I have three more this year and they are being leveled! Water runs to the low end and over the edge.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  acara on 2/27/2011, 8:33 pm

Those are some dead-sexy boxes *drools*

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  PaddyG on 2/28/2011, 6:52 am

In his best Elvis voice... "Thank you very muchhhh..."

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 2/28/2011, 3:49 pm

Is the white paint just a standard outdoor paint? Or, is it some kind of sealant, too, to get more life from the wood?

I just left my untreated wood alone, and know I'll regret it in about 3 years.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  kimbertangleknot on 2/28/2011, 10:54 pm

Very nice looking. I just ordered mine last week so they should be here soon!

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  PaddyG on 3/1/2011, 7:07 am

The white paint is the cheapest exterior paint they had at Lowes. Another $17...LOL! Stain would have been $35 a gallon. It took about 1/2 gallon of paint.

I decided not to mess with the inside of the pressure treated wood. If I had clear coated it I would have run the risk, in the cleaning and paint preparation, of disturbing the wood fibers and exposing more of the chemicals in the wood. It already had a dark patina on it, so i just left it alone. It's already 10 years old. I can't imagine it lasting too much longer anyways. I'll redo it in a couple of years with some more suitable materials.

Thanks again for all your comments and advice.

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Bermuda

Post  ander217 on 3/1/2011, 7:21 am

Next to our garden fence we piled a thick layer of straw, then topped it with cardboard and/or newspaper, and placed on it a 1' x 8' box which had weed barrier tacked to the bottom. Bermuda grass still pushed its way through all that and came up through the Mel's Mix.

Bermuda is a pain in the grass.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  PaddyG on 3/13/2011, 8:50 am

Well, after recovering from a bad bout with the crud, I finally got to work on my garden. I got one completed and ready to go yesterday.

I dug out the sod, lined the sections with cardboard and then laid in the weed net. The net is stapled to the sides of the beds. The bed took a lot of Mel's Mix. 48 cubic feet. More than i calculated, I guess because I removed 3-4 inches of sod. I used 4 4cft bags of vermiculite, 8 2cft bags of peat moss and 16 bags of compost. I layered the MM and watered it down in 2-3 inch layers. I piled it full to leave some extra MM for settling. It's a 48 sqft bed and averages 9 inches deep in the low section and about a foot deep in the end box. The lathe grid is tacked to the rails with finish nails and air gun stapled at the intersections. Here is a pic...



This shot shows the unfinished bed in the background. I need to get some more MM ingredients and cardboard.



One good thing about removing the sod is you get to use it somewhere else...



Oh and when mixing big batches of Mel's Mix (12 cft) on a tarp, pile it all into the center of the tarp layering the different ingredients, some VM, some PM, some CP, etc. Then take the back of the rake and knock it down evenly across the tarp. At this point it is more than half mixed. Then grab the tarp corners and pull it over. This was the easiest way I found to mix it and I am all about easy.

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OOPS?

Post  LWilliams on 3/13/2011, 10:03 am

I found nice 4x4 framework at Costco that I thought would be perfect for my first garden. We had to build the back side up because of the slope of our yard and we put it on plywood, drilled drainage holes and secured it down. Now I am worried that the small gaps around the frames that allow them to be stacked will also allow too much water to escape. Do I need to seal it around the bottom with silicon caulk or will it be okay as is? :?:

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  dixie on 3/13/2011, 10:22 am

@ander217 wrote:Next to our garden fence we piled a thick layer of straw, then topped it with cardboard and/or newspaper, and placed on it a 1' x 8' box which had weed barrier tacked to the bottom. Bermuda grass still pushed its way through all that and came up through the Mel's Mix.

Bermuda is a pain in the grass.

I HATE Bermuda grass. That, wild onionsand kinked water hoses on a hot day are 3 of my biggest pet peaves. I don't know where the stuff came from, but it has taken over.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  Megan on 3/13/2011, 10:24 am

Nah, you should be fine. Mel's Mix holds water nicely. If water ran out that fast, we'd all be in trouble! Very Happy

You can get some garden edging strips to help block up the holes, or lay some weedblock fabric in, if you are worried about them aesthetically. I used some garden edging last year on one side of one bed, to help prevent spill when I first filled the bed.

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Re: New beds are built...

Post  boffer on 3/13/2011, 11:11 am

@LWilliams wrote: Now I am worried that the small gaps around the frames that allow them to be stacked will also allow too much water to escape. Do I need to seal it around the bottom with silicon caulk or will it be okay as is? :?:

It's OK as is, however, when MM is on the dry side, water will go in the top and right out the bottom. As the mix gets saturated, the water slows down so it can be absorbed better. The trick is to keep your MM saturated-it's a hands-on learning experience. My advice applies to watering by hand; I can't speak to automatic watering systems.

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Re: New beds are built...

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