Raised Garden Beds?

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Chef Munky

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What would be the best long lasting garden beds?
My backyard has no landscaping. Only grass. I don't want to start digging when I don't even know where all the sprinklers pipes connect. Or Gas lines.
Actually digging is out of the question I can't dig with a shovel anymore. My right hip and knee are becoming a problem.
On part the yard the largest is L Shaped. The other 2 parts are separated by a brick walkway to the porch.
Been looking at Home depot and amazon they offer many styles.
I don't want a large garden. Looking for something to grow Tomatoes and everything else that revolves around Salsa. Oh, and an Herb garden.
How does one select the right size anyways?
And another thing being in a drought. Water restrictions are fully enforced.
Nobody has a front lawn anymore.
What I've seen is plastic, metal, and wood... Really what kind of wood? :)
I'd hate to buy something that's going to end up in a landfill within a few months use.
Long story short. Newbie here.
Thank you for the suggestions.

Munky.
 

bethzaring

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Hire either a landscape architect or just a landscaping business. Where I live there are many such businesses. I live in the desert. Ask advice from the professionals.
 

dcSaute

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for a couple bunches of tomatoes, and a couple bunches of peppers or a bunch of onions in a circle . . . .
instead of raised beds, consider "tubs" / barrels / one-plant-per-thingie.
a farm store will have a large selection of tubs, etc. - just remember you must drill drainage holes! no holes=really good for livestock watering, =really bad for drowning plants....

wood sided beds - ground contact pressure treated (usually) pine. will last 15 yrs+
note: use wood specified for "ground contact" - not just 'pressure treated'
many organic gardener types abhorred treated wood because of the nasty chemicals used - which have since been outlawed.
do not make them more than 36" wide, because your arms really are not that long ....

a dead simple forever solution are terracing (masonry/concrete) blocks. these have "tabs" so each course is 'set back' - they stack well and generally do not 'fall apart'

go with drip irrigation - no water waste - highly effective.
 

blissful

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A woman just a couple miles from us builds these kinds of raised beds for a side income. You might look around and see if anyone in your local area makes them or you might want to build them?
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I have a raised garden but it's only a foot off the ground, all wood. It's my lettuce garden. It's south facing, against the back of the garage. It was layered with branches and wood, compost, dirt. It has a cover frame over it so we can grow into fall and early in spring.

lettucegarden-004.jpg


wlasagnagardenafter2.jpg
 

larry_stewart

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I started with wood ( 8 - 10 inches in height), then went to stone ( about the same height and have been expanding with wood. As mentioned above, make sure its not too wide or else it will be difficult to take care of / harvest without actually stepping into the garden itself.
Probably most important is to locate the best, sunniest area of your yard to place it.
You dont have to dig into the ground to place a raised bed, but likely will have to lay some weed fabric or cardboard beneath the bed to keep the underlying grass/ weeds from invading your garden. I still will require some hard work to put it together, load it with soil ...( Unless you can get someone to do it for you, or at least help you out). Raised beds do have a tendency to dry out quicker than those gardens right in the ground. Drip irrigation would be great, or just constant monitoring . Tomatoes , peppers need to be about 18" to 2 ft apart, although I've gotten them a lot closer than that with good results. In many cases, tomatoes will be taller than peppers (depending on the varieties grown). which will be significantly taller than onions and garlic ( which by me is usually planted in the fall ( some varieties in early spring). Need to keep their heights in mind with the direction of the sun. Dont want the shorter plants to be shaded out by the taller ones. Herbs can be planted in one of those half whisky or wine barrels. You can squeeze a lot in there. Im in NY , different areas / zones will differ. They also grow patio/ compact plants that dont spread out too much.
 

Aunt Bea

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I would start out with a few pots or containers and gradually move to a more permanent raised garden bed/retaining wall if the gardening bug really takes hold.

A new or used galvanized steel stock tank can give you an instant raised bed or an old refrigerator freezer with the doors removed.

1675114388257.png 1675114665678.png

This photo of Jacques Pepin's garden could be free or could be very expensive depending on your access to stones and volunteer labor.

1675114098631.png

Give it a little thought and a few inexpensive ideas will come to you. ;)

1675114725161.png
 

dragnlaw

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Container's for tomatoes are great. You can move them around for max sun exposure if you are limited.
Watch your sun for a day or two. Where is the most? Side of house? left back? Right back?
Raised are two concepts. As bliss has shown in her photo's. Those tin and wood ones are gorgeous, but expensive unless you make them yourself. Plus you must fill them with... something to get to the soil area for planting.
Wood on the ground, similar to bliss' cold frame but where ever you want in the yard. Here we have several raised, one up on saw horses (since taken down) plus in 2nd pic we have potatoes growing in sacks (Amazon)
Keep in mind you are still bending over to do your gardening. 20220521_144045.jpg
ignore the fallen trunk in the back ground (only one to head into the garden, others chose to fall on the deck and house)

20220601_122116.jpg
trunk has been cleared away and you can see the sack at end for potatoes.
 

larry_stewart

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Tomatoes and peppers can grow in 5 gallon buckets with great success. May not be the look you're looking for. I went to a tomato lecture and thats all he does, is grow tomatoes in 5 gallon Home Depot buckets on his driveway ( thats where the sun is).
 

Aunt Bea

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A big consideration beyond the actual bed or container is the source of the mulch, topsoil, and drainage stone to fill them.

If you have to purchase these items they could actually cost as much or more than the containers and if you choose not to continue gardening it will cost money or additional labor to remove them or incorporate them into your existing landscape.
 

larry_stewart

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The town I live in offers free mulch and compost during the growing season. Check with your town to see if they do the same thing. Only drawback is you have to get it yourself.
 

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larry_stewart

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Here's what someone in one of my gardening groups does with 5 gallon buckets. The only thing I wonder about is in the top level it appears she has tomatoes. Unless it's one of those small patio sized varieties , the tomatoes plants will get relatively tall and flop over if not supported, or , being on the top level will be difficult to harvest. But I have to assume she knows what she is doing
 

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dragnlaw

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hmmm interesting idea, that's some precise carpenter work there. All that weight, resting on the ridges of the buckets. I see no supports under those raised 5 gallon buckets filled with soil and I assume stones on the bottoms to assist draining.
gonna be mighty heavy.
Perhaps she should have saved the top shelf for herbs. As you say Larry, gonna to be a bit difficult to harvest. For that reason I think maybe just two tiers would be adequate.
It certainly looks sturdy with the 4x4 posts. I like it, just not the top tier.
 

Aunt Bea

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Another way to ease into raised bed gardening is to upcycle/recycle trellises for beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, etc…

Old wire fence, ladders, cribs, clothes bars, etc… can all be reimagined.

What kid wouldn’t love to help plant and watch a bean pole teepee grow.
1675258715024.jpeg
 

larry_stewart

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Another way to ease into raised bed gardening is to upcycle/recycle trellises for beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, etc…

Old wire fence, ladders, cribs, clothes bars, etc… can all be reimagined.

What kid wouldn’t love to help plant and watch a bean pole teepee grow.
View attachment 63425
Never did that with my kids, but cant wait to do it with buy grand kids (none in the foreseeable future, so looks like ill have to wait awhile.
 

larry_stewart

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hmmm interesting idea, that's some precise carpenter work there. All that weight, resting on the ridges of the buckets. I see no supports under those raised 5 gallon buckets filled with soil and I assume stones on the bottoms to assist draining.
gonna be mighty heavy.
Perhaps she should have saved the top shelf for herbs. As you say Larry, gonna to be a bit difficult to harvest. For that reason I think maybe just two tiers would be adequate.
It certainly looks sturdy with the 4x4 posts. I like it, just not the top tier.
I agree. I dont know her personally, just saw her post. I didnt ask any questions, but it works for her. Someone posted a 2 tier one ( as you suggested) which looks more manageable to me.
 

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dragnlaw

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You should practice now Larry! Then you'll be an expert.

Edit: you snuck a post in before mine, yup I like the 2 tier and the support under the buckets.
The reason I noticed is my brother made me stands for the horse waterers. The buckets rested on the rim, until I asked him how much water weighed - gave the answer as he ran to add the support board. :ROFLMAO:
my above post was for you to practice the teepee's.
 
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dragnlaw

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Doesn't just have to be one type of plant. Mini tomatoes, for colour, runner beans, actually any type, and then maybe Thunbergia for another splash of colour, or blue giant ... argh, can't remember the name.
 

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