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soil for raised garden bed???

Discussion in 'Ideas' started by smokinq13, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just read all of your first post...
    If you have access to woods, I'd find all the dead decaying logs I could find and dig that up along with the top 2" of soil immediately under and close to it. should be very loamy. Mix in some sand for good drainage. And a little composted manure and you should be good to go.
    Whatever you do, do not dig down into the natural dirt under your bed and remove it. You will create a bowl effect-especially in clay soils. All you need to do is mix what you bring in with the top 4~6" of the natural dirt present. This will create a transition zone so the roots will travel deep instead of hitting a different soil layer and stopping. Till it ONCE....the first time, and never till it again. Use a garden fork.
  2. Great information guys! seriously... I'm part of a gardening forum and posted on it basically the same post to see what they say on it, I've only gotten one response on there...

    So here's what I think the plan is … still gonna be 4ft x 8ft x 24in deep( 2 reasons 1. the bending over part and 2. I already got it built this way lol) … I'm laying the inside of the wood with plastic to have a barrier between wood and soil. I'm gonna feel the bottom half with material from the woods/mountain... humus, sticks, leaves branches etc to take up space and to break down over time. Then the top half of soil I'm gonna wait till closer to the actual garden season and find a place close I can get some good compost to mix up my own soil I got a pretty good "recipe" for mixing up soil, I've used it for a bucket garden once and got 7ft tall tomatoes out of 5 gallon buckets

    I still think its funny how this is a meat smoking forum and I got about 10 times the responses than on a actual garden forum!
    yankee2bbq likes this.
  3. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One thing I do when I plant tomatoes is take a long 4' stick of 3/8" rebar and shove it down in the planting hole as far as I can...I even use a 2# mall...
    This will give the tomato roots a cavity to send down a very deep tap root.

    I'm a tomato fanatic. Last year I avg. 25# per plant...off celebrity tomatoes. Had one that went 24 ounces.....
  4. wbf610

    wbf610 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Sounds like you have a plan. I built 5 elevated beds, 4’x8’, with various depths based on the terrain i built them in. My deepest is 12”. I ordered and had top soil delivered. Every year since then, i go buy a few bags of either compost, mushroom soil, or manure, and add it to each box. Normally 2-4 bags per box. This was to replace nutrients, and improve tilth. That first year, the soil was so hard at the end of the season, i had to literally chisel potatoes out. I also add organic waste from spring through fall, and cover with leaves each fall, and till them under in the spring.
  5. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    raised beds benefit from the inclusion of sand in the mix to break it up, help with drainage, and make it lite. Can also add peat moss or coconut coir, but my personal favorite is biochar....10% in the top 6~8" of soil in the bed. worms will mix it, they love biochar dust for grit in their gizzards, and once through the gut of a worm the stuff is transformed like magic....
    wbf610 likes this.
  6. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As soon as the Peoples Republic Pennsylvania decriminalizes as certain plant I'm going to be a big hydroponic gardening nut.
  7. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    gonna get your mojo on eh.....
  8. Texan4ut

    Texan4ut Fire Starter

    Here is a picture of one of my raised beds. Its about 3 feet off the ground. Bed is 8 feet long, 2 feet wide and 16 inches deep. I have two of these I put in last year, going to do another one this year. Garden.jpg
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My Daughter and her Husband have this plan to build 12" deep beds on Legsome to limit bending. But I think plants like Tomatoes and Peppers have roots that go deeper than 12". You guys think their idea will work?...JJ
  10. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If the soil is super fertile, the plants will thrive in 12" of soil. Best recommendation I can give is to plant the seedling horizontally....more roots = more fruits....
    I plant up to the 2nd. set of true leaves, just snip off the lower ones. Tomato is a vine and the stem has hairs; every hair will put out a root....
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  11. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also-do not plant them too close with such a shallow planting area. 3ft. spacing minimum...tomatoes are very heavy feeders...
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  12. I love using raised beds. Just some food for thought...I line my bed with plain cardboard before I fill with a mix of soil, compost, and unbroken-down straw/leaves. The cardboard suppresses weeds without tilling and will safely break down over time. I use any cardboard that doesn’t use glossy print.
    Good luck and be sure to post some pics of those beds in use!
  13. sdfdssadffsfdsdfsfsdfsdfsdsdffsdfsdsdffsdfsdsdfsdfsf.jpg sffssdfsfsffddffaffsdffsfssfsdf.jpg

    Yesterday I went up into the mountain and got some of the humus that I said I was going to and think is what I ended up with! Which I didn't think I did too bad for moving it all by hand( loading and unloading). I also went over where we cut up fire wood and scraped up some of the chips and saw dust and added it to the mix. I probably could have got more of the humus that was from the leaves gathering in the trails and breaking down but there was roots growing all through it which I didn't want to bother too much so I just scraped the lose stuff up. I calculated that for each 4 x 8 x 12in deep I need roughly 1.2 cubic yards of material so I guess I moved about 1 cubic yard just here... Like I said I'm probably going to wait closer to growing season to fill the rest which I'll find some place close that sells compost I can use to mix up some "super soil" lol

    Thanks for all the great information and suggestions... hope others can come to this for future reference for help!
  14. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    If your bed is in contact with the soil, and open on the bottom, consider putting down a mesh instead of, or in addition to the plastic. I don't know how bad the ground rodents are in PA, but here on the Central Coast of CA we have moles, gophers, and the latest invasion, ground squirrels. I know lots of people who have plenty of land and good soil who nonetheless installed raised garden beds as a way to keep these critters from entering from below. I don't have a raised bed garden, and as a result have had lots of plants destroyed from below, although I never saw the plant actually get pulled down out of sight, like in Caddyshack.

  15. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Is the plastic just on the sides to help protect the wood? or did you use it on the bottom as well?
  16. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    John-no gophers here...but we do have crawfish which build mud tunnel towers in garden soil....a little copper sulfate down the hole kills the crawfish.
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    KILLS THE CRAWFISH!?!? That has to be Illegal or somethin'. Ain't CRAWFISH the State Bird on Louisianna? Some little Cajun Boy goin' to bed Hungry 'cause you don't like no Holes in Y'all's garden!...JJ
    smokinq13 likes this.
  18. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    chef jimmyj likes this.
  19. Correct only on the sides to protect the wood as a barrier between the soil and wood
  20. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good deal...you won't have a bowl effect, water can drain down.