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My Victory Garden 2011


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#1 prism

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:42 AM

http://knol.google.c...n-past-present#

The victory garden has an awesome history eh?

In the spirit of the victory garden I have decided to really get after it in the garden this year.

I been reading about raised beds, and here is a nice guide.

http://extension.mis...ub.aspx?P=G6985

Raised-Bed Gardening

Christopher J. Starbuck
Department of Horticulture
Raised-bed gardening is a popular technique for growing plants in Missouri. Beds are both useful and attractive in the landscape. Vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees and shrubs may be grown in raised beds.

Figure 1
Temporary raised beds can be created by digging soil in a 3- to 4-foot wide bed. Digging loosens the soil and keeps it higher than surrounding ground if there is no foot or equipment traffic.


Advantages of raised-bed gardening

Better drainage
Growing plants in raised beds is a logical choice for gardeners with heavy, poorly drained soils. Raised beds permit plant roots to develop in soil held above water-logged or compacted zones. This provides a more optimum soil environment for root growth. As beds are built up, compost or other forms of organic matter may be incorporated, further improving soil structure, drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.
Higher yields
Better root growth from improved soils leads to higher yields for food crops and lusher growth of ornamental plantings. Also, intensive planting in raised beds means more plants can be grown in a smaller area than with conventional row-cropping techniques. No space is wasted between rows.
Expanded growing season
Better drainage speeds soil warming and allows earlier spring planting. In wet seasons, soil dries out faster, permitting planting to proceed between rains.
Maintenance
Because plants are growing above the level of walkways, less stooping is required for weeding, watering and other chores. Intensively planted raised beds provide dense foliage cover, shading out much weed growth.
Using difficult sites
Raised beds make gardening possible on sites where growing plants would otherwise be impossible. Rooftop gardens and raised beds on top of solid rock are examples. Terraced raised beds turn hillsides into productive growing areas while reducing soil erosion potential.
Types of raised beds

Temporary raised beds work well for many backyard vegetable gardeners. As the soil is tilled, it is loosened. If tillage equipment and foot traffic are kept off tilled beds, the loosened soil remains slightly raised above surrounding pathways. Adding compost or other organic matter to the bed raises it even farther (Figure 1).

The main advantage of temporary raised beds is their simplicity. No expense is involved in constructing framework to contain the soil. Temporary beds are less labor intensive to make than permanent beds. However, temporary beds flatten over the course of a growing season and require reconstruction the following year. Because there is no wall to contain the soil, it may erode from the top of the bed into walkways or down hillsides.

Permanent raised beds are more satisfactory for most situations. In the landscape, planting berms may be constructed by hauling in topsoil to create noise and traffic barriers as well as providing visual interest. When planted and mulched, berms need no edging to keep the soil in place. Walled raised beds may be used in the landscape or for vegetable gardens. Although there will be initial expense and labor in constructing walls for raised beds, the finished product should last for many years. Besides controlling erosion better than temporary beds, walled beds permit deep soil amendment. You may choose the wall construction materials to coordinate with other features in the landscape.

Figure 2
A grouping of barrels makes a convenient herb garden on the patio. Make certain that drainage is provided.

Construction materials

The choice of framework to use for walls depends on the availability and expense of the construction material, as well as the desired appearance of the final product in the landscape. Treated landscape timbers and used railroad ties are popular materials. Naturally rot-resistant lumber, such as redwood or cedar, may also be used. Other possibilities include concrete blocks, bricks and stones, or synthetic lumber made of recycled plastic. A group of half barrels can make a convenient raised bed for use on a patio (Figure 2). For a consistent look, match materials to those used elsewhere in the landscape.

Generally, wood-based products are less expensive than stone or masonry materials. However, resourceful gardeners may be able to find used bricks, concrete blocks or other materials at little or no cost.

Certain national gardening publications have raised concerns about the safety of using treated lumber in food gardens. Pressure-treated lumber uses CCA (chromated copper arsenate) or ACA (ammoniacal copper arsenate) as a preservative. However, studies done by Texas A&M Agricultural Extension Service showed insignificant movement of these compounds into surrounding soil. Pressure-treated lumber has no proven effect on plant growth or food safety. However, on Feb.12, 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a voluntary decision by the lumber industry to move consumer use of treated lumber products away from a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic by Dec. 31, 2003, in favor of new, alternative wood preservatives. Alkaline cooper quaternary (ACQ) is a relatively new wood treatment that is available in some areas of the country. This product is higher in copper than CCA but is free of arsenic.

Creosote, which is used to treat railroad ties, may cause injury or death to plants that come into direct contact with it. After a few years the effect diminishes. Old, discarded ties do not injure plants (Figure 3). However, injury may occur if ties are still oozing black, sticky creosote or smell intensely. If you are uncertain about the safety of treated lumber, place a heavy plastic liner between the treated lumber and soil used for growing plants to prevent direct contact of plant roots with the treated lumber. Be careful not to tear the plastic when tilling the bed.

Figure 3
Old railroad ties make a satisfactory raised bed if they are not oozing creosote, which could injure plants.

Raised-bed design

Raised beds take many forms, depending on the gardener's goals. Taming a hillside with terraces may require different bed dimensions than those used for flat-land vegetable gardens. On hillsides, follow the contour of the land and adjust the depth of beds according to the slope of the hill.

Typically, raised beds are laid out in a rectangular pattern. Level the area first to make a flat base for starting the building project.

A convenient width to use for beds is 4 feet. At this width, the center of the bed is easily accessible from either side. Lumber for constructing beds is readily available in 4-foot length multiples, minimizing the amount of sawing necessary and the amount of waste produced in building the bed. If the bed is accessible only from one side, limit the width to 3 feet. Most gardeners find it uncomfortable to reach farther than 3 feet to tend the bed.

The length of a raised bed is not critical. It is only limited by the dimensions of the yard. However, break up long distances into shorter beds. To prevent soil compaction, foot traffic and garden equipment such as wheelbarrows should not be permitted to go through the raised beds. For example, instead of building one long bed, breaking a 50-foot length into two 24-foot long beds with a 2-foot walkway between them will save gardeners many steps.

The depth of your raised beds is to a great extent up to your discretion. Most plants need at least a 6- to 12-inch rooting zone, but deeper would be better. With deep tillage, some of the rooting depth may come from soil at or below the existing grade. Beds built higher than 18 to 24 inches require retaining walls with foundations and supports, which are topics beyond the scope of this publication.

Stakes to hold raised-bed walls in place should be twice the height of the raised bed. Bury half the stake in firm ground. Leave half of the stake projecting above the ground as a support.

Figure 4
Landscape timbers make an attractive raised bed. Drill holes through the timbers to drive re-bar into the ground as far as the bed extends above ground.Hold landscape timbers and railroad ties in place with construction re-bar (Figure 4). Drill holes all the way through each layer every 4 feet, staying 6 to 8 inches in from the ends of timbers. Drive a length of construction re-bar through the holes and into the ground below. Tie individual layers together by driving spikes from one layer into the next.

Use decay-resistant wooden stakes to hold dimensional lumber such as 2 x 8s in place. If placed on the inside of the board, the stakes will not be visible once the bed is filled with soil.

For a unique-looking raised bed, cut landscape timbers or posts to uniform 1- to 3-foot lengths. Set the posts vertically in the ground, half buried and half above ground.

Figure 5
Stacked concrete blocks make a simple raised bed. For greater stability, offset the layers of blocks.

For raised beds less than 2 feet tall, stones or cement blocks may be stacked on top of one another without mortar or footings (Figure 5). Carefully place irregularly shaped stones to enhance the stability of the wall. Offset seams and gaps from one layer to the next to help tie the wall together. You may use mortar for greater strength.

Make pathways between raised beds wide enough for easy access to beds. For foot traffic only, 1-foot wide paths are adequate. However, keep in mind that plants at the border of raised beds will hang over the edge, cutting into the available walk space. To allow room for a wheelbarrow or garden cart, plan on 2- to 3-foot wide walkways. To conserve space, one option is to make most paths narrow, occasionally adding a wider path for access with garden equipment.

Several additional design features increase the convenience of raised beds. Seating can be made on the edges of wooden raised beds by capping the walls with a 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 inch board. If you regularly use a roto-tiller for tilling the beds, ramps into the raised beds save heavy lifting. Hollow pipes attached to the inside wall and spaced regularly along raised beds double as support posts for spring and fall season-extending cold frames or summer trellises for vine crops.

To make a raised bed wheelchair accessible, construct walls about 2 feet high and limit the width of the bed to about 3 feet (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Raised beds can be made wheelchair accessible by making the walls about 2 feet tall and limiting the width of the bed to about 3 feet.


Soil mix

Good quality existing topsoil may be used in raised beds. However, add additional organic matter to soils with a high clay or sand content. Peat moss, compost and decomposed manures are good sources of organic matter.

To take full advantage of the deep rooting potential with raised beds, the base soil should be worked up by roto-tilling or hand digging before bringing in additional soil. Many gardeners double dig beds.

Figure 7
To double dig prior to establishing a raised bed, remove all the soil from the bed one spade's depth. Dig the next layer down, leaving the soil in place. Return the topsoil to the bed and thoroughly mix the layers. Double digging permits deeper rooting by plants growing in the bed.

Double digging involves removing the topsoil the depth of a spade, setting the soil aside and then loosening the subsoil another spade's depth (Figure 7). Finally, the topsoil is returned with added amendments, such as compost, manure or fertilizers. This labor-intensive soil preparation method provides an excellent rooting zone for plants. However, less-intensive methods also permit satisfactory plant growth.

Avoid hauling in new layers of soil without mixing them into existing soil. Distinct layers of soil create barriers through which water will not readily penetrate and roots will not easily grow.

Maintenance of raised beds

Soil in raised beds warms faster and dries out more quickly than soil at ground level. In spring and fall, these traits are desirable. But through the heat of summer, soil temperatures are higher and drying in raised beds is faster than in surrounding soil.

Use of organic mulches, such as straw or hay, in vegetable gardens or wood chips placed on landscape fabric weed barriers around ornamental plantings helps combat both problems. Soil temperatures are lower under organic mulches, less water is lost through evaporation, and weed growth is suppressed. Use irrigation to supplement natural rainfall during dry periods. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation may be placed directly on the bed. Overhead sprinklers can also be used, but because they wet foliage they are more likely to spread diseases.

For vegetable gardens at the end of the growing season plant residue can be tilled into the soil, adding organic matter. Additional compost may be added before successive plantings. Over time, the soil may become improved enough so little additional tillage will be necessary.

Fertilization of plants grown in raised beds is similar to that of plants grown conventionally. For most crops, a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 applied at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet is satisfactory. Organic fertilizers and manures may also be used. For more specific fertilizer suggestions, rely on recommendations based on soil tests.

This guide was developed by Denny Schrock, former extension associate, Department of Horticulture.
G6985, reviewed March 2003

#2 Ben Dover

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Very nice prism. Those are good tips indeed, thanks for posting.

Be sure to post some pics when you get the ball rolling :)

#3 Sidestreet

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:44 AM

:cool:

"To date, the driving force behind the current revival has been gardeners, bloggers and journalists--the federal government has yet to formally engage with the effort."

The feds may not have engaged directly to promote "Victory" gardens, but they do provide grants and programs like Americorps that put people to work on community gardening efforts.

---

Raised beds are nice. They look good and they produce like crazy if you fill them with high-quality compost. I did intensive vegetable gardening in raised beds for a year, which means if the seed pack called for 1 foot between seeds, we planted every six inches or less! It gets crowded in there, but as long as everything gets enough light you'll pull great harvests out of these beds.

#4 myceliummatt

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 10:08 AM

Awesome, post Prism!

#5 GodofOldGodsWatching

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:22 PM

Raised beds are nice. They look good and they produce like crazy if you fill them with high-quality compost. I did intensive vegetable gardening in raised beds for a year, which means if the seed pack called for 1 foot between seeds, we planted every six inches or less! It gets crowded in there, but as long as everything gets enough light you'll pull great harvests out of these beds.

For some reason ive never really gotten into the spirit of raised beds. I guess I dont see the appeal really, unless you've got extremely poor soil or are really really limited for space. Id rather have my plants cycling through and building a really strong base of soil on my property than not.

That being said I have seen some very impressive raised set ups, so to each his own!

Be careful what you're putting in your compost though, all. Compost can certainly be a miracle mixture as described but it needs an input of a variety of materials and green manures.

#6 Theodore Blass

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:32 PM

Want a nice variety of basil?

#7 omentheduck

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:27 PM

Awesome Share friend,

another way of doing raised bed, i don't think I saw it up there, is to use hay bales, just throw some dirt on top of um, it worked awesome for me, I'll try it again this year and get some pics!


#8 Sidestreet

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:09 AM

For some reason ive never really gotten into the spirit of raised beds. I guess I dont see the appeal really, unless you've got extremely poor soil or are really really limited for space. Id rather have my plants cycling through and building a really strong base of soil on my property than not.


I agree with you 100%, I'd rather grow in the ground too, but raised beds are really good for people in urban areas, or those who are growing just a little.

#9 MrChen

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:00 AM

I agree with you 100%, I'd rather grow in the ground too, but raised beds are really good for people in urban areas, or those who are growing just a little.


Just because you are in a raised bed doesn't mean you aren't using the ground too. Remember roots go deep. :) Raised beds are also a great way to help against erosion etc.

You can do terracing along with raised beds and reclaim areas that you could never grow on.

C20M2klein.jpg

I want to start a Victory/English garden this year as well. Now if only it would stop snowing. :horse:

#10 Stoned Angel

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:48 AM

I like the idea of raised beds for my backs sake. I'm a traditional girl and will keep mine on the ground. Prob when I'm older I'll have less plans for my huge farm/garden and when I keep it smaller, raised beds will be the way to go.

#11 prism

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:01 AM

I have had gardens in the ground in years past and the clay laden soil is killing me. I am wanting something like this... as my garden is very similar in size...

http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296835239

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#12 prism

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:05 AM

Want a nice variety of basil?


Sure!! :bow:

#13 Mrs.Hippie3

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:09 AM

im gonna do my garden the ghetto way this year. i have a shit load of tires that i will be filling with soil and planting potatoes and carrots in. come harvest time all i will have to do is turn the tire over and dig through the dirt to collect my veggies. i can only handle a small garden so i wont be planting as much this year. my soil is piss poor around here too so i gotta get a bunch of hpoo from my neighbor to till into my soil for my tomatoes and peppers.

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#14 Bobcat

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:58 PM

Call the tree trimmers, too, Mah, they often deliver for free! At least in my neck of the woods... And I like your style. That's the ONLY way to grow potatoes, imo. In the ground is way too much work. And there can be more loss, too.

Gardening in general, I like raised beds and lasagna gardening more than soil.

#15 Freaky

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:49 PM

my mom lasagna gardens in her flower beds, works very very well for her.

I'm thinking of starting my dad on some raised beds slowly for the lower growing vegetables. This will help him with less weeding and he won't have to bend over to weed or pick the vegetables. He's got a little stool he takes into the garden, but he's still bending over. So I'm thinking some raised beds and his garden seat will be for more comfortable gardening for him.

#16 prism

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:06 PM

Wow!! Just looked into the lasagna garden and that is a winner for sure. I think I will be doing that because it costs nothing to implement.

Thanks Guys!



CpfB6lkbSwc

#17 Bobcat

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:06 PM

Thats a great video! Made me think of bales....

You can use straw or hay bales as walls to your raised bed as well. By next spring, they are great to mulch into your beds, or even grow plants right out of. And you replace with new bales. And best of all, no hammering required!

http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296857070


http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296857146


http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296857530


http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296857530


http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1296857530


... not my pics.

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Edited by Bobcat, 04 February 2011 - 05:15 PM.

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#18 prism

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 09:08 AM

Yeah I saw that too. Very cool stuff... one wonders if you could inoculate the straw bales with mushrooms and have edible mush as well...

I bet oysters would rage!

#19 Bobcat

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

Yep! But not pleurotus species. Pleurotus ostreatus has been shone to limit growth of living plants via their metabolites (piss).

Hypsizygus ulmarius and possibly tessalutus would be great. I've always wondered about paddy straw mushrooms. Stamets has done work with H.u. as well as King Stropharia and Shaggy manes. I would think there would be many many types that would do well in the garden. Including some psillies.

#20 prism

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:34 PM

Including some psillies.



But of course!




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