Raised bed advice


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Hi,

I'm about to build a raised bed, 5m (16') long by 1.2m (4') wide and am just wondering if that is too wide?
i'll have access to both sides and am thinking of fitting in 4 rows of vegetable plants here.
will that be ok?

it will be a mix of peas, carrots, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and short sunflowers.
the raised bed will also have a hoop tunnel on it covered with fiber cloth and will have a drip hose going along each row.
or would one drip hose between the rows be enough?

another question is that the 'raised' part is just going to be a 45x220 (2" x 9") frame just on top of the existing grass.
should i remove the grass first or keep it or keep AND put down a ground cloth?
please note that the grass layer is only about 10cm thick then there is a bunch of old coal underneath.
seems they had an old kolmila (charcoal kiln) right next to our house way back in the day and sadly, this is the only area we have to put the garden.

Thanks!
 
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I put mine right on top of the grass and put weed barrier down before adding the dirt.
start of raised beds july 2016 (2).JPG
Raised bed so far.JPG
 

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My raised beds are all 4’ wide. It doesn’t present any problems for me but I’m tall and can reach far. With little soaker hoses I’ve used 3-4 lanes before to help water faster and more evenly but you could probably get away with 2.

As for weed barrier, I don’t recommend it. Even if you attempt to keep the bed topped off, you’ll inevitably put plants in that hit the bottom with roots. And over time your added ingredients will penetrate further downwards, making use of the extra 10 cm. Things like tomatoes and watermelons will use that space.
 
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If you opt cor weed barrier, go for the thin stuff like I used. It will last long enough to kill the grass. And it puncyures easily.

My fomatoes, and other plants grew marvellouslyand there were no issue with roots being too shallow.
 
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See I plant my tomatoes at the bottom of the bed, 10-12” down. They tear into everything and make new roots all the way up. Individual climate makes a difference too. My beds collapse at 1” a month in the warm months and I can’t possibly keep up with adding enough material. It can get 120 out in my garden in July/Aug. Weed cloth just doesn’t work in my situation.
 
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I lived in Alaska for about 7 years and New York for 20. There’s a reason I avoided gardening most of my life. It’s 70 here today and my tomatoes are hardening on the deck. Once you dip your toes into zone 8, there’s no turning back.

I avoid anything that Mel the square foot gardening guy recommends like the plague. When I first started I used weedcloth under my beds and other ideas of his like using 1/3 perlite for a gardening mix. My tomatoes would put on like 5 per plant and get 3 or 4 feet tall. Now my tomatoes grow over my head by July and I get dozens per plant. Removing the weed barrier, adding more ingredients to my mix, and burying my tomatoes 12” made a huge difference.
 
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Never heard of Mel. My toms also grow to over 8 ft. Weedcloth is for limited use, I agree. But you really shouldn't be so stubborn about other's opinions. No wonder you didn't garden in your previous colder zones :ROFLMAO:

Adversity creates flexibility and creativity :)
 
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I had a botanist tell me it’s a bad idea because it divorces the biological process. So I flipped 15 raised beds over and ripped it all out by hand. Then my garden improved dramatically that year and has ever since. It would be hard for me to not be biased against it, given my experience.

Can you grow stuff with weed cloth under your bed? Sure. But I see it as a potential handicap and money that could be used elsewhere. That said, each situation is unique and some folks may have a good reason for it. I don’t see weeding as a good reason though but perhaps some have invasive grasses?

I hate Mel. There’s a much longer story to it than that but his books are setup to give beginning level gardeners frustration and disappointment. My passionate hatred for his ideas comes from my own negative experiences and my desire for others to avoid a similar outcome of wasted money and time.

For example, there is absolutely no good reason to tell entry level gardeners to fill their raised beds with 1/3 vermiculite. That is an environmentally bad choice with potential health risks, not to mention extremely expensive.
 
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You live in zone 8. Totallyy different from the newbie and I with a shorter growing season.

My raised beds are happily live with worms and other beneficial friends of Mother Nature. Spening 5 bucks on cheapie cloth to get started is a small consideration. It disintegrates. Mine did in less than 1.5 seasons but it did it's job. There is no grass there... unless I miss when spreading new seed. :p got some in my asparagus bed by accident ... DOH!

The joys of weeding will always be there:D
 
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See mine was more permanent and I realize weedcloth is cheap. If it disintegrated in 2 seasons then it’s not a big deal. Mine was 4 years old when I tore it up and kept a perfect line of clay at the bottom of my beds. Now there’s an extra 4-5 inches of soil below the bed.

I threw my wife’s asparagus into the compost because of the weedcloth incident because I had no way to improve their positioning. They were sunk to the bottom of the beds on top of the weed cloth and were performing very poor. I had asparagus coming out of my compost bin for 2 months after that, lol.

Also many of my beds were biologically dead, due to the extreme heat, weedcloth, and poor soil mix. Adding 1/3 perlite was not helping matters any.
 
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I have a small asparagus bed too. I was a bit lazy and placed it in an already established garden so no issues there but as the snow melts, I can see grass sprouting in there so will still have to weed - doh!

Looks like we all have unique challenges. I had to shovel my way to the greenhouse yesterday...
 
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Well, we've still got snow on the ground... and I was just trying to offer "zone appropriate" advice. Sweden is about the same zone for hardiness as I am. :)

Hello CanadianLori!
Although i live in sweden, i'm originally from Canada, cool eh :)

Thanks for sharing your advice and pics! gave me a great idea how to put up a mini fence around mine.
Although i have to say, we live in the forest and have deer, moose, wild pigs, hare, fox and badgers around so not sure if a little fence would really work if they are determined.
 
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