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First time raising a garden??

wkygrillerwkygriller Posts: 408
edited 3:58AM in Off Topic
With a recent change at work I wont be traveling much any more :woohoo:. I have always wanted to do a garden, but my wife always said no because she knew I wouldn't be home to take care of it. I have been looking into square foot gardening in raised beds. Has anyone done these before with success? My thought is 4 raised cedar beds 4'x8' and 30" tall.


  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    You want to do 4 beds each 4x8? That would be a big garden. What all are you planning to grow.

    I have one that is 8x16 (so basically 2 of what you are proposing) and I can do enough tomatoes, cukes, yellow squash, bell peppers, jalapenos, and okra to keep us happy. I just built mine out of 6x6 landscape timbers then backfilled over the red georgia clay with some potting mix, loose fill, and cow manure. I compost most of the yard and garden waste and till that in every fall.
  • One bed will be just broccoli and cauliflower. We plan on doing several herbs, tomatoes, peppers, squash, peas, cucumbers and a couple other things. I am using cedar because I have tons of it we had milled from our farm. I will be using loose fill, potting soil and horse manure (with 5 horses there is always plenty).
  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917
    I have a raised bed garden about 8x30 made of those concrete wall stones. I find that 8 ft is a little to wide. I grow a few tomatoes, peppers, lots of pole beans squash and cukes. I also have six Earth type boxes that are very productive. Wll be trying some corn this year.I Compost and try to go as organic as possible and have about six rain barrels.

    Wish I had your horse manure ;)

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    You're close enough to stike that you should be able to get all the horsesh!t you need. You can probably get more than you care for from just a quick phone call with him.
  • Hahaha....just point the phone at the garden and it will be like the rainforest


    Caledon, ON


  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917
    Why didn't I think of that! Ha ha ha Thanks :whistle:
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    I have 3 raised beds attached to my deck. They are much smaller though. I think about 4*4. They still were large enough to grow peppers, tomatoes, (tried and failed with onions and carrots this year), as well as a bunch of herbs.

    Raised beds are great. I've produced quite a bit of food from ours. Enjoy.
  • I'm a pretty avid gardener and do a lot of veggie gardening. I'm also a master gardener which really only means I know where to look up answers to questions. ;)

    8" long is fine. The longer the better, imo. 4" wide - what you want to consider is reaching in to get to the center. I assume you can reach in from both sides, so the most you are reaching is 2". If you have a bad back or anyone working the beds does, you might want to reconsider that width. Otherwise, it sounds great.

    Yes, it's a bit of room, but you'll always want/need more than you have. Especially if you want to put in any perennial type veggies, such as asparagus.

    Anything like squash, melons, pumpkins, takes up a lot of room. And if you want to do any canning or freezing for winter use, then you'll want to plant a lot.

    I didn't look to see where you live, but the soil in raised beds will warm up sooner, so if you life in a cool weather area, you'll be able to plant a bit sooner.

    If you have any specific questions, let me know. It's always good to find which varieties do well in your area and start with those. I also have a really good 'recipe' for soil amendments, so if you're interested in that, shoot me an email.

    Be sure your horse manure is well composted and free of weed seeds.
  • Gwen,

    I plan on putting in a raised garden in the spring. You mention it will warm faster. Would it cool faster in the fall making things susceptible to frost?
    Our season is quite short and I am interested in things like chilis and tomatillos.



    Caledon, ON


  • Steve, I've always felt they stayed warmer longer, but you raise a good question. It stands to reason they might cool off faster. I did some searching and could only find this - - which says they stay warmer longer. So I would go ahead and give them a try.

    You have even a shorter growing season than I do, so you're really limited. I think you would be okay for tomatillos. For peppers, you might want to consider growing in straw bales. You can really get going sooner because you can manually get the straw bales to heat up. Do a google search for straw bale gardening and you'll find tons of info.

    You can also put growing fabric over your plants to extend the season. It's fairly easy to do with raised beds and some pvc pipe.

    One problem we have in Washington is besides the short growing season, it doesn't really get that hot here. It's my opinion that we'll never have a great tomato here because you need sun as well as heat. So you can forcefully extend the season all you want, but without the heat and sun, we'll never get great tomatoes. Washington can produce decent tomatoes and people around here who have never had a great tomato will think Washington tomatoes are good, but they really aren't!

    So I don't know how hot it gets where you are, but for those heat-loving plants, besides getting a jump on the season, I think you almost have to do the hoop thingies to get the heat.

    Altho last summer where we barely had any sun at all, a friend of mine had chili peppers all over the place.

    I actually had volunteer tomatillos two years ago and didn't really do anything with them as I didn't know what to do. I had a decent tomato crop that year and made a lot of good sauce but imo they weren't the fabulous eating tomatoes I was used to in California.

    At least we get the long days here. Which you do as well, and probably even longer than our days.
  • dimples mom is right on about the horse manure, however i would like to know how you determine it is free of weed seeds :evil:
    horse manure in my experience has weed seeds and you find out when the weeds grow!
    it should be very well composted,
    i highly recommend you make your soil and send a sample to your land grant school [extension service] penn state here $9 for a sample JL says in Arkansas it is free
    you will be glad you did..
  • Gwen,

    Thank you. I have grown tomatiilos before (in an garden that was on the east side of the house) with good results. Chilis are a real problem here. I actually have boiler lines out where I'm planning the garden and was thinking of running them underneath to protect against frost. Have been looking at greenhouses too.



    Caledon, ON


  • Well, the way you determine that is to make sure your compost pile gets hot enough. You'll need a compost thermometer and you want to get it up between 135 and 150.
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