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Ultimate Raised Beds? 
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Sprout

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:07 am
Posts: 18
Location: Canberra
Post Ultimate Raised Beds?
We're looking at adding some garden beds, and might go for it with some serious raised beds. We've got a dead flat backyard and quite a bit of room, so the sky's the limit.

So, what would be your ultimate garden bed arrangement? We've got some vague requirements, but they're all negotiable:
Raised beds, mostly to improve the ergonomics, but also high enough to keep ducks out of the beds
Something to stop the bloody grass growing in from the sides, as the lawn will run along side them

And I think that's probably it. So, what materials would you use? How high? Sizes? One gigantic bed filling the whole area or a dozen long ones, two rows wide? Line the bottom with plastic to keep the grass out? Install a pump-out sump to collect the irrigation water and nutrients?

Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

EB

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Last edited by evcricket on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:58 pm
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Green Thumb

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 545
Location: Primrose Valley, NSW
Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
Sounds like fun! :D

I would go many, but narrow beds - we had a few wide ones and it was a pain in the butt to reach in for stuff, or to jump in and avoid the plants.

We had some that were 2 railway sleepers high, and others that we made by pulling apart old pallets and were about 40-50cm high

Never had a problem with grass coming through, we put wet newspaper in the bottom and then layers of soil, straw, compost etc.

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Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:57 pm
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:30 pm
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Location: gold coast
Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
G'day Evcricket, nice flat land u say ... First of all I must say I'm jealous !! Planning first will avoid disappointment later down the track , so make sure u work out your requirements first , I would be drawing up your size plot dividing it into sections that take into account that some fruit and veg that are permanent ( uninterrupted beds like for asparagus , raspberries , strawberries. And fruit trees. Etc. Work out what you want to grow and how much you need to support your family , some people may just start off with one bed and gradually add, the next person might put in the whole lot in one go ( good if you can get a working bee at your place). The other important considerations is that your gardens need about. 6 hours sunlight a day to thrive and your garden soil should be about 30 cm deep preferably loamy soil if your importing. I would use sleepers with a concrete boarder or just remove grass surrounding and place mulch around / gravel for easy maintenance. Make sure your garden has flowering plants as well to attract bees into your garden for pollination and including a water sourse for birds/ lizards you can knock down the numbers of predators considerably... Good luck with your design let us know what u decide to do. Cheers

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Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:16 pm
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Sprout

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:07 am
Posts: 18
Location: Canberra
Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
These look like the most promising so far:
http://www.egipps.vic.gov.au/Files/23wi ... eds-jm.pdf

Not a great article, but I read a good one in Green Architecture magazine.

It's a raised bed with a reservoir underneath, so the plants are potected a bit on hot days. Would be fantastic in Canberra, where frequently the hot days in summer knock the plants around.

I'll keep reading.

EB

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Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:32 am
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:57 pm
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Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
I have to agree with what has already been said - knowing what you need from your garden is important so that you can design it accordingly.

We have raised beds my dad built years ago. They are around four normal house bricks high. Personally, I find them the wrong height - too low to bend for and too high to sit on the ground next to them. I know someone who bought the metal ones that look like water tanks and has been really pleased with the height of them in terms of being easier on the body when gardening.

I think aesthetics are important too - at least for me. Long term I would probably have low beds - one or two sleepers - made into long narrow beds so that there isn't anything you can't reach. Then I'd put wood chips down between them all so its all neat and not too much maintenance.

You might also want to consider if you will need/want to put plastic over any of these beds to create a small poly tunnel or green house. That may or may not have an impact on the design of the bed so you have something to attach it to.

You might also consider putting a fence in so that dogs, rabbits etc can't get in as easily. That said, you may still need to consider possums and birds!


Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:57 am
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Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
The primary school my daughter went to had a series of those "tank" style beds put in about waist high. They certainly looked great! But they do have a fairly heftyprice tag though.

The wicking style beds I think is a great idea. I saw an article about them in ReNew magazine last year. If you like Ill try and find it and send you a copy of the article.

Definantly do a good plan of what you want and dont make the beds any wider than you can reach accross. I have one against a fence that was here when I bought the house and its too wide to reach accross which means I have to get in it to tend the plants etc on the far side.

New beds I have added if they are a long a fence I have made them quiet narrow and those that have good access all round Ive made wider.

Here is a plan I drew of my propsed garden - I just used Sketchup to do it. So far I have 4 of the beds built and the chook yard.

Image

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Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:15 pm
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Enthusiastic Gardner

Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:13 pm
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Post Re: Ultimate Raised Beds?
How is the planning going evcricket?

I am in the process of redesigning my garden area.
I currently have 2 3x3m beds and one 9x1m bed.
The log skinny is great to work in, but the other 2 are too much of a headache, so in the next year or 2 (finances depending) I will knock them out, they are concrete, and rebuild the entire area to better accommodate the chickens and fruit trees and future plans.

I also have the joy of designing an area for the in-laws that moved to Binalong a year or so ago.
So many options when you start with a clean slate.

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Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:54 pm
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