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My wife insists on having a raised bed garden next year. We have a space that's 44'x38'. It is very rocky so I guess raised beds would be mandatory. Even with beds that were 10'x5', that would be 18 beds with 60' of 1x6's each! Plus the costs of the 4x4's for the corners and the middle. Anyone got any better ideas?
 

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That's a lot of beds! With the high cost of lumber, I opted to use hardwood tree sections for the front and back of our raised beds. The sides are lumber nailed onto the ends of the logs. They don't last forever but they are free and easily replaced. How about rocks? Not many rocks around here but along the Clearwater river maybe you can build stone beds. I got caught once taking old railroad ties from an abandoned railroad bed for this purpose so I do can't recommend that.

Maybe I am slow but I do not understand the math. 44' x 38' with 10'x5' beds and a 3 foot space to walk between the beds would be a lot less than 18 beds. Maybe 5 full size beds and room for a scattering of some smaller beds?
 

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Trust me Scruggs....I got rocks. What I need is graph paper to figure this out lol. I like the log idea, i'll have to see if I can get some.
 
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BowHunter
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I simply used lodgepole rounds in 8-12 foot lengths, the dirt rises higher than the border,but seems to be no problem,I cut the wood myself.
 

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My wife insists on having a raised bed garden next year. We have a space that's 44'x38'. It is very rocky so I guess raised beds would be mandatory. Even with beds that were 10'x5', that would be 18 beds with 60' of 1x6's each! Plus the costs of the 4x4's for the corners and the middle. Anyone got any better ideas?
This is what I did for my wife….it paid off in more ways than one.:D:


 

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Mother of One.
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Go driving around and find some old railroad ties and throw them in the back of a pick up. Railroad ties are everywhere if you just look for them. Or you use some rocks like someone above suggested.

More small beds where you can easily reach all of the plants are better than one big bed you have to climb through during harvest.

Also, don't think that you can get this all done in one weekend. You'll be really mad when that weekend's over and everything still looks a mess.
 

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Krazy Kitty
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OK I get it now. Yep, Maine surely is rocky. If you don't care what it looks like, how about used tires or bathtubs? But then where would you get the dirt? It would be awfully expensive to buy it.
 

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We made 4 raised beds from concrete blocks. Each bed is 4 feet square. We filled them with prepared vegetable garden soil from Lowes. You can plant border flowers in the holes in the blocks (such as Marigolds) and then lay out the rest of the area into 1 sq. ft. grids. We also built some trellis sections using electrical conduit and plastic garden fencing for climbing/tall plants. We also use premade tomato cages for our tomatoes as they grew to over 7 feet tall and were very heavy when full of those beautiful red tomatoes.

The problem with wood is that it can rot, and you do not want to use wood that has any preservatives in it that could contaminate your food crops. So that rules out pressure treated wood and railroad ties, etc.

Ken in Glassboro, NJ
 

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OK I get it now. Yep, Maine surely is rocky. If you don't care what it looks like, how about used tires or bathtubs? But then where would you get the dirt? It would be awfully expensive to buy it.
Bathtubs would be awful, lest you drill some holes through it, but tires are indeed perfect! Granted, they're ugly as sin and don't biodegrade, they are easy to get free, don't require too much soil, and retain heat very well. They'd be particularly well-suited to a foundation wall you'd like to insulate or even draw heat to.

I've used many an odd container over the years. I actually thought the old tractor-tire garden looked pretty cute once planted, with all the greens spilling over the edges.
 

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Each of your beds can be at least 32 square feet if you stick with standard lumber. Get cedar boards that are 8' long; two for each long side, one each for each short side. Cut the two for the short sides in half; that's two 4' pieces for each end. Use cedar 2 x 4s for the corners, and get screws that won't rust and have big heads so they won't tear out [I got what looks like a screw with a washer built into the head]. Put a 2 x 4 vertical brace midway on the long ends.

Your wife is correct that raised beds are the way to go. My soil is clay and sand and rocks, and I do raised beds for fruit and veg.
 

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Trump=WhiteObama=BlkBush
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Your wife is correct that raised beds are the way to go. My soil is clay and sand and rocks, and I do raised beds for fruit and veg.
How well do the raised beds work for you for fruit trees? In northeast Oklahoma we just don't have topsoil. In my 3 acres, I have about a 40' x 40' square that is even tillable. I'm planning raised beds and have been toying with the idea of doing it for an orchard as well.
 

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My Temperature is Right
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to be honest if you want to do rows make them 2 feet wide as long as you want. Two feet deep is comfortable stoop labor after that you're stretching even if you work from each side there will be spots you miss in a long 4 foot wide row. 4x4 squares work because you can reach 2 feet in from each side. Rows are easier to till though and you can makeup powered cultivator and stuff to do large amounts of raised beds. Hand tilling a garden waxes poetic but gets old when you have to do it all day long every day.
 

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Raised bed warning

I am seeing alot of people suggesting railroad ties and treated lumber as in the pictures above. This is a HUGE NO NO!!!


I would never plant a garden that I planned to eat surronded by crosote lumber or treated lumber, think of all that stuff going into your ground.

Use untreated lumber, and logs of your property, never treated!!!
 

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Late to the party but for those who haven't made a raised bed yet I have another option. I have seen people buy bags of garden soil, plop it on the ground, cut the top of the bag open and start gardening from there. They continue to bring in new bags for each growing season and in time they have a raised gardening area (don't forget to remove the old bags).

The next raised garden I do will have cement blocks lining the area (it will be fenced in due to deer) and then I was going to dump new soil into the space where I can rake it into different planting mounds.

Note: you clean dirt in your home, you grow plants in soil. :)
 

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Untreated pine will probably last 5 years in direct contact with the soil. Even if it rots, enough to maintain the shape of the bed will likely last. If we still have an economy then, you can always consider cedar at that time.
 
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