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Thread: OT: raised garden beds

  1. #1
    Super Member rushdoggie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    I am planning on making some raised beds along a part of my yard that is very heavy with annoying perennial weeds and rocks. The area is along the fence line and between 8' and 10' wide. My plan is to build 3 raised 10'x4' beds end to end along the fence line which will support some blueberry bushes, some veggies and possibly a dwarf fruit tree.

    The ground is very rocky and there are very thick-stemmed, tenacious weeds there. I am going to log in some back breaking hours shoveling up some of the weeds and rocks. I plan on laying black plastic in the areas around the beds, held down with concrete pavers (I just bought a huge pile of used ones from Craigslist for a pittance) with mulch in between. Alan (DH) is making me 12" raised beds and will bring me a yard of garden soil and compost from the nearby garden center.

    My question is, what can I put under the soil in the beds to help keep the huge weeds from growing up? I will try to dig some out, but the reality is these are huge weeds and very persistent and the likelihood that I can dig out every bit of every plant is low.

    I have read that landscape cloth will work, but I don't think I want
    something the bushes and plants I put it can't grow through. I have
    read newspaper will help smother the weeds and will gradually
    decompose allowing the plants through.

    What do you all think? I am in a bit of a rush because the growing
    season is upon us so I'd love to be able to grow a little something
    this year.

  2. #2
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Blog Entries
    You cut a small hole in the landscape cloth and plant the things you want to grow into those small holes. Then you cover the cloth with mulch and wallah you will have a lovely garden. Very few if any weeds will come up, but if so they are easily manageable.

  3. #3
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Behind my sewing machine
    Blog Entries
    We use lawn clippings as mulch in our veggie garden. it works great for preventing weeds.

  4. #4
    Super Member
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    May 2009
    Merced, CA
    Blog Entries
    My late DH, a nurseryman, put down copper screen in the bottom of pots of plants he didn't want to get out and run all over the planting beds. Plants (and slugs/snails) do NOT like copper. Expensive, but lasts for many years.

  5. #5
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    North Carolina
    We just did a raised bed on a rocky, weedy patch of land. It's the first year, so I dunno how we'll fare but I'm doubting any weeds stand a chance.

    DH ran the mower across the weeds, so they were not tall. Pulling would not have helped, they would have just broken off due to the rocks/clay.

    Built the bed w/ 2x12x10ft boards for length, 6 ft 6 inch width, or whatever the height of a screen door is. Screwed 2 boards interiorly, so there is actually 3 sections. Two of them are covered with screens so I don't have to spray chemicals.

    Doubled up landscaping fabric at the bottom, used a few staples to prevent it from sliding around when he tossed dirt in there.

    Bought 50-50 mix of topsoil and compost from the local guy.

    Just added seeds a few days ago, so dunno how this is gonna turn out. Had an existing bed that we raised up by a couple wood timbers and added the 50-50 mix in there, and planted tomatoes and peppers a few WEEKS ago, and they're doing great!

    ALSO have a section that was getting super-weedy last year so we just put doubled landscape fabric and mulch over it and did the hole-cutting thing and put plants in a couple weeks ago. THAT seems to be doing great. That was just done with fill dirt though...

  6. #6
    Senior Member mamahippychicky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    New Zealand
    I usually put down a really thick layer of newspaper when making the raised garden beds and cover with the soil/compost mix. I've never had any problems. Happy Gardening :)

  7. #7
    Super Member jeaninmaine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Maine, Where else!
    This sounds like a neat way to start a garden bed, but you have to do it in the fall.


    I'm planning on trying it around the edge of my yard which is the only place I have grass. Everywhere else is little flowers and wild strawberry plants.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I live just north of you by a couple of hours. Built 3 raised beds early last yr, 4.5'x14'.
    It was recommended to use cardboard covered by thick newspaper. I have not had ANY weeds come up through the beds. As the newspaper /cardboard breaks down by worm action, the weeds die. You'll love your beds.

    If I could figure out how to attach a picture I'll show you.

    oh, I did not make mine in the fall, but this time of year, planted quite a few veggies and they came up fine. Even got to overwinter onions.

  9. #9
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    chicago, IL
    I just filled mine this past week..I used almost all of a Sunday newspaper as the layer to keep back the weeds

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Out searching for some sunshine :-)
    Blog Entries
    If the weeds are very invasive, I would use one or two layers of landscape cloth. Cut holes for the trees and bushes like already suggested.

    I have had weeds grow underneath the side of the raised bed and burrow up to the top :roll:

    Cardboard, newspapers, etc.. work very well around these beds, as it is easy to get in to replace them periodically :D:D:D

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