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Thread: OT: raised garden beds

  1. #1
    Super Member rushdoggie's Avatar
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    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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    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
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    We use lawn clippings as mulch in our veggie garden. it works great for preventing weeds.

  4. #4
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    This sounds like a neat way to start a garden bed, but you have to do it in the fall.

    http://organicgardening.about.com/od...apergarden.htm

    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
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    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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    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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    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

  11. #11
    Super Member rushdoggie's Avatar
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    Excellent! I am very excited, both because I am happy to be finally fixing up the backyard and because I love fresh veggies and I will finally be able to have some.

    We bought this place in early 2008 and we had work to do inside, then I did the front yard, so its wonderful to finally get to my backyard.

    Front yard is looking good this year!

    [img]http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...2_224680_n.jpg[/img]

  12. #12
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    I would lay lanscape cloth down and cut tiny holes for the plants. I have a friend who does that and she has no weeds.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Alex J's Avatar
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    I used landscaping cloth many years ago, I want to say over 10 years ago. Its been about 2 year now that I have had to weed it, and itís what growing on top of the mulch. This year what I going to do is take it all out and till the land and reapply the landscaping. I would encourage you to first add a thick layer of news paper over the weeds a layer or two of landscaping material then add your soil and compose plant your plants if you want to cover them with a layer of landscaping material or news paper with the news paper you can replant a different plant next year, then you mulch. Have fun!!

  14. #14
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamahippychicky
    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 :)
    I've used the newspaper weedblock method quite a few times and it really works. Found a Sunday editon of the New York Times worked great, first I pull out abut 10 or 12 sheets, wet them with the hose and then laid them them overl the weeds and rock before adding your garden soil.

  15. #15
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Weeds grow through our landscape cloth and the pebbles we have on top of it...

  16. #16
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    Spray the area with round up and leave about a week. You keen to spray when it will not rain for 24 hours. This will kill the weeds. I have two raised beds and I live them. It is so much easier to garden.

  17. #17
    Senior Member JSNOMORE's Avatar
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    Lay a very thick layer of newspaper down and soak it with water. The weeds can't get through and it will compost later.

  18. #18
    Senior Member abc123retired's Avatar
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    I was told by a landscaper that landscaping fabric doesn't work for planting areas and that is true in my yard. Weeds grow right through it. It does a fairly good job in my dry creek area. Use cardboard and old newspaper.

  19. #19
    Super Member lass's Avatar
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    Use 12 layers of newspaper before you lay the landscape cloth. The nenwspaper will become part of the soil,enriching it and kill anything it is laying on top of. I never dug any beds in my yard for years. Just layed the newspaper, covered with mulch (pretty heavy first year - 4-5 inches) and then planted. Usually I did this in early march or a warm day in late Feb. Was able then to plant in May with no problems. I have even done the process and not planted for a year. The weeds get killed and the mulch makes it hard for them to come back.

  20. #20
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jitkaau
    Weeds grow through our landscape cloth and the pebbles we have on top of it...
    Same here. I have had landscape fabric down and planted in it; did this 12-13 years ago. The irises and daylilies grew into it , so I couldn't did them up and divide them . And the weed seeds and tree seeds fall on top of it and plant themselves. Makes it hard to pull them out.

  21. #21
    Super Member IrelandDragonQuilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeaninmaine
    This sounds like a neat way to start a garden bed, but you have to do it in the fall.

    http://organicgardening.about.com/od...apergarden.htm

    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.
    I use the newspapers on the bottom, since you are planning on 10-12 inches of soil on top of the weeds, if you put the newspaper down and put the soil on top they will die off and decay back into the ground giving your new plants food. I hope you take photos when you are done :)

  22. #22

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    We have built raised beds in Anchorage, Fairbanks and now Kansas (we are retired now!!) we put landscape fabric down in the first set of beds but didn't in the next two and have never had any problems. Currently we have both raised flower beds and vegetable beds the soil was added to the beds without any barrier between the ground and added soil and it works great. Good Luck

  23. #23
    Super Member Baloonatic's Avatar
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    Depending on the type of weed, if you can't get all the root it may grow back no matter what. A thick bed of mulch can help. If it is coming up from seeds, spreading a corn germ pre-emergent on the beds will prevent their germinating for awhile, and it breaks down to feed the soil. If you use it, you will need to prestart your seedlings as the pre-emergent will prevent your veggies from germinating too.
    Depending on the weed type, a vinegar spray on young growth could be effective. If you want to use Roundup, you could use a foam paintbrush to apply it just to the weed leaves and not have to spray your whole garden bed. Use any herbicide when the offending plants are small and on a breeze-free sunny morning.
    A few years ago, shortly after I had built a new fence, a new neighbor moved in next door. He relandscaped his entire yard, adding a raised bed in one corner. Having no idea that he was using my fence as the rear retaining wall, the soil contact rotted out the fence and created a freeway for termites to finish off the entire fenceline.
    You can get a wealth of info here:
    http://organicgardening.com/

  24. #24
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    I have used two layers of newspaper (not the color pages) and it's been several years and very few weeds.

    Sprinkle the papers with water and then dirt. You can cut an x in the paper to plant through.

  25. #25
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    If you could kill the weeds with some sort of spray - Round up is good, but don't let it drift to something you don't want to kill - but killing before teh weednetting is the best thing; then nothing should "grow through"... but use the weednetting, newspaper - mulch and plant through the holes; works great. and looks so neat.

    You can catch overspray if you have a big box, bottom removed, you could set over an area to spray - flip the lid shut and leave it for a while - continue on down the area you want "dead" doing this over and over - keeps the spray from drifting. Allow a couple days before continuing with project.

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