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Off ground elevated bed?

I'm preparing for my first grow and several sources recommend 18" deep for an elevated bed.  However most of the ones I see are on the ground so if the roots got longer they have a place to go.  What would a good depth be for a bed that is off the ground for a variety of pepper types?  Was also planning on leaving a 1/4" gap in between the wood slats on the bed bottom and covered with some kind of fabric for drainage... Any suggestions?
 
 
 
Was going to make something like this I found online:
 
 
Zack+6.5+ft+x+2+ft+Wood+Raised+Garden.jpg
 

Shorerider

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
These are the style of raised beds I use.
Zw09Hqx.jpg

 
They are filled with 1/3 or 30cm/12" of rock at the base, covered in weed mat (with extra drainage holes added with a pick) and the remainder with soil. They work very well.
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
That looks cool.  I think mine's in the 12" - 14" depth range - I'd have to measure it to be sure.  It's also lower to the ground.   It will grow plenty big pepper plants.  Cedar as a wood choice will last a good while.  Maybe a breathable landscape fabric or hardware cloth stapled to the bottom to prevent soil from leaking through.
 
I agree with DP's point.  For cost/benefit, containers will probably get you farther.  But for aesthetics, the wood looks really nice.  Plus I seem to get really good results in raised and elevated raised wood beds.  I don't know if it's drainage or breathability or that it maintains a better root temperature or maybe it's just my imagination, but it does seem to be the case.
 

peppersproutfarm

Extreme Member
dan46n2 said:
Guess I could use pressure treated wood.  Supposedly the new stuff isn't toxic...
it's not necessarily that the wood is toxic. It's more that the organisms inside your soil will break down the wood which is organic matter. eventually the wood will rot because the organisms are trying to break it down into soil. I have seen people line raised elevated beds with heavy mill plastic so that there is not much contact between the soil and the wood. This helps but is also potentially problematic as it can affect oxygen levels in the soil It's a beautiful bed nonetheless.
 
peppersproutfarm said:
it's not necessarily that the wood is toxic. It's more that the organisms inside your soil will break down the wood which is organic matter. eventually the wood will rot because the organisms are trying to break it down into soil. I have seen people line raised elevated beds with heavy mill plastic so that there is not much contact between the soil and the wood. This helps but is also potentially problematic as it can affect oxygen levels in the soil It's a beautiful bed nonetheless.
 
No, the OP was right.  Older pressure treated wood was a toxicity suspect, and a lot of advice recommended against using it for growing food.  Can't recall, but I think the worry was arsenic. 
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Conversely, not all cedar is created equally, so OP, if you use that, do your homework.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Just my 2¢, but I think I would go with containers, just
for the fact that they can be moved. Larger Nursery pots
are expensive, but I managed to find most of mine second
hand. Also, rope-handled utility tubs make great containers
and are not expensive. Skullbiker paints his to avoid UV sun
damage. Good idea on the newer tubs. My older ones are not
affected by sun (made in USA) The newer ones (made in Asia)
start to break down in a couple of seasons. Some of mine are
really brittle and will need to be replaced soon.
 
Good luck making your decision.
 
PaulG said:
Just my 2¢, but I think I would go with containers, just
for the fact that they can be moved. Larger Nursery pots
are expensive, but I managed to find most of mine second
hand. Also, rope-handled utility tubs make great containers
and are not expensive. Skullbiker paints his to avoid UV sun
damage. Good idea on the newer tubs. My older ones are not
affected by sun (made in USA) The newer ones (made in Asia)
start to break down in a couple of seasons. Some of mine are
really brittle and will need to be replaced soon.
 
Good luck making our decision.
The issue with containers are the dogs we have, they get into everything.  I would have to fence the area in if the dogs can get to them... 
 
Shorerider said:
These are the style of raised beds I use.
Zw09Hqx.jpg

 
They are filled with 1/3 or 30cm/12" of rock at the base, covered in weed mat (with extra drainage holes added with a pick) and the remainder with soil. They work very well.
I think something like this might work if I put that wire around the plants so the dogs dont get into it.  Does anyone have any recommendations of where to get some that are good quality?
 
dan46n2 said:
I think something like this might work if I put that wire around the plants so the dogs dont get into it.  Does anyone have any recommendations of where to get some that are good quality?
 
 
Often those are stock tanks, of the type that you can pick up at a Tractor Supply, or other farm and feed store.
.
While you're there, pick up some electric fence, to keep the dogs away.  The pic just looks like cattle panel of fence mesh, for plant support.
 
A lady I knew who was wheelchair bound got a bunch of waterbed frames from the free adds,worked great for her.
Punched holes in the liners and filled with potting soil and compost.
Every  few years she gad to put new plywood on the bottoms.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
I lined a wood planter with food safe silicone. The DAP FDA stuff. Just like you can bake with food safe silicone. The planter was small, I used a tube and spread it around (use something like a plastic taping knife or whatever your have). It works well, of course the wood can still deteriorate from the outside. But this seals the inside where the water would sit and soak in.
 
https://amzn.to/39avCy6
 
The Hot Pepper said:
I lined a wood planter with food safe silicone. The DAP FDA stuff. Just like you can bake with food safe silicone. The planter was small, I used a tube and spread it around (use something like a plastic taping knife or whatever your have). It works well, of course the wood can still deteriorate from the outside. But this seals the inside where the water would sit and soak in.
 
https://amzn.to/39avCy6
 
Thats a great idea, might go with that.
 

Siv

Extreme Member
I built these a couple years ago. I wanted a tall raised bed but when you're just using wood, even if it's cheap, it still gets expensive. These sheet metal roofing panels are pretty cheap and sturdy and give you 2ft tall beds. This is 6ft x 2ft x 2ft. The wood from from a friend's old deck but doesn't actually touch the soil. I'm going to be replacing my grow bags next year with more of these but likely will use something like cedar 2x4s for the wooden parts.
 
50149619687_d08957b283_c.jpg
 
I wasn't originally going to post this, because the OP had mentioned raised beds.  But, for a budget idea...  I wanted to emulate growing in real soil - which no container will do, unless it possesses an unwieldy dimension.  So, I created my raised beds that actually touch the earth. (our soil is sand, and therefore has not tilth - but this allows a much better drainage and root field than containers)
.
Please excuse the mess, as I left town for awhile, in the middle of building, and haven't got back to it.  There are 24 blocks in each planter. 12 cinder blocks and 12 flat caps.  Easy to stomp into level. Each piece cost me just over $1 to purchase, so it's under $30 for a big ass planter.  It's a hell of a lot of work, but a pretty decent option.  Keeps roots nice and cool, and is durable. Plus it's modular :D
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50638821607_abe64259a9_c.jpg
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The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
The Hot Pepper said:
I lined a wood planter with food safe silicone. The DAP FDA stuff. Just like you can bake with food safe silicone. The planter was small, I used a tube and spread it around (use something like a plastic taping knife or whatever your have). It works well, of course the wood can still deteriorate from the outside. But this seals the inside where the water would sit and soak in.
 
https://amzn.to/39avCy6
 
dan46n2 said:
Thats a great idea, might go with that.
 
Let me edit out "it's the same stuff" as baking silicone in case it differs. However based on my research it was good for growing in. It's FDA and NSF approved commercial kitchen silicone. That strong vinegar smell uncured silicone has is actually acetic acid.... vinegar. And the FDA approved stuff just leaves out the chemicals used in the basic stuff. It's cures as 100% and the acetic acid evaporates as it cures. But do your own homework to make sure it's for you.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
By the way, for non-food planters I use Flex Seal. That stuff really does work!!!!! ;)
 
On a related note silicone aquarium sealant is also fairly safe as that fish and invertebrates are notoriously sensitive to numerous chemicals.

It is worth considering along with food grade sealant.
 
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