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Raised bed - wanna let it cook

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
I've been toying with the idea of putting in a raised bed for a while now. It's a little late to plant one this year, so I'm thinking of getting it set up and letting it develop over the fall and winter. But I suck at dirt. What should I do? I thought I'd have garden soil trucked in to fill it, but what else? I have no idea what I'm doing. Suggestions and/or instructions would be very helpful. Thanks!
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
Hey E. Raised bed could be an awesome addition to your arsenal. I get some of my best pepper growth from my raised beds.

Many of the bulk soil delivery companies will have a vegetable garden soil mix, often comprised of compost, sand, topsoil, and what-not, which is a great starting point. Watch out for "topsoil" alone or comprising too much of the mix, as without significant augmentation it's typically terrible for plants. If you're cooking it in advance, I'd consider adding a little extra compost above the mix and putting a layer of leaves or straw or such over that as a protective surface mulch, which could be dug in or just left in place once it comes time to plant.

Once I have a good basic mix in my raised beds, I maintain it by periodically dumping a layer of good compost on the surface and mixing it in to the top several inches of the beds. I'll also spot augment into the transplant holes when planting, often using a mix of a little compost, something with N like chicken manure, and a small handful of balance dry fertilizer.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Hey E. Raised bed could be an awesome addition to your arsenal. I get some of my best pepper growth from my raised beds.

Many of the bulk soil delivery companies will have a vegetable garden soil mix, often comprised of compost, sand, topsoil, and what-not, which is a great starting point. Watch out for "topsoil" alone or comprising too much of the mix, as without significant augmentation it's typically terrible for plants. If you're cooking it in advance, I'd consider adding a little extra compost above the mix and putting a layer of leaves or straw or such over that as a protective surface mulch, which could be dug in or just left in place once it comes time to plant.

Once I have a good basic mix in my raised beds, I maintain it by periodically dumping a layer of good compost on the surface and mixing it in to the top several inches of the beds. I'll also spot augment into the transplant holes when planting, often using a mix of a little compost, something with N like chicken manure, and a small handful of balance dry fertilizer.

Bangarang. Thank you, sir!

I get my sacks of compost from this place. Any of that look right? There's always 2f³ bags from the big box..

Or what about this? Sure is cheap..
 
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CaneDog

Extreme Member
Sure. If you're looking at a 8 x 4 x 2 bed you'll need roughly 2CY/ bed.

For VPPSA, I'd look toward the soil blend and compost. Without having seen their soil blend, I'd get somewhere between 1.0CY of each and maybe 1.5CY blend and 0.5CY compost. Looks like delivery could be an issue for such a small order, though.

For Peninsula Hardwood, I'd probably combine their topsoil/soil conditioner with their bio-com compost in a 50/50 mix. Again, hard to tell without seeing the products, but the soil conditioner/topsoil blend looks like it might be a good structural base and then coming in with a good amount of broad compost should get it pepper ready.

You can always get fancier with adding various amendments and such, but I'd probably start simple as above to give the bulk compost time to break down as it often doesn't get enough time to fully mature. If you decide want to do more, you can top dress closer to the start of the season or spot amend into the transplant holes at the time of planting.

I like the idea of some sort of biodegradable mulch on top while you let it cook, as that will help to keep it moist in summer and warmer in winter, maintaining the activity level.
 
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I've been toying with the idea of putting in a raised bed for a while now. It's a little late to plant one this year, so I'm thinking of getting it set up and letting it develop over the fall and winter. But I suck at dirt. What should I do? I thought I'd have garden soil trucked in to fill it, but what else? I have no idea what I'm doing. Suggestions and/or instructions would be very helpful. Thanks!
Hay bales Unc. You have plenty of time to let them rot. They're cheap and easier to handle than 2 yards of dirt.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Sure. If you're looking at a 8 x 4 x 2 bed you'll need roughly 2CY/ bed.

For VPPSA, I'd look toward the soil blend and compost. Without having seen their soil blend, I'd get somewhere between 1.0CY of each and maybe 1.5CY blend and 0.5CY compost. Looks like delivery could be an issue for such a small order, though.

For Peninsula Hardwood, I'd probably combine their topsoil/soil conditioner with their bio-com compost in a 50/50 mix. Again, hard to tell without seeing the products, but the soil conditioner/topsoil blend looks like it might be a good structural base and then coming in with a good amount of broad compost should get it pepper ready.

You can always get fancier with adding various amendments and such, but I'd probably start simple as above to give the bulk compost time to break down as it often doesn't get enough time to fully mature. If you decide want to do more, you can top dress closer to the start of the season or spot amend into the transplant holes at the time of planting.

I like the idea of some sort of biodegradable mulch on top while you let it cook, as that will help to keep it moist in summer and warmer in winter, maintaining the activity level.

Hay bales Unc. You have plenty of time to let them rot. They're cheap and easier to handle than 2 yards of dirt.

Just fill the box with hay bales? Nothing else? I remember your epic hay bale garden, of course.

Thanks, guys!
 
Just fill the box with hay bales? Nothing else? I remember your epic hay bale garden, of course.

Thanks, guys!
Throw everything you have and whatever you can find in there. Leaves, grass clippings, pine straw, vegetable waste, chipper trash from a utility company or tree service, etc. Anything you can scrounge up quick and easy. If you have woods, you can harvest a shitton of good stuff out of there. Throw your yard trash in there forever.

I'd turn over the soil inside the perimeter and add a pyramid of bales on top of anything you have available or can collect before getting bales. I'd get another layer or two and keep on the side so they can start their decomp. Feed everything some ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate to help it cook.
 
I've been toying with the idea of putting in a raised bed for a while now. It's a little late to plant one this year, so I'm thinking of getting it set up and letting it develop over the fall and winter. But I suck at dirt. What should I do? I thought I'd have garden soil trucked in to fill it, but what else? I have no idea what I'm doing. Suggestions and/or instructions would be very helpful. Thanks!
I've mostly done raised beds in recent decades, but Charles Dowding is an old market gardener who cuts to the chase on growing veggies. Basically he scalds the ground with plastic if it's sod and weeds, this can take a season. Then he removes the plastic, covers the area with cardboard, heaps compost on it, and plants. The caveat is the compost can't be too hot right off the bat. So, your compost source may take some adjustments or 'cooking down' to make it the best possible. Tomatoes seem most forgiving but peppers tend to come around fairly quickly even if it's a bit hot.

I still mostly traditional raised beds and mix in the best grade of topsoil/barnyard soil aboul 50/50 with finished, purchased compost. I'm giving about $30 per yard for mushroom compost which stretches well.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
I've mostly done raised beds in recent decades, but Charles Dowding is an old market gardener who cuts to the chase on growing veggies. Basically he scalds the ground with plastic if it's sod and weeds, this can take a season. Then he removes the plastic, covers the area with cardboard, heaps compost on it, and plants. The caveat is the compost can't be too hot right off the bat. So, your compost source may take some adjustments or 'cooking down' to make it the best possible. Tomatoes seem most forgiving but peppers tend to come around fairly quickly even if it's a bit hot.

I still mostly traditional raised beds and mix in the best grade of topsoil/barnyard soil aboul 50/50 with finished, purchased compost. I'm giving about $30 per yard for mushroom compost which stretches well.

I believe I was listening to him on YouTube. Slow-talking English feller?
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Throw everything you have and whatever you can find in there. Leaves, grass clippings, pine straw, vegetable waste, chipper trash from a utility company or tree service, etc. Anything you can scrounge up quick and easy. If you have woods, you can harvest a shitton of good stuff out of there. Throw your yard trash in there forever.

I'd turn over the soil inside the perimeter and add a pyramid of bales on top of anything you have available or can collect before getting bales. I'd get another layer or two and keep on the side so they can start their decomp. Feed everything some ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate to help it cook.

My house backs up to an untouched wooded area - I could probably fill the box with half-rotted logs and mucky bottom leaf layer and such.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
@Uncle Eckley - The raised bed unit looks
really trick, Unc. and lots of good sugges-
tions for filling it up, as well! I like the 2'
depth and a 4'x8' surface should provide
room for 6 or 8 plants.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Right now I'm thinking I'll scavenge the little forest out back for good stuff then put two yards of the VPPSA stuff on top. A few inches of compost on top of that, then let it sit. Or maybe I'll go on and plant something in it. I had plants last year that didn't go outside until July and they did all right for me. I've got three large oak branches to get down before I do much else.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Oak branches are down. I've got the light I need now. The way the tree grows, though, I expect to be shaded out again by next year. Might have to take out the entire tree in the spring.
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
Bed arrived early!

Eyeball level.

20220612_200936.jpg
 

Uncle Eckley

Extreme Member
See what I mean? I've got the only four feet available and it's only June.

20220613_130921.jpg


At least the house isn't growing..
 
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