raised-bed Raised Beds

Hello everyone. I want to build raised beds for my garden. I grow peppers and tomatoes primarily and dabble in cucumbers and beans with a bit of zucchini and cabbage in the mix as well. My soil if clay. It will grow nice plants but it is terrible to work with. Tilling it last year nearly killed me lol.

My question is this. What is the best materials to work with? I am on a budget, so no designed brick will be used. I have been thinking about 2 x 12 that are eighteen foot long would work great and make em four feet wide. I have also thought about the half round land scape timbers but this would cost more per foot than the boards. My garden is about 25 x 30 give or take. I plan on having paths around each side of each bed so you can get around em. I also plan on using fibermat weed blocker and pavers around the outsides for the path ways.

Does anybody see anything wrong with this idea or have some better advice? Pictures would be great of raised beds. I would gladly steal shamelessly. Thanks for Tue help and advice. I appreciate it.
 
For my long raised bed I used 2"x12"x8' pressure treated boards. They were light enough that I was able to handle them by myself. Everything else you mentioned sounds good, but you didn't mention posts to keep them from bowing out. Being that my lumber was 8' long I put in 2"x4"s every 8 feet. I don't remember what size I cut mine to but a section did lean out sort of. I was stepping and putting the weight of a loaded wheel barrel on it while I filled the bed. I am debating on whether or not I should straighten it out this spring.
 
Sounds like a good plan to me. It might be cheaper to use 2X6's and stack them instead of 2X12's. 2X12's can be pricey here especially in longer lengths. I have 4' wide beds with 3' aisles between them. That 3' looks like a lot of wasted space when the beds are empty but gets pretty crowded when the plants get big. Also am trying some 18" wide beds this year.

The 2 beds on the right are built from 2X10 lumber. The others are 2X8. These shallower beds have worked just fine for me. I have mulched the aisles so much that the beds look shallower than they actually are.
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Excellent advice guys I appreciate it. What are the real tall white thing? Is that for climbing vines? I really like that you can make cheap hoop rows out of em to.
 
The tall posts are 2" pvc conduit. There are 2 wires running the length of the bed on top and 2 down low. Each plant has a string to climb that is tied between these wires. This works just good enough that I haven't redesigned it.
I also have used 4'X16' cattle panels for vertical support like in the bed on the left side of this picture. I really like them for cukes, pole beans, peas, and determinate tomatoes. Indeterminates will be over the top in no time at all on these.

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I really like that conduit idea. I think that would work great for cucumbers and beans. Excellent idea. Nice greenhouse in the back ground to.
 
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this is last years early raised beds.top 2 are land scape timbers stacked 2 high and pinned thru w/rebar
lower pic is 2x8's cut down to 3x6 beds.I am planning more beds w/mulch walkways.
 
Wow Nice Job Tonly I bet that looks really awesome mid to late summer.

Can see a lot of work there!

Some good advise!

I have built a few in the past, stacked 2 2x8's plenty of stakes on the inside for bowing support and cosmedics and used screws not nails

A pic or 2 of my raised beds, but most likely not practical for you, but might be interesting'

Good luck with your endeavor. Cheers, SC

link
 
What is the ideal depth? Is 12" ok or would 18" be better?


Depends how far you want to bend down to garden. I have a bad back so I made mine pretty tall. I can sit on the edge and comfortably reach everything. Even if my back was good I probably wouldn't build a raised bed that I had to kneel on the ground to work in. I guess it sort of defeats the purpose in my opinion, but I know a lot of people use them just because their existing soil is not good.
Here's a pic of mine
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Very nice pictures pictures guys! I can't wait till I get mine built. Do you ever have to change the dirt out after a few years?
I add composted cow manure in fall/early winter then in spring I mix in blood meal in the pepper boxes,the rest depends on what's goin in
the box. I try to rotate crops.
 
I add composted cow manure in fall/early winter then in spring I mix in blood meal in the pepper boxes,the rest depends on what's goin in
the box. I try to rotate crops.

I love the look of that raised bed with the pavers around it. Thats what I want to go for. I think mine will have to be built taller than 12 inches. My lans scape is on a bit of a slope where I built my garden.

This is my second year gardening and my frst "real" year of seed starting. How does one compost cow manure? Do you just add it to the dirt on top of the beds?
 
If you want the cheap cheap option you could do what I just did. Drive around where new housing developments are, building sites, industry. Look for discarded wooden pallets, Just ask someone if you can grab few because sometimes they reuse them but mostly they are destined for rubbish. The wood from the pallets are an ideal size for making small square beds where you can reach everything from the sides. Because they had tiles or bricks on them they are very strong and only need to be screwed together at the corners, no posts needed. I stacked them up two high and screwed a small offcut on the inside on each side to keep them together. Just filled them up yesterday and going to stick some late beans in this week.

If you can buy premium timber you can customise your design a lot, but there is a zero dollar way.
 
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