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raised-bed Raised beds

I live on a large wooded lot with only a small bit of space that has good day time light. I had cleared just enough when I built my house. I plan Sunday to open the area up to accommodate my new found hobby. My plan is to do a raised beds. One of the main reasons being the convenience of working higher and also avoiding the large population of rabbits around here. Which are quite tasty I might add.
Has anyone come up with a best practice for planning raised beds? I'm not really limited as to size as it would just require me dropping a few extra trees. I don't want to make them to high since my two year old daughter has show a lot of interest in helping me with "Mr Peppers" what she calls my plans. Or if you have pictures that you would care to share that would be helpful. This is just all in planning.
Thanks everyone!
 
if this helps.
 
im also making some raised beds, since my soil is clay like i need to make them quite high so theres enough room for the roots to spread. i have the wood ready, im making them 15 inches tall a little over a foot and im going to use the square foot method. im making 4 2x3 beds so thats enough for 24 plants and it will cost me 50 bucks for every 2 beds so im going to waste 100 for all 4 to fill them up with 1/3 perlite 1/3 compost and 1/3 peat moss. i prefer to make make 4 small ones to try and isolate my peppers but if you dont care about that just make one or two big ones
 
Thats a similar plan to what my gut was telling me about 2x4. Like you I will have to make them deep. I basically live on a stand bar. Grass doesn't even grow here without constant irrigation so in order to keep nutrients around my plants my beds will have to be pretty deep. I just want my little one to be able to do this with me. Nothing like spending time with the kids. Maybe just build here a stool of some kind...lol
 
My best advice is to not make them wider than 4 feet.  That way you can reach in the middle.  The best advantage of a raised bed is that you avoid compaction of the soil by not walking on it.  So in order to avoid having that happen you need to make sure you can easily reach to the middle of the bed without having to step on it.  Length really is up to your preference.
 
Square foot gardening. :) Does it work? 
 
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Here in Portland, my peppers do much better in pots than raised beds (8 inches tall).  Given the same soil and other conditions, the potted plants can be 2X as large and productive. Only the annums seems to do ok in the in the beds.  I believe it's related to root temperature.  While raised beds are much better than "in ground," the soil temperature is still colder than the pots.  It's exactly the opposite for tomatoes and vegetables, which seem to like slightly cooler root temps.
 
That just crazy! I'm doing lots of Google searching about this. It looks like yours are about 10-12" deep?
 
Boards are 10 inches wide and I left the bottoms open if the roots wanted to go in the ground.
 
@newpeppergrower1105 I did not use the Mel mix exactly. I think there are pictures in my glog with what I used and if not on the FB page. 
 
i looked everywhere and could not find what you mix is, what are your thoughts on some cow maure i got from a pile with a sign free fertilizer by a farm? i plan on 1/3 that 1/3 perlite and 1/3 peat moss?
 
Your soil just up the road in DE must be much better than down here! I don't think there is any nutritional value to what I've got. I'm think I'll need to make the boxes deeper so that there is usable soil down there for the plants. mmmm time to start planning....
 
JayC said:
Your soil just up the road in DE must be much better than down here! I don't think there is any nutritional value to what I've got. I'm think I'll need to make the boxes deeper so that there is usable soil down there for the plants. mmmm time to start planning....
Well I compost and that goes on the bottom then I build the soil. I have used the same areas for about 10 years.
 
hottoddy said:
Here in Portland, my peppers do much better in pots than raised beds (8 inches tall).  Given the same soil and other conditions, the potted plants can be 2X as large and productive. Only the annums seems to do ok in the in the beds.  I believe it's related to root temperature.  While raised beds are much better than "in ground," the soil temperature is still colder than the pots.  It's exactly the opposite for tomatoes and vegetables, which seem to like slightly cooler root temps.
 
I've found the same thing up here in Seattle.  I've tried growing peppers in-ground for about 4 years and had no results.  This year I planted 15 plants in 3 gallon black plastic pots and had great results.  We just don't get the warmth in the Pacific NW to heat up the roots for a good grow.  But with black plastic pots they bake in the sun all day and stay nice and toasty.  The main thing is I needed to water them daily or they seriously wilt and start losing leaves.
 
Next year I may experiment in a small 2X2 foot raised bed of thin wood, maybe 1", and line the boards with black plastic to help draw in and retain heat.  I've also read that putting a layer of black plastic down over the soil can also help in heat retention.  
 
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