Hello, looking for advice on my raised garden build - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, looking for advice on my raised garden build

So I built this raised garden for the Mrs as a “work in progress” Mother’s Day gift. I had no set plans but went for it. I couldn’t find cedar anywhere around me (checked all the good lumber yards) so I had to use Douglas fir. I burnt the fir with my torch and then I sealed it with boiled linseed oil (I understand it’s not considered food safe). So this thing could be supporting nearly 1000lbs of saturated soil. I attached 2x4’s to the 4x4’s leaving half the 2x4’s exposed. I then attached the 2x8’s to the 2x4’s. So I am wondering if that engineering would be enough for the weight?
Also, I’m going to make a “basket” out of hardware cloth and landscape fabric to minimize soil contact with the wood. I am also going to line the inside with HDPE plastic against the wood.Can anyone give me a life expectancy on the wood? I live in the northeast so I won’t be using it during the winter. I’d appreciate your input and advice. Thanks.
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Last edited by Hobbying; 05-23-2020 at 03:04 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 03:47 PM
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I do not understand what you are doing construction wise. Please add a sketch.


If this garden is sitting on the ground then the material will not be supporting any significant weight. All it will be doing is keeping the dirt from falling out. 3/4" material is totally adequate for the sides. Now if this is a hanging garden then that is a different matter.


Do not understand your comment about "food safe." You will not be eating off this garden material.


I do not understand what you are doing with the hardware cloth.



George
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 03:55 PM
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welcome aboard,
just because you live in the North East, is no reason not to use it.
I would try to find a place for it inside the house and fill it with herbs.
they require very little maintenance and a grow light is inexpensive.
personally, I think it is a little too deep. it only takes 12" or less of dirt
for a planter type of box like that. (I would not put more than 8-10"
of dirt in it for the first planting - just to see how it goes).
don't worry about the life expectancy of the wood ~ when it dies, it dies.
excellent job on the project !!

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 05-23-2020 at 04:05 PM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I do not understand what you are doing construction wise. Please add a sketch.


If this garden is sitting on the ground then the material will not be supporting any significant weight. All it will be doing is keeping the dirt from falling out. 3/4" material is totally adequate for the sides. Now if this is a hanging garden then that is a different matter.


Do not understand your comment about "food safe." You will not be eating off this garden material.


I do not understand what you are doing with the hardware cloth.



George



Thanks for the reply and I apologize for the confusion. I included photos In the original post if that helps. Food safe meaning that this garden will be growing vegetables and some finishes leach off toxic chemicals into the soil. Trying to maintain some bit of organic growth. Or as close to it as I can manage. As far as the hardware cloth, I will be attaching it to the inside of the box and then lining that hardware cloth with filter fabric. I will then fill in with soil. The purpose being to minimize the amount of direct contact the soil will have with the wood.

Last edited by Hobbying; 05-23-2020 at 04:17 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
welcome aboard,
just because you live in the North East, is no reason not to use it.
I would try to find a place for it inside the house and fill it with herbs.
they require very little maintenance and a grow light is inexpensive.
personally, I think it is a little too deep. it only takes 12" or less of dirt
for a planter type of box like that. (I would not put more than 8-10"
of dirt in it for the first planting - just to see how it goes).
don't worry about the life expectancy of the wood ~ when it dies, it dies.
excellent job on the project !!

this is an open forum with all levels of skills and talents.
please feel free to join in the conversations that you find interesting
and ask questions to expand your skill levels and share what you know.
if you would like to know more about something, you can start a new thread.
we like to see photos of projects to share with others.
when you get time, you can complete your profile through the "User CP"
with your location and whatever you want in your signature line that will
show in all your posts. looking forward to seeing some of your projects.
hope you enjoy your stay.

.

Thanks for the reply. So I am going to run 2x4 lengthwise inside as a rail on either side and 2x8 across the width gap to rest on those 2x4's so that I end up having only 13" from the top rail to the inside bottom of bed where I will only, hopefully, add 12" of soil. But I will start with 8-10" to see how it goes.
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Last edited by Hobbying; 05-23-2020 at 04:17 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbying View Post
Thanks for the reply and I apologize for the confusion. I included photos In the original post if that helps. Food safe meaning that this garden will be growing vegetables and some finishes leach off toxic chemicals into the soil. Trying to maintain some bit of organic growth. Or as close to it as I can manage. As far as the hardware cloth, I will be attaching it to the inside of the box and then lining that hardware cloth with filter fabric. I will then fill in with soil. The purpose being to minimize the amount of direct contact the soil will have with the wood.

OK, I did not see the pictures. Did not realize that you had already built this. I understand that the hardware cloth will be the bottom of the box. It will hold the weight, but the fastening to the sides will be the critical thing. I would recommend a strip of wood with screws at least every 9 or 10 inches.


When I hear of and/or see raised beds this usually does not mean off the ground. Just sides that extend 10 or 12" above ground level.


What kind of vegies will you be growing? You best natural fertilizer will be something like Black Hen. Chicken fert has the highest nitrogen. Do not remember what comes next, but think it is horse. In my large garden I use Cotton Seed Meal.


George
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
OK, I did not see the pictures. Did not realize that you had already built this. I understand that the hardware cloth will be the bottom of the box. It will hold the weight, but the fastening to the sides will be the critical thing. I would recommend a strip of wood with screws at least every 9 or 10 inches.


When I hear of and/or see raised beds this usually does not mean off the ground. Just sides that extend 10 or 12" above ground level.


What kind of vegies will you be growing? You best natural fertilizer will be something like Black Hen. Chicken fert has the highest nitrogen. Do not remember what comes next, but think it is horse. In my large garden I use Cotton Seed Meal.


George

Thanks for the tips! Not sure of what she will be planting yet but I will keep those fertilizer recommendations in mind.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 09:04 PM
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Do NOT fill the bed with ordinary soil. Use a bedding soil like Natures Way, this is a Miracle Gro product. There are other bedding soils too. If the bagged soil is clumped up, than sifting the soil is a good method. Make a box 3" high without a bottom or top, just the sides. Install 1/4" hardware cloth on the bottom. Then screw battens to the underside of the box to make sure the hardware cloth does not come off. I staple the hardware cloth first, then add the battens. The box should span a wheelbarrow with about 4" overhang on each end. Lay the box on the wheelbarrow and add some soil. I usually use a hoe to work the clumps back and forth. The soil quickly drops into the wheelbarrow. When the wheelbarrow gets full, dump it in the raised bed.
This is more work but pays off , especially if you grow root crops like carrots or leeks.
My raised bed sits on the ground and does not have or need hardware cloth. I dug the soil under the bed first, about 10" deep and sifted the soil same as the bedding soil. This also gets rid of weeds ,grass, stones etc.
Your plans on the bed itself will work fine. If I understand you correctly you will use a 2x4 as a ledger on each long side, then install 2x8 joists vertically. Then the hardware cloth and liner. Most homes are not built this well.
I would not be overly concerned about toxic leaching. I used PT yellow pine 30+ years ago and I am still kicking.
Ordinary poly stapled to the sides may be okay, do a search .
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-23-2020, 09:27 PM
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I live in the NE and my raised beds laying on the ground last about 10 years. I would recommend adding a center support to relieve the weight of wet soil. Wrapping the inside with plastic will help with rot and using a spar vanish will get you a couple years extra use. I'm sure you have plenty of drainage holes.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-24-2020, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Do NOT fill the bed with ordinary soil. Use a bedding soil like Natures Way, this is a Miracle Gro product. There are other bedding soils too. If the bagged soil is clumped up, than sifting the soil is a good method. Make a box 3" high without a bottom or top, just the sides. Install 1/4" hardware cloth on the bottom. Then screw battens to the underside of the box to make sure the hardware cloth does not come off. I staple the hardware cloth first, then add the battens. The box should span a wheelbarrow with about 4" overhang on each end. Lay the box on the wheelbarrow and add some soil. I usually use a hoe to work the clumps back and forth. The soil quickly drops into the wheelbarrow. When the wheelbarrow gets full, dump it in the raised bed.
This is more work but pays off , especially if you grow root crops like carrots or leeks.
My raised bed sits on the ground and does not have or need hardware cloth. I dug the soil under the bed first, about 10" deep and sifted the soil same as the bedding soil. This also gets rid of weeds ,grass, stones etc.
Your plans on the bed itself will work fine. If I understand you correctly you will use a 2x4 as a ledger on each long side, then install 2x8 joists vertically. Then the hardware cloth and liner. Most homes are not built this well.
I would not be overly concerned about toxic leaching. I used PT yellow pine 30+ years ago and I am still kicking.
Ordinary poly stapled to the sides may be okay, do a search .
mike
Thanks for the advice. I look forward to some fresh vegetables.
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post #11 of 15 Old 05-24-2020, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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I live in the NE and my raised beds laying on the ground last about 10 years. I would recommend adding a center support to relieve the weight of wet soil. Wrapping the inside with plastic will help with rot and using a spar vanish will get you a couple years extra use. I'm sure you have plenty of drainage holes.
Good idea with the center support. Iíll add one once I have it set up and ready to grow.
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post #12 of 15 Old 05-24-2020, 03:52 PM
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well, it's built. so it's longevity is what is it. I've uses untreated pine/fir in my garden for compost heaps, wire frames, trellis, etc. by the time they're going south, you'll have a more better new&improved idea anyway - and a good excuse to try them out!

as to filling it - few crops require 10-12" of depth. carrots - pretty obvious, eh? the rest, not so much.
had a 14x21' hobby greenhouse - fall/winter grew leaf crops / radishes on 3" deep benches, peas in window boxes.

elevated gardening has one drawback - in sunny especially warm areas, the soil can overheat. now, over-warm soil isn't a problem for beans. it is a problem for peas/tomatoes/peppers/nightshade family. you may eventually need to shade the sides from direct sun.

a "soil-less mix" is good - basically ground up bark+peat/compost. see
http://www.sungro.com/professional-products/metro-mix/

for fertilizers, , , , organic is good - but watch out for internet recommendations like chicken manure. fresh chicken manure is extremely high in ammonia - it has to be composted at least a year before use.
for info/help with organic methods:
https://organicgroup.freeforums.net/
spun off from the Organic Gardening site after it went 'all commercial'

gardening is a pleasant space surrounded by very deep rabbit holes.....
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-26-2020, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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well, it's built. so it's longevity is what is it. I've uses untreated pine/fir in my garden for compost heaps, wire frames, trellis, etc. by the time they're going south, you'll have a more better new&improved idea anyway - and a good excuse to try them out!

as to filling it - few crops require 10-12" of depth. carrots - pretty obvious, eh? the rest, not so much.
had a 14x21' hobby greenhouse - fall/winter grew leaf crops / radishes on 3" deep benches, peas in window boxes.

elevated gardening has one drawback - in sunny especially warm areas, the soil can overheat. now, over-warm soil isn't a problem for beans. it is a problem for peas/tomatoes/peppers/nightshade family. you may eventually need to shade the sides from direct sun.

a "soil-less mix" is good - basically ground up bark+peat/compost. see
http://www.sungro.com/professional-products/metro-mix/

for fertilizers, , , , organic is good - but watch out for internet recommendations like chicken manure. fresh chicken manure is extremely high in ammonia - it has to be composted at least a year before use.
for info/help with organic methods:
https://organicgroup.freeforums.net/
spun off from the Organic Gardening site after it went 'all commercial'

gardening is a pleasant space surrounded by very deep rabbit holes.....
Thanks for the advice! ill have dirt in it by Friday and Ill be planting soon after adding finishing touches.
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post #14 of 15 Old Yesterday, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
well, it's built. so it's longevity is what is it. I've uses untreated pine/fir in my garden for compost heaps, wire frames, trellis, etc. by the time they're going south, you'll have a more better new&improved idea anyway - and a good excuse to try them out!

as to filling it - few crops require 10-12" of depth. carrots - pretty obvious, eh? the rest, not so much.
had a 14x21' hobby greenhouse - fall/winter grew leaf crops / radishes on 3" deep benches, peas in window boxes.

elevated gardening has one drawback - in sunny especially warm areas, the soil can overheat. now, over-warm soil isn't a problem for beans. it is a problem for peas/tomatoes/peppers/nightshade family. you may eventually need to shade the sides from direct sun.

a "soil-less mix" is good - basically ground up bark+peat/compost. see
http://www.sungro.com/professional-products/metro-mix/

for fertilizers, , , , organic is good - but watch out for internet recommendations like chicken manure. fresh chicken manure is extremely high in ammonia - it has to be composted at least a year before use.
for info/help with organic methods:
https://organicgroup.freeforums.net/
spun off from the Organic Gardening site after it went 'all commercial'

gardening is a pleasant space surrounded by very deep rabbit holes.....

"Fresh" chicken manure is very difficult to come by. Unless you do what I once did. I went to the farmer and paid him to clean the 3' around the walls of his chicken house that his "cleaning machine" would not work. I backed my pickup into the chicken house and manually shoveled!!! Came home, threw it on the garden and tilled it in.



Yes, chicken manure is the highest in nitrogen of the domestic farm animal manure. Fresh could burn if over used. These days "Black Hen" (brand name) is about the only available.


George
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post #15 of 15 Old Yesterday, 10:27 AM
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Nice job. I think what you're doing is a good plan.

If its as long and deep as it looks, you might consider a middle leg. Dirt is pretty heavy when wet.

Robert
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