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Digging out grass under raised bed?

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Digging out grass under raised bed? Empty Digging out grass under raised bed?

Post  rodeye on 3/28/2012, 1:18 pm

We're spending our first spring in a new house and I am putting together some raised beds. They're going to be placed on a section of lawn. I have come across online instructions that say I should dig out the earth underneath the raised bed. SFG recommends laying weed cloth and possibly chicken wire underneath the box. If we really only need six inches of soil and the bottom has a weed cloth barrier, I suppose I don't need to dig, but just lay it all on top of the grass? Any comments?
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/28/2012, 1:23 pm

glad you\'re here rodeye!

There is a thread going on right now about what to put under your boxes:
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t11152p15-cardboard-vs-garden-cloth-for-weed-block-under-raised-beds#108152

Please feel free to browse the topics from the homepage or use the search feature in the upper left to find threads about specific information.

I would recommend that you try to obtain a copy of the book All New Square Foot Gardening (2006) by Mel Bartholomew as it will answer a lot of initial questions you may have and has several great charts in the appendices. Smile

Keep us posted on your progess! We love pics! Smile
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Post  quiltbea on 3/28/2012, 1:34 pm

Welcome Rodeye. Sometimes you just have to dig out the old lawn if you have some persistent grass types growing there. They can find a way thru that weed barrier eventually. Usually you can dig around the perimeter of the box size needed, push down about 2 inches with a lawn edger or spade and then slide your spade under the grass and peel it right back. You can then use that sod in another area of your yard if needed.

If you can't go to all that trouble, lay down weed barrier, then a layer of cardboard or a few layers of newspaper on top before you add your soil mix. That will help more than weed barrier alone.

If you're worried about voles coming up thru the bed, you need something with smaller openings than chicken wire to keep them out.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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Post  CarolinaGirl on 3/28/2012, 4:20 pm

I just put my beds in last night... I dug the grass/sod out from underneath my beds. Mostly because my lawn isn't level and that was the easier than trying to attach some tiny board to make it sit level on the existing lawn. Also helped "seat" the bed to help keep it in place.
I used the sod pieces I pulled up to fill some bare spots in my lawn where my Labrador has torn it from his running and digging (which we don't do anymore lol).
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Post  rodeye on 3/29/2012, 12:27 pm

Thank you for the advice, Quiltbea. I guess we'll be digging out the grass. Blech. The SFG book doesn't really seem to address that question. It also doesn't speak of leveling, which I have read elsewhere is important. Does anybody have any thoughts on how level the ground should be? Is a slight slope okay, or should I get out the carpenter's level?
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Post  AvaDGardner on 3/29/2012, 1:43 pm

How level do you want it? How big is the slope?

Anything put into something with the slope will run to the lowest point. Especially water. Is the slope big enought to matter?

My boxes aren't perfectly level. That's okay with me. They're flat enough.

If I had a obvious slope, I'd probably correct it.

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