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Post  gardenwriter on 4/7/2010, 3:14 pm

I heard about SFG on Wisconsin NPR recently, and have been happily going through the book. My extended family is building me a lannon stone raised garden bed in the middle of May, and I need to prepare the space. The garden bed will be 3' x 16'. (Adding in the width of the stone walls, the finished product will measure 4' 4" wide x 17' 4" long. The walls will be 1' tall.)

This is close to Mel's suggestion that a bed be no longer than 16'.

Should I dig up the grass where my bed will be? Or at that depth can I just cover it with sand at the bottom and Mel's Mix on top?

Also, I would like to create a deeper area (3 x 6?) of Mel's Mix at one end of the bed for those plants that need it. Any suggestions as to how to partition off that part of the bed so I keep the layer of sand out of the Mel's mix at the deeper end? I am thinking of building an internal stone wall across the bed at that point using smaller pieces (discards?) of stone as it will never be seen except at the top.

Any thoughts?
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/7/2010, 3:20 pm

Welcome to the very best gardening forums on the web.

Wonderful gift you are being given. Send your relatives my way, please! Stone wall garden construction Icon_smile

If your grass is not the invasive kind, you could just put down 6" of sand, top it with the weed barrier, then 6" of Mel's Mix. If you don't put the weed barrier between the sand and Mel's mix, you'll gradually end up with both mixing together, which is not a good idea.

As far as the deeper bed at the end, if I were doing it, I'd dig out about 3", put down weed barrier and fill with Mel's mix. I can't imagine any root crops needing more than 15" of growing depth. I'd either use the left-over blocks, as you mention, or cedar to divide the two areas.

Sounds like you are going to have a fabulous garden -- please post pics when it's done.
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Post  boffer on 4/7/2010, 3:44 pm

Hiya glad you\'re here

Everything BB said, only I would put a layer of weed cloth under the sand too, to help contain it

I looked up 'lannon' in the dictionary and google with no results, so I'm not sure exactly what type of rocks those are. With regard to separating the deep end, I have a vision of discards being in a pile the shape of gravel dumped off the truck. I would want a divider with closer to perpendicular walls. Perhaps you can do that with your rocks, I don't know. Another option would be cinder blocks. They wouldn't be seen and would provide a base to put your nice rock on.

I have 2 raised beds I built before starting SFG that are 25 feet long. I second Mel's suggestion to keep them under 16.

That's my advice. Now, I have to figure out how to get my extended family to build me something like that! :!:
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Post  gardenwriter on 4/7/2010, 4:07 pm

Thank you for your replies. Very helpful!

I am lucky with my family. I am the 6th of 9 kids, and when my oldest brother died suddenly at 58, we decided to make reaching 60 a big deal in my family. This is my year and the stone wall garden is my "big deal." All the nieces and nephews pitch in and with all hands on deck, I'm hoping everything including mixing Mel's mix, will be done in a weekend. I can't wait to start planting!

Happy gardening!

Gardenwriter
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Post  mckr3441 on 4/8/2010, 9:13 am

ABSOLUTELY COOL!

And you live how close to me??? Stone wall garden construction Icon_lol Oh, I see you are in Wisconsin... I have a daughter there.

I hope you will visit the Northern and Central Midwest Regional Forum. We have lots of local chatter there.
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Post  timwardell on 4/8/2010, 10:38 am

Welcome to the SFG Forum!
With regard to your question, "Should I dig up the grass where my bed will be? Or at that depth can I just cover it with sand at the bottom and Mel's Mix on top?" It's always a good idea to place a weed barrier on top of your grass. Others, like me, have placed newspaper and cardboard on top of the grass before adding sand/soil/Mel's Mix. You just don't want to risk the grass coming up through your beds and ruining all your hard work.
Best of luck with your garden. Looking forward to the pics.
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