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Raising the beds - any ideas on a simple/economical retaining wall for the base?

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What simple and economical way should I build a retaining wall around each box base?

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Post  dstack 9/10/2013, 3:19 pm

sanderson wrote:Dstack,  Have you discussed nematode control with your Country Ag Commissioner's office?  I assume you did as part of your research.  I did a quick research and found an article by UC Davis in CA for solarization.  So it does work but only for shallow soils, it seems.  Like the depth of MM!!!!  Yeah!

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html

Sanderson, thanks for that excellent UC Davis article! In my research I visited the Broward County Extension office with a nematode sample in a zip lock hoping for a soil test. The Master Gardener there explained that they don't do that anymore, but she highly recommended solarization, and gave me a packet of info about it. Your UC Davis article confirms the research I previously read both on the Internet and from the Ext. office.  The UC Davis confirms that: "Control of nematodes by solarization is greatest in the upper 12 inches of the soil."


A guy with a YouTube video claims that one week is long enough. While I will side with more reliable resources, he did give me an excellent idea. Halfway through the process he turns the soil. So what I did is after 5 weeks I took off the plastic and turned the soil, and moistened it again and covered it for another 5 weeks. This is a 45' stretch where I'll be planting 8 papaya plants and LOTS of French Marigolds, which supposedly kill those black hats. 


As far as solarizing the compost, that containerized solarizing concept is new to me (UC Davis). I might consider using the boxes to solarize my compost by laying plastic to seal up the plywood holes. I'm anxious to plant the Fall/Winter garden, but I only need to solarize about 2" of compost in each box. Once I get this SFG going and end up having an infected box (or boxes) I'll plan on solarizing that it (or them) for 4 or 5 weeks next summer. The box is only 8" deep, so I may try solarizing 2 weeks, then turn the soil, and go another 2 weeks. 
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Post  dstack 9/10/2013, 3:21 pm

sanderson wrote:
Question:  Where have you been storing the plywood?  A clean place? 
As you can see them at the top of the photo above leaning against the fence, the plywood is baking in the hot S. Florida sun as I type, and I'll flip them in a day or two.  Just in case I'll scrub them and the wood boxes down with vinegar/soap water which is sure to kill the suckers.


Then I'll let them dry before sealing them with unboiled linseed oil. And BTW, NO ONE carries that in the stores anymore!  We tried Lowes, HD, Ace, Sears and Sherwin Williams. We had to order it online from Sears. At least the boxes/plywood will have plenty of time to dry. 
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Post  dstack 9/10/2013, 3:24 pm

sanderson wrote:Or remove the wood trim, pour Quikrete now, water it, level it with a screed leaving a slight drainage hump in the middle.  Like 1/2" drop / 2-4 ft run.  Then you can set the wood frames directly on the cinder blocks (or are they called cement blocks there?) and forgo the plywood.  Maybe a clear plastic sheet on top of the Quikrete is better, all the way to the outer perimeter.  Since the cement will be fresh, it can leach out lime so the solid plastic barrier will keep it from the MM. Then set the frame on the cinder blocks and plastic.  Mel states you can set an open or closed bottomed box directly on cement patio.  Those wood trims? They can be used on the top of the wood box as decoration.

Or go with the idea you stated below.  Since you are using Quikrete, just make sure water can drain to the edges by making a hump in the center.
I'm leaning toward a hybrid of your "hump" idea and my river rock plan. I like your idea of the Quickrete hump that slopes toward the sides. So I would make a concrete strip lengthwise down the center 3' or 4' to offer a center support that drains off into the river rock on the sand, which makes for great drainage. I like the idea of using a plastic sheet over the fresh cement. I like having the frames that have been secured to the cinder blocks, because I will screw the boxes onto those frames. We've been lucky lately (knock on wood), but we are known to get hit with an occasional hurricane here.
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Post  batmap 9/10/2013, 5:25 pm

murarrie25 wrote:Have you looked at concrete sleepers that do not rot .
Agreed. Walls of sealed cinder blocks, base of unsealed cinder blocks (for drainage) seems like a workable option. Or really anything cheap that allows drainage during heavy rain/too much water. So river rock, sand, clay tiles, pavers, cinder blocks, etc. but maybe connected together as a single layer, as in a welcome mat at your front door.

dstack, what method will you use to irrigate? Is there an efficient and durable delivery system that can be included in your build? Maybe soaker hose with pipe feeder, like this example:
Raising the beds - any ideas on a simple/economical retaining wall for the base? - Page 2 Th?id=H.4972971948575834&pid=15
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/10/2013, 5:48 pm

The marigolds are in no hurry to kill the nematodes. It takes them breaking down over the course of a year, from what I've read a few times, before their full nematode-killing power takes hold. Meantime, rotting marigold can also inhibit the growth of other plants. Once the effect is established, though, it can last two to three years. So it's supposedly an ongoing process. But considering how destructive nematodes can be and how hard to kill, it's well worth the effort. And marigolds are dirt cheap and easy to grow!
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Post  murarrie25 9/10/2013, 8:16 pm

Nematode vectors for bacteria and viruses in soil.Flesh-eating disease from
Nematode in the soil very nasty.
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Post  dstack 9/11/2013, 10:14 am

Marc Iverson wrote:The marigolds are in no hurry to kill the nematodes.  It takes them breaking down over the course of a year, from what I've read a few times, before their full nematode-killing power takes hold.  Meantime, rotting marigold can also inhibit the growth of other plants.  Once the effect is established, though, it can last two to three years.  So it's supposedly an ongoing process.  But considering how destructive nematodes can be and how hard to kill, it's well worth the effort.  And marigolds are dirt cheap and easy to grow!
I'm in no hurry. They're not only easy to grow, they look pretty and I just discovered that they're very easy to propagate with cuttings. I've got several flats of cuttings as well as full grown plants in about 80 five inch containers.  I've got that 45' stretch where I'll fill in with marigolds and papaya plants.
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Post  dstack 9/11/2013, 10:25 am

batmap wrote:
dstack, what method will you use to irrigate? Is there an efficient and durable delivery system that can be included in your build? Maybe soaker hose with pipe feeder, like this example:
Raising the beds - any ideas on a simple/economical retaining wall for the base? - Page 2 Th?id=H.4972971948575834&pid=15
I'm glad you brought that up. I'm a big fan of soaker hoses that run off my well, and that's what I use for other parts of the garden.  I hesitated to plan on soaker hoses for the boxes because Mel recommends hand watering, and to use that time to inspect the plants. Since this is all new for me that's the way I'll start. Perhaps when I plant in the Spring I'll incorporate the soakers with pipe feeders in there. I've bit off quite a big chunk for my first SFG's as it is.
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Post  dstack 9/11/2013, 11:37 am

You may have seen my YouTube video that I posted on the forum about my compost system (below). I'm going to assume my compost is contaminated with nematodes.  I have an idea... After making the video a neighbor gave me a black bin similar to this... 
Raising the beds - any ideas on a simple/economical retaining wall for the base? - Page 2 Compos10

I wanted it as black as can be so I painted it. It heats up very well in full sun, so I'll take the compost that's aging in my barrel and bake it in this bin. I may even tent it with plastic as seen in the UC Davis article. 


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Post  Marc Iverson 9/11/2013, 3:13 pm

dstack wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:The marigolds are in no hurry to kill the nematodes.  It takes them breaking down over the course of a year, from what I've read a few times, before their full nematode-killing power takes hold.  Meantime, rotting marigold can also inhibit the growth of other plants.  Once the effect is established, though, it can last two to three years.  So it's supposedly an ongoing process.  But considering how destructive nematodes can be and how hard to kill, it's well worth the effort.  And marigolds are dirt cheap and easy to grow!
I'm in no hurry. They're not only easy to grow, they look pretty and I just discovered that they're very easy to propagate with cuttings. I've got several flats of cuttings as well as full grown plants in about 80 five inch containers.  I've got that 45' stretch where I'll fill in with marigolds and papaya plants.
You can propagate them with cuttings? Cool to know!

I'm always dead-heading mine when the heads droop or dry out, so I've got lots of seeds for next season. I try to cram as many basil and marigold plants in as I can.
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Post  dstack 9/11/2013, 4:13 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:You can propagate them with cuttings?  Cool to know!

I'm always dead-heading mine when the heads droop or dry out, so I've got lots of seeds for next season.  I try to cram as many basil and marigold plants in as I can.
Yes! My first flat I used compost soil and root hormone, but they took so well that my second batch I skipped the root hormone and they took just as easily. It's very cool to know. Very Happy 

I'm curious to know why you cram basil too. Is that just because you're crazy for basil? Or is there another reason.
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/11/2013, 6:24 pm

Few reasons. First is that it is supposedly a great companion plant to tomatoes. I read that it has been disproven that they improve the taste of tomatoes, but it was discovered that they can increase the yield of a tomato plant up to 20%. Sounds good to me! Plus, there are many edible plants in the nightshade family, like peppers and eggplants and potatoes, so who knows, maybe they'll help those too?

Second, I read basil repels some insects -- whiteflies I think? I'm all for natural insect repellents! If I didn't read that on the wiki re companion plants, I probably read it in a book on companion plants I borrowed from a neighbor.

Also, I do just love basil. And being that it takes a lot of leaves to make a little pesto, I need a lot of plants.

Finally, this season the bugs went after my marigolds and killed them by the dozens, and my basil were next on the list. I had to plant dozens of each before I had enough survivors to even think of harvesting them without delivering them a death blow.

Oh, and I also read that some of the compounds in basil are pretty good for you, so there's that.
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Post  dstack 9/11/2013, 9:11 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:Few reasons.  First is that it is supposedly a great companion plant to tomatoes.  I read that it has been disproven that they improve the taste of tomatoes, but it was discovered that they can increase the yield of a tomato plant up to 20%.  Sounds good to me!  Plus, there are many edible plants in the nightshade family, like peppers and eggplants and potatoes, so who knows, maybe they'll help those too?

Second, I read basil repels some insects -- whiteflies I think?  I'm all for natural insect repellents!  If I didn't read that on the wiki re companion plants, I probably read it in a book on companion plants I borrowed from a neighbor.

Also, I do just love basil.  And being that it takes a lot of leaves to make a little pesto, I need a lot of plants.
I love basil too, and I've also studied that wiki list of companion planting as well as other lists on the internet. So that's why I moved my basil near my tomatoes in my plan.
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/12/2013, 12:15 am

From one basil lover to another then, you might be interested in trying what I'm going to try -- I read that Thai Basil can be a perennial in places with the right temperatures. Thailand can get blistering hot, so maybe Florida might work? Southern Oregon, where I live, is blistering hot for three months at best, so I will probably just have to reseed my Thai basil. But I'm going to try to overwinter a couple of plants just to see if I can. Seeds are cheap, but still, for some reason I think it would be cool if we here in the States could turn into a perennial what is generally thought of as an annual.
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Post  dstack 9/12/2013, 5:58 am

I can grow my sweet basil year around. The plants I have now I planted in the Spring. I thought they were about to expire about 2 months ago but they got a second wind. Now it's about time for a second generation which will be in my SFG boxes.
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/12/2013, 1:46 pm

Ah, that's cool. I can't get enough of sweet basil.
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Post  dstack 9/12/2013, 2:49 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:Ah, that's cool.  I can't get enough of sweet basil.
That's how I feel about fennel with SB a close second. Very Happy
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