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New concrete raised garden beds Toplef10New concrete raised garden beds 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

New concrete raised garden beds I22gcj10New concrete raised garden beds 14dhcg10

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New concrete raised garden beds

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Marc Iverson
mazzy
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New concrete raised garden beds Empty New concrete raised garden beds

Post  mazzy 5/8/2014, 5:35 pm

Check out my earlier introduction which explains the reason I went to extremes on these garden beds.  Kay named these beds "mole bunkers".  Very appropriate.  This first picture shows the concrete pad, cinder blocks and French Drains

New concrete raised garden beds 2Q==


Last edited by mazzy on 5/8/2014, 5:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  mazzy 5/8/2014, 5:38 pm

This 2nd picture shows the 3/4 inch drain rock and drain tubing
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Post  mazzy 5/8/2014, 5:41 pm

This picture shows the 6 completed raised beds with 3 different colors of stucco.  The one long bed has Mel's mix and squares.  I hope you like it.  I'll post more pictures when I have the drip system installed.
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Post  Marc Iverson 5/8/2014, 5:53 pm

The odd orientation is a very creative way to use your space.
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Post  mazzy 5/8/2014, 6:31 pm

Thanks Marc...there is a 10 degree downslope that I had to contend with.  If you looked at the beds from the bottom of the slope you'd see them "stepping" down the slope with each rear one being about 9 inches higher than the one in front of it.

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Post  donnainzone5 5/8/2014, 6:59 pm

Were you able to leave at least 3' between beds?

My former garden space had limited sunlight, and I had to install two SFG beds a mere 21-1/2" apart.  That left far too little room to maneuver.
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Post  mazzy 5/8/2014, 7:13 pm

Yes.  3 feet exactly between beds and distance from fences.  I can get my wheel barrow through there.

Due to the limitations of my garden space, I wasn't able to heed Mel's recommendation about no more than 4 foot width.  A couple of the beds are 6 feet wide.  I won't climb into the bed and trample it so, if I can't reach it from the side, I'll have some squares that won't be planted.  I'll probably just put weed cloth over them.

Here's a question...since not all of the bed will be watered using  a drip system, will the vermiculite particles blow away over time in the un-watered parts of the bed?

Also...in the winter time we usually have lots of rain here in Northern California.  Would it be a good idea to put tarps over the beds during seasons they lay fallow?  Will the excess water do damage to the SFG soil mix in the beds?

Thanks,
Mazzy
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Post  Marc Iverson 5/8/2014, 11:34 pm

You could also plant dwarf marigolds in the middle. They're too short to shade anything, make good companion plants, act as early bee food, look very pretty, take very little water or care, and self-seed so you'll never need to go in there again.
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Post  sanderson 5/9/2014, 1:28 am

Mazzy, Very creative use of the space and slope. For those interior squares,you could plant something perennial like Marc stated. If marigolds aren't your thing, then perennial herbs or purple salvia are another possibility. You don't have to cover the SFG bed during winter. Rain won't hurt anything, in fact, you want to keep Mel's Mix moist year around because it is hard to rehydrate. You will be replenishing with new compost each time you plant. You may actually find that you can grow year around in your area. Check for cold weather veggies like peas, carrots, garlic. Question: Why won't you have drip irrigation on all of the SFG bed?
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Post  AtlantaMarie 5/9/2014, 8:58 am

Looks great, Mazzy!
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Post  mazzy 5/9/2014, 9:19 am

Fantastic ideas about the flowers and herbs!  I've never been much of a flower person but my wife Kendall wants pretty things in the garden.  We have so much room to plant I think Kendall will get her wish...in abundance.

Regarding the drip...I guess that I didn't want to create an environment that would be conducive to growing weeds.  I figured that if I was planting veggies in an area they would crowd out the weeds.  However if some squares were temporarily fallow then watering the area would be an invitation for weed growth.  In my previous gardens I had horrible problems with crab grass.  But those may be problems of the past.  These raised beds are on cement slabs, surrounded by concrete blocks, and have 12 inches of virgin gardening soil from a reputable landscape supplier sitting below 6 inches of the MM.  Other than wind-blown weed seeds they are well insulated from weed (and MOLE) contamination.  This SFG concept takes a whole new way of looking at things.  As you said about difficulty in re-hydrating, it probably would be best to leave the beds open to the environment and ensure that all parts of the garden get an occasional sprinkling.  I guess that will also handle my concerns about the vermiculite drying up and blowing away.

I live a bit north of Fresno and am within 10 miles of the bay, so our winters are protected by the ocean/bay climate.  I should be able to have a nice winter crop.

And thank you about it looking great.  Yes!  It adds beauty to our backyard.

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Post  Kelejan 5/9/2014, 12:26 pm

Looks great, Mazzy.  Next thing we ask, pictures of them all filled.  Very Happy

If you plant any perennials in the centre spaces, why not put them in a closed off square so that their roots do not encroach on adjacent squares?
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Post  mazzy 5/9/2014, 4:46 pm

Not sure how I'd make a closed off square.  Maybe make a 12 x 12 x 6" deep box and bury it there?

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Post  boffer 5/9/2014, 4:55 pm

mazzy wrote:...Also...in the winter time we usually have lots of rain here in Northern California.  Would it be a good idea to put tarps over the beds during seasons they lay fallow?  Will the excess water do damage to the SFG soil mix in the beds?

Thanks,
Mazzy

Lots of rain will tend to leach out nutrients. I recommend covering them during the wet season regardless if they're fallow or full of over-wintering plants.

Just curious: what did you use to parge with? Your own concoction or out of a bag?
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Post  mazzy 5/9/2014, 5:17 pm

Not sure what you mean by parge.  If you mean Mel's Mix...I bought vermiculite and peat moss and 5 different types of compost and mixed them together per Mel's directions.

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Post  boffer 5/9/2014, 5:31 pm

"A parge coat is a thin coat of a cementitious or polymeric mortar applied to concrete or masonry for refinement of the surface. The typical parge coat is 1/4"-1/2" in thickness; this may be less than the minimum thickness allowed by many mortar types."

Whatever you covered your block with. Parge is similar to stucco.

Maybe you stuccoed?
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Post  mazzy 5/9/2014, 5:45 pm

Yes it was stucco with color additives from Lowes.  It took about 6 hours to stucco all 6 beds.

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Post  Kelejan 5/9/2014, 7:25 pm

mazzy wrote:Not sure how I'd make a closed off square.  Maybe make a 12 x 12 x 6" deep box and bury it there?

Mazzy

That's almost what I mean, Mazzy, except that I think the the box should be made as deep as the rest of the bed. It would be like sinking a large pot into the ground like you would to contain mint or other spreading stuff.
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Post  southern gardener 5/9/2014, 8:23 pm

mazzy wrote:Yes.  3 feet exactly between beds and distance from fences.  I can get my wheel barrow through there.

Due to the limitations of my garden space, I wasn't able to heed Mel's recommendation about no more than 4 foot width.  A couple of the beds are 6 feet wide.  I won't climb into the bed and trample it so, if I can't reach it from the side, I'll have some squares that won't be planted.  I'll probably just put weed cloth over them.

Here's a question...since not all of the bed will be watered using  a drip system, will the vermiculite particles blow away over time in the un-watered parts of the bed?

Also...in the winter time we usually have lots of rain here in Northern California.  Would it be a good idea to put tarps over the beds during seasons they lay fallow?  Will the excess water do damage to the SFG soil mix in the beds?

Thanks,
Mazzy
when you say a couple of your beds are 6 feet wide, what is the length in the other direction? They LOOK like they're about 6x4ish? As long as one side isn't wider/longer than 4' you should be good. May just be the angle of the pic tho.  Nice looking beds. Personally, I wouldn't worry about weeds with your set up! Nothing is gonna come in from the bottom, and anything from the top should slip out easily with your mix....
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