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Newbie question: Filling deep beds Toplef10Newbie question: Filling deep 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.

Newbie question: Filling deep beds I22gcj10Newbie question: Filling deep beds 14dhcg10

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Newbie question: Filling deep beds

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Post  momvet 2/14/2015, 6:24 pm

Hi - I am making my garden from two existing 8' x 4' brick beds ( the only place where I get the sun). They are about 2 feet deep. I read the book, have checked out the forum and thought I was ready to go, but now I am concerned about the soil already in my beds. Mel says to put sand in under the Mel's Mix, but there is no way I can dig out all the soil by myself (I have spent the past week trying to get it down to 6 inches!). Should I put weed cloth in as if I were laying a new box on existing soil? I am trying to do this right and don't want a bunch of weeds to ruin it.


Last edited by camprn on 2/21/2015, 8:00 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : expand title)
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Post  AtlantaMarie 2/14/2015, 6:40 pm

Hi Momvet.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Glad you've joined us!

What I would do is put a THICK layer of newspaper &/or cardboard boxes on top of the existing soil, then put the MM on top of it.

The papers & cardboard will help keep the weeds down a lot.

There's some great and knowledgeable folks in your area that I'm sure will be answering you as well.

Welcome again!
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/14/2015, 7:17 pm

happy hi momvet.

Did the beds already have weeds in them? If so, I'd rake or pull them out. Then a weed cloth is a good idea I suppose. but my taller beds have all kinds of things down toward the bottoms as fill - sand and/or leaves and/or seaweed and/or compost and/or branches & twigs, etc - with the top 6 inches being MM. The only time I use a weed barrier, which for me is cardboard, is right before I lay a new box down onto it and before filling it with anything.

Can you post a photo? We love photos and that would help us to see what you're up against.

CC
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Post  sanderson 2/15/2015, 1:31 am

Momvet, I bet you are exhausted after removing the soil from 2 large beds. How many inches of head room do you have at this point? Only 6"? If you can remove dirt so there is 8" from the top, then you will have 6" for Mel's Mix and 2" for mulch. I would place weed fabric when it is down to 8" from the top, and then fill with 6" of Mix. Weed cloth will help prevent loss of Mix when you clear out the bed after a crop is finished. If the roots don't have a barrier like weed cloth, you will pull a little dirt up into the Mix each time, and a little mix will fall down into the dirt. All this said, it is your garden. You can use cardboard to slow down the loss if you don't want to use weed fabric. PS: Weed cloth is also great to line the bottom of flower pots and buckets.

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Post  camprn 2/15/2015, 7:07 am

There's no need to remove the soil that's already in the deep boxes. I would remove any plants and roots already in the box and remove only the top 6 inches of soil, put down cardboard and pour in the homemade Mel's mix. It's that easy.

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Post  momvet 2/15/2015, 2:52 pm

Great advice. This bed has had plants (mostly roses in it for many. many years. I successfully grew tomatoes for a while, but recently not so much. It was hard stripping the roses and bulbs out of there, but veggie gardening is what I love. Not a lot of weeds, but plenty of roots. So newspaper or cardboard, or (probably best) dig 2 more inches out and add mulch. What kind of mulch? I am doing this by myself and I am 63 so it is tough. Someone requested pictures so I will attempt to add. I haven't figured out how to add an image. So something like cardboard doesn't mess up the roots of the plants? (I am fighting years of garden "knowledge" - just need reassurance. PS how do I post my images?


Last edited by momvet on 2/15/2015, 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : thought of more to say)
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Post  momvet 2/16/2015, 11:03 am

Newbie question: Filling deep beds Img_1212
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Post  yolos 2/16/2015, 11:18 am

Oh I like those beds.  You don't have to worry about them rotting out.
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Post  quiltbea 2/16/2015, 11:45 am

And you can sit on the edge when working in your 'garden.'  A real winner.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 2/16/2015, 12:51 pm

yolos wrote:Oh I like those beds.  You don't have to worry about them rotting out.

+1!  And you don't have to worry about having to edge the beds either!
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Post  sanderson 2/16/2015, 12:58 pm

Momvet, Beautiful!!

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Post  momvet 2/16/2015, 2:14 pm

These beds have been there for 30 years. When I knew I was moving to  a tract home with poor soil, I insisted that we include raised beds. (Wish the swimming pool didn't take up half the yard but it was great when the kids were here). So I have decided to follow the advise and put down newspaper and cardboard. I am almost there!cheers Thanks everyone, for their advice based on experience. I just wish the western- most bed got more sun (neighbor's trees - arg!). I am ready to put in my mix as soon as my mushroom compost arrives today. Everyone has been so helpful!
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Post  Triciasgarden 2/18/2015, 7:12 pm

Those are some beautiful beds!
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Post  jimmy cee 2/18/2015, 9:12 pm

You mention "lots of roots" I hope their not tree roots ?????
They sure are gorgeous beds
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Post  momvetkat 2/21/2015, 12:00 am

No Jimmie, not tree roots! I ended up putting weed block down because I found a roll I never knew I had. Thanks everyone - we'll see how this goes!Rolling Eyes
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Post  plantoid 2/21/2015, 4:23 pm

If my 36 inch deep brick walled beds are anything to go by with MM in them , you are in for an amazing crop year so long as you keep the watering sufficient and consistent.

 I try and keep my beds filled to about 3 inches below the top edge as it makes putting in pegs and set lengths of thin black rubber cord fixed to  them to make making my one foot squares much easier for me .
 I remove them and use a long handled trowel to " fluff up the beds " & take out any noticed weed roots etc. in early March if there are no crops growing in them then remake them .
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Post  Triciasgarden 2/21/2015, 7:06 pm

momvetkat wrote:No Jimmie, not tree roots! I ended up putting weed block down because I found a roll I never knew I had. Thanks everyone - we'll see how this goes!Rolling Eyes

Score!
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