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Convert raised bed to sqft garden? Toplef10Convert raised bed to sqft garden? 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.

Convert raised bed to sqft garden? I22gcj10Convert raised bed to sqft garden? 14dhcg10

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Convert raised bed to sqft garden?

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sanderson
cwb124
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Post  cwb124 2/27/2018, 10:46 am

Hey folks,

Still learning the ways of sqft gardening and had a question I couldn't find an answer to in the books or anywhere else.  Aside from the small 8x2 sqft garden I build last summer, I have a larger traditional raised bed I built 5 years that has done very well so far.  I was thinking of converting it to a sqft garden to utilize the space better.  It is horseshoe shaped and is 76 sq ft.  It is currently 16" tall filled with soil/mushroom compost.  I need to top it off this spring but instead of topping it off with more compost, what if I topped it off with 8" of sqft garden soil?  Would I be able to take advantage of sqft gardening techniques or would the roots push below into the traditional soil and suffer due to high density planting?  Maybe worst case I could put a weed barrier in between?  I do like having the bed raised higher for easy weeding and want to take advantage of that.  Any input would be appreciated.

CB
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Post  Kelejan 2/27/2018, 11:47 am

I don't think you need to put a weed barrier between; take advantage of the soil below to give your roots room to take advantage of that soil.

I would also think that six inches of Mel's Mix would be sufficient as it is very expensive to cover a large area.

Just mark out your garden in squares four by four ot whatever you shape will take and make sure you have a path round them. You say it is horseshoe shaped, does that mean it is like a keyhole garden where you can access every part of it without treading on the soil? Is, then just make as many squares as needed.
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Post  cwb124 2/27/2018, 12:12 pm

It's horseshoe shaped but only 10' x 10' with 6' x 4' chunk taken out of one side so I can access all areas of the garden from the perimeter.  Like the picture below:

Convert raised bed to sqft garden? Square_galv_horseshoe_packer_50x50x3

I should be able to fill most of it with Mel's mix as I have a ton of vermiculite and peat left.  I just need a good load of compost but since I want a blend to stay true to Mel, I will have to settle for mixed bags from local home stores.  

Thanks for the info, I think I'll do it.  Should be able to drastically improve my yield, especially on smaller plants like carrots, lettuce and herbs which are a favorite in our house.
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Post  sanderson 2/27/2018, 3:16 pm

CWB,  The option is yours.  If the current soil is weedy, you may want to put a layer of weed cloth (I like contractor grade because it is tougher) and top with 6" of Mel's Mix.  Without a weed barrier, you may pull weed seeds to the top every time you pull out a plant.

I like the design of the "key hole" garden you have.  Every square is easily accessible. Convert raised bed to sqft garden? 3170584802

I like this thread because of the photos by members of different composts. https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t21089-recommended-store-bought-compost-photos-of-composts?highlight=compost

Mastogarden posted this photo of peat moss, vermiculite and 5 different compost that she found.  Half way down the first page of this thread. https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t22044-a-new-sfg-fan-from-texas

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Post  Kelejan 2/27/2018, 3:48 pm

cwb124 wrote:It's horseshoe shaped but only 10' x 10' with 6' x 4' chunk taken out of one side so I can access all areas of the garden from the perimeter.  Like the picture below:

Convert raised bed to sqft garden? Square_galv_horseshoe_packer_50x50x3
If you have complete access from all sides, then you are good to go. Subdivide the area into three, 2 @ 10 squares by 3 squares, and a 4 x 4 square piece.  I was concerned about the four feet deep back piece, being able to reach in without falling into the dirt. Being the short person I am, non of my beds are more then three feet deep because of my shorter reach.  I downgraded from 4x4s to 6x3s; much easier for me.

Put me right if I have made a mistake.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 2/27/2018, 9:51 pm

Sounds like a good plan, cwb124. And welcome, btw! :-)

That height will make for nice carrots & potatoes....
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Post  cwb124 2/28/2018, 9:25 am

Kelejan wrote:If you have complete access from all sides, then you are good to go. Subdivide the area into three, 2 @ 10 squares by 3 squares, and a 4 x 4 square piece.  I was concerned about the four feet deep back piece, being able to reach in without falling into the dirt. Being the short person I am, non of my beds are more then three feet deep because of my shorter reach.  I downgraded from 4x4s to 6x3s; much easier for me.

Put me right if I have made a mistake.

No that's about right.  I'm 6'5" so I can reach to all corners of the garden luckily.  Nobody walks on the soil except for the darn groundhogs!  I might convert one whole 10'x3' section and the back section to sqft and leave the other 10x3 as is for zucchini and watermelon.  Would work perfectly as I can move some of the soil over to top off the zucchini/watermelon section and then I'll have the dept for mel'x mix.  I like to just let zucchini and watermelon sprawl out so they'll have plenty of room to do that in the section I don't convert. That will give me about 46 squares plus the 16 squares I have in my other dedicated sqft garden.  Lots of options for goodies this summer!
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Post  Kelejan 2/28/2018, 12:18 pm

CBC. Wow! 6'5".  No wonder you will have no trouble reaching across your beds. I am a smidgeon under 5' so really, really, need those three foot wide beds  accessible from either side otherwise I am liable to kill vulnerable plants by falling on them with my hand.

In my next life I have a request in for longer legs and arms, meanwhile I do the best with what I was born with.

Anyway, I am sure you are going to have so much and many good results.

P.S. I am rather pleased that I got your plan interpreted more or less correctly. Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 2/28/2018, 1:20 pm

cwb124 wrote:. . .   I'm 6'5" so I can reach to all corners of the garden luckily.  Nobody walks on the soil except for the darn groundhogs!  I might convert one whole 10'x3' section and the back section to sqft and leave the other 10x3 as is for zucchini and watermelon.  Would work perfectly as I can move some of the soil over to top off the zucchini/watermelon section and then I'll have the dept for mel'x mix.  I like to just let zucchini and watermelon sprawl out so they'll have plenty of room to do that in the section I don't convert. That will give me about 46 squares plus the 16 squares I have in my other dedicated sqft garden.  Lots of options for goodies this summer!
I like your thinking. A dedicated 3' x 10' for summer squashes.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/28/2018, 9:01 pm

Love this, CWB, and your keyhole shape is great.  I think you can definitely do a combo version of SFG very easily.  Especially since you have a producing established raised bed.  Many of us do a bit of a hybrid, with Mel’s basic underlying principles in play.  I have 2 straight up ANSFG beds, a large bed of dirt/MM, and an old school compost heap....

And other containers...it just needs to be what works for you.
Would love to hear what you end up deciding for your space!  Very nice.Convert raised bed to sqft garden? 3170584802
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Post  Turan 3/4/2018, 8:12 pm

I am curious, was production falling off with the raised beds so you fee they need a big shot to get producing again?

My raised beds are old school SFG, good garden soil amended with plenty of compost and some sand over the years. I use the SFG organizing concept of squares and that is a huge deal. The principle of thinking about planting so that plants just touch as they mature in all directions, so they are not competing but still covering the soil in all directions, is key.

I love those horse shoe shaped beds, I have one like that.

Good luck with your projects!

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