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Post  theFALSE on 3/22/2020, 11:17 am

Hello, I'm brand new to gardening. My new home has a raised be that I'd like to start a vegetable garden in. It's been at least a year since anything has been planted in it but probably longer. 
Here's a pic of it's current condition. I just ordered the book but I'm wondering what I can be doing NOW to get the bed ready for planting? 
I know literally nothing about gardening so please assume I'm a complete idiot when responding!  Very Happy

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Post  countrynaturals on 3/22/2020, 12:04 pm

@theFALSE wrote:I know literally nothing about gardening so please assume I'm a complete idiot when responding!  Very Happy

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Dear Complete Idiot:  yahoo

welcome  from Redding, CA.

We've all been where you are right now. You're off to a great start by not having to build your garden bed. good job!

My best advice while you're waiting, is to start saving your coffee grounds, eggshells, and other kitchen scraps -- veggie-based only, for compost. Sprinkle the coffee grounds directly on the garden bed.

We crush and sprinkle the egg shells without prep, because we have our own chickens, but if you buy grocery store eggs, you might need to boil the shells, or something, then crush and spread -- and I think you can pour the water right into the garden (also when you hard-boil eggs).

The whole point is to start improving the soil.

Disclaimer: Among us, we have lazy gardeners, passionate gardeners, master gardeners, novice gardeners, and all points in between, so if you don't want to mess with egg shells and coffee grounds, feel free to ignore this post. We'll love you, anyway. I love you

I'm sure the real experts will be around shortly, with lots of great advice.

Again, welcome to the friendliest forum on the internet. flower
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/22/2020, 12:12 pm

TF, there are a couple things about that bed that would concern me a little. One is that the soil looks like it is pretty well depleted of nutrients, and probably needs replacement/upgrade. The other is the placement and size of it - it has a fence behind it which would prevent working on that side of the bed without walking on it, and it looks to be more than 4' wide. One of the great benefits of raised bed gardening is the ability to work the entire bed by reaching across it without compacting the soil. That is the reason for a 4' wide bed of any length - you can reach half way across from one side, and reach across the other half from the other side. If it were me, I would probably make that a flower, herb, or berry garden, and then build a 4' x 8' raised bed in the open area which could be filed with Mel's mix to start fresh.  Then, after you gain a little experience with Square Foot Gardening, you can add more beds to grow more vegetables.

Of course, that is just my .02 cents worth, with change.

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Post  theFALSE on 3/22/2020, 4:15 pm

Thank you both for the responses. I'll definitely lean towards the lazy gardener type lol.

I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver my book but I have learned a little about Mels Mix. Sounds great, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get the supplies needed to make the mix since we just got placed in a lock down in Ohio. 

I think I'm going to rake out the bed, see how the soil looks under all the leaves and debris and go from there. I know this year will very much be a learning year. Going to consider just scraping this bed and building a new one a little further from the fence if I can actually make Mels Mix.
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Post  sanderson on 3/24/2020, 4:45 am

Fals, I believe most garden centers are outdoors and are still open. Out doors, in the sunshine or in the rain, should be relatively safe during non-peak hours. Compressed peat moss (it almost doubles when fluffed ) and a few composts can be found at HD and Lowes. Black Kow or Gardeners cow or chicken manure, Nature's Care Really Good Compost, Ecoscraps Compost in some states, Mushroom compost, and veggie-based compost at some Whole Foods. I found Gardeners & Bloom Purely Compost at a nursery. Coarse vermiculite can be ordered online, with some vendors selling with free shipping.

If you have the tools to cut and stack the existing wood, cut the beds down to no larger than 4'x8' beds, with at least 2' walking space from the fence. If the existing material looks too weedy, corrugated cardboard can be layered on the existing material, overlapping edges. I'm just trying to make it doable for you. Very Happy

I'm going crazy at home and think I will go to a nursery for some flowers for the front yard.

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Post  OhioGardener on 3/24/2020, 8:38 am

TF, if you are not familiar with A.M. Leonard company nearby in Piqua (actually between Troy and Piqua), the have excellent prices on things such as Coarse Vermiculite, various composts, rock dust, etc.. Their main business is providing tools and supplies to commercial gardeners and landscapers, but they also have a retail store at the location called GardenersEdge which sells anything that is in the A.M. Leonard catalog. For us, it is a nice road trip to their store.....  Smile

A.M. Leonard Vermiculite

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Post  sanderson on 3/24/2020, 3:22 pm

OG, Thank you for posting the local source for Fals.

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Post  plantoid on 3/26/2020, 5:13 pm

@theFALSE wrote:Thank you both for the responses. I'll definitely lean towards the lazy gardener type lol.

I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver my book but I have learned a little about Mels Mix. Sounds great, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get the supplies needed to make the mix since we just got placed in a lock down in Ohio. 

I think I'm going to rake out the bed, see how the soil looks under all the leaves and debris and go from there. I know this year will very much be a learning year. Going to consider just scraping this bed and building a new one a little further from the fence if I can actually make Mels Mix.
 Meanwhile whilst you're  waiting for the postie.. go to the home page  , run down the discussion  subject list  . click on compost . 

At the top of this page there are some very useful stickies.  Composting 101  is one of the most important series of posts on the whole site for it gives a rundown of what you can use to make a 100% compost   , adding peat or coir & vermiculite to make your own very high quality soil less growth medium .. we know it as Mel's Mix . 
 Looking at the pictures of your bed .. unless there is an impervious barrier the shrub roots will take a tremendous amount of nutrients out you beds so it might be worth while  digging all the soil out to a depth of one foot , lining the hole with a strong long life weed barrier then putting the soil back ( it will get well  aireated at the same time  Laughing )
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