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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Raised Bed Filler question Toplef10Raised Bed Filler question 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.

Raised Bed Filler question I22gcj10Raised Bed Filler question 14dhcg10

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Post  Macjim 3/18/2010, 12:41 am

I have built a 4 X 8 X 16inch Raided bed. The reason for the 16 inch depth is because I can not get down on my knees or bend way over.

My question is... What should I use as a filler in the bottom. I would need something cheaper to fill in the bottom 10 inches. Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Post  boffer 3/18/2010, 12:54 am

Broken concrete, big rocks, empty coffee cans, old refridgerators, tires,....

then cover them with weedblock or plastic so you don't lose your mels mix
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Raised Bed Filler question Empty Old Refrigerators LOL

Post  Macjim 3/18/2010, 1:02 am

That's pretty funny Smile

I just found in the Square foot book that Mel says to use sand... Is that still the case?

@boffer wrote:Broken concrete, big rocks, empty coffee cans, old refridgerators, tires,....

then cover them with weedblock or plastic so you don't lose your mels mix
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Post  boffer 3/18/2010, 1:09 am

The refer was for fun, the rest was for real. There's no reason not to 'lose' stuff in the bottom. I was thinking of cheap/free stuff. Any sand, rock, gravel, dirt will work too if it's more convenient. You probably won't have any different drainage than a box sitting on the ground.


Last edited by boffer on 3/18/2010, 10:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Macjim 3/18/2010, 1:19 am

Thanks for the help.... Now that I think about it we do have tons of softball size rocks on our back property. I will consider using it.
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Post  WardinWake 3/18/2010, 9:02 am

@Macjim wrote:Thanks for the help.... Now that I think about it we do have tons of softball size rocks on our back property. I will consider using it.

Have you considered putting a bottom in your SFG bed and placing the bed at table top height?
The bottom can be made out of 3/4 inch thick plywood (untreated wood). Drill a 1/4 inch hole for every square foot with an extra hole in each corner. Another way which is my current favorite, as suggested by Boffer, hardware cloth (wire) stapled to the bottom of the bed with cross pieces of wood to keep the the wire from sagging. Line the inside bottom of the bed with weed blocker to hold Mel's Mix in place. The box can then be placed on any stable structure at a height that is easy to work. My TT beds are 36 inches from the ground to the top of the bed. Climbing vegges will still need to be on or near the ground. Let us know what you decide and keep us informed as to your success.

God Bless. Ward.
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Post  Macjim 3/18/2010, 12:04 pm

Hi Ward,
Thanks for the reply...
What we are doing is converting the front yard (Lawn) to raised beds. I have visited some places that have the 16 inch height and they seem to be perfect.

Now another story is my mother...She is 92 and still gardens on the ground. Recently we have discussed her having some raised beds up on legs so that she could easily tend her veggies. These days she does not grow as much... Tomatoes, bush beans, squash, kale and her favorite Chard. I will use your suggestion for the bottom...
Thanks again... Jim




@WardinWake wrote:
@Macjim wrote:Thanks for the help.... Now that I think about it we do have tons of softball size rocks on our back property. I will consider using it.

Have you considered putting a bottom in your SFG bed and placing the bed at table top height?
The bottom can be made out of 3/4 inch thick plywood (untreated wood). Drill a 1/4 inch hole for every square foot with an extra hole in each corner. Another way which is my current favorite, as suggested by Boffer, hardware cloth (wire) stapled to the bottom of the bed with cross pieces of wood to keep the the wire from sagging. Line the inside bottom of the bed with weed blocker to hold Mel's Mix in place. The box can then be placed on any stable structure at a height that is easy to work. My TT beds are 36 inches from the ground to the top of the bed. Climbing vegges will still need to be on or near the ground. Let us know what you decide and keep us informed as to your success.

God Bless. Ward.
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Post  choksaw 3/18/2010, 12:13 pm

although it may smell a little stop by your local horse farm and see if they need any help cleaning out the stalls i found 1 down here that will let me clean the stalls and take as much used hay (from the stalls) as i want along with all the manure i can use so i kill 2 birds with 1 dyas work, its a bit back breaking, but well worth it. If thats not a plausable solution maybe talk to the rancher or the stable person (i would have said guy but thats not politcaly correct) and see if they will load up some bags or the back of a pick up truck for you might cost a couple $$ but its a win win situation they get some lunch money and you get the materials you need. usualy it all just gets thrown on the compost pile anyway or thrown in the garbage.
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Raised Bed Filler question Empty new, first post, this topic has been bugging me a long time

Post  burlingtonbill 3/18/2012, 5:32 pm

@WardinWake wrote:
@Macjim wrote:Thanks for the help.... Now that I think about it we do have tons of softball size rocks on our back property. I will consider using it.

Have you considered putting a bottom in your SFG bed and placing the bed at table top height?
The bottom can be made out of 3/4 inch thick plywood (untreated wood). Drill a 1/4 inch hole for every square foot with an extra hole in each corner. Another way which is my current favorite, as suggested by Boffer, hardware cloth (wire) stapled to the bottom of the bed with cross pieces of wood to keep the the wire from sagging. Line the inside bottom of the bed with weed blocker to hold Mel's Mix in place. The box can then be placed on any stable structure at a height that is easy to work. My TT beds are 36 inches from the ground to the top of the bed. Climbing vegges will still need to be on or near the ground. Let us know what you decide and keep us informed as to your success.

God Bless. Ward.

Raised bed is the way I'm going also...I'm building four 4'x4' "boxes" 6" deep using deck "wood" with deck wood slats forming a bottom (no rotting.) But I want these up off the ground at waist height for ease of working them. I've seen various ways of elevating: 1) open space below (raised via 4 4x4 legs); 2) box bottom supported underneath by various means - extra 4x4 cedar legs (sideboards down to the ground hiding what's underneath) or 3) completely-filled dirt pedestals with a liner. The last method seems most secure but would require 48 cu ft of fill dirt for a 3' high box. (Seems like a lot.) Haven't decided which method to use, but am leaning towards #3. Any thoughts?

Bill in KS
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Post  Lindacol 3/18/2012, 6:12 pm

Do a search for table tops. There are lots of ideas in several different threads. Here is one:

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t297-building-a-table-top-sfgsome-ideas

I'm 5'7" and the new TT (using a old security door as a base) I just built is 24" at the bottom of the bed with 2x8s for the sides. So the top of the bed is about 32 inches. I can reach across the bed (it is about 30 inches) from one side easily. I think I am going to like that height and plan on putting up to pepper size plants there.

Raised Bed Filler question Ttbed110
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Post  Chopper 3/18/2012, 11:00 pm

@Lindacol wrote:Do a search for table tops. There are lots of ideas in several different threads. Here is one:

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t297-building-a-table-top-sfgsome-ideas

I'm 5'7" and the new TT (using a old security door as a base) I just built is 24" at the bottom of the bed with 2x8s for the sides. So the top of the bed is about 32 inches. I can reach across the bed (it is about 30 inches) from one side easily. I think I am going to like that height and plan on putting up to pepper size plants there.

Raised Bed Filler question Ttbed110

Gorgeous. My next beds will definitely be table tops.
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Post  B00kemdano 3/18/2012, 11:29 pm

I made a flower box a couple years ago (before I learned about SFG) outside our big picture window. The ground slopes away from the house there, so the flower box ended up being pretty tall - about 3 ft - and it is made of stacked landscape timbers. I didn't want to buy expensive soil to fill the whole thing, so I filled the bottom with the cutoffs from the timbers, rocks from the yard, broken bricks, and compost from my pile. After all that, there's about 6" of bagged topsoil, and another 3" or so of MM that I added this spring, since I learned about SFG.

I think for SFG, it would be better to just not make it so deep, but if you have no choice and have to fill the bottom with something, I'm sure you could get wood cutoffs and broken bricks from any construction or house renovation site.

As a note, the landscape timbers I used for my flower box are treated, because I don't grow any food in there. Don't use treated wood in your veggie boxes.
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Raised Bed Filler question Empty filler for deep DEEP boxes or pots

Post  curio 3/19/2012, 8:28 am

One thing I use for fillers for extremely deep boxes are plastic soda bottles (with the caps on). I just fill it to the level I want it, then put a piece of weed block on top and fill the rest of the way with good soil. This is an especially handy thing to do with large pots that you might need to move about at some point.
I leave the caps on so the bottles don't crush down at all. They just act like hard bubbles.
The plastic doesn't decompose like wood eventually will, and in the case of the pots, is lightweight enough to make it easier to lift or move. This was sort of a take-off on filling the bottoms of pots with styrofoam packing peanuts for drainage and to take up extra space. The bottles are MUCH easier to dispose of if you ever need to dismantle the box or pot (instead of picking all those silly peanuts out of the soil) Shocked
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Post  efirvin 3/19/2012, 1:49 pm

So glad I saw this post! I just posted the same question, what to use to fill the bottom half of my raised garden beds. Thanks to everyone who posted here because you helped answer my question too!

Evelyn
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