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James27576

New Member
This year is going to be my first attempt at gardening. Due to some back and knee issues I am going with a raised bed. I have enough scrap lumber to build a bed about 4ft x 3.5ft. the side walls are going to be made from 2x6s so I know I will be limited on what I can plant. I live in eastern NC, Burpee.com tells me I am in growing zone 7.

Now for the questions. (Yes, I hear the collective groan) A couple I think I know the answer, but I'm still going to ask so I will know the answer.


What are some good suggestions for the veggies? (funny thought: I love corn so I thought that would be good, then thought 3 ft tall raised bed + 6-8ft tall stalks of corn = bad idea.) So far I am going with onions, squash, cucumbers, and a couple varieties of peas.

Will tomatoes work or should I plant them in the ground / topsee turvee?

I bought one bag of miracle grow gardening soil, should I buy enough to fill the bed or mix it with something else?

Should I line the bed with plastic? (pressure treated lumber)

Should I germinate the seeds under a plant light or in the bed? Is it based on the seeds?

Would watermelons be a good idea or would their be a weight or root issue?

That's all I got for now, if you can think of something I didn't ask that you think I should know, I would love to hear it.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.
James
 

Bluewolf

New Member
Welcome James!!!

I don't know that much about raised beds and veggies

but my personal thoughts are

corn tomatos and watermelons don't seem like they would be a wise idea for such a small space

I would find someplace out of the way and plant them there

I to have a very bad back and knees and I have a mantis tiller

I just tear up spots where I want to plant something and start there

someone else with a lot more knowledge about veggies should be around shortly to guide you into the right direction

:D

wolfie
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome aboard James!
First thing first. You are using treated lumber-> You will definitly need to use some heavy gauge plastic to line your beds!
There will be more of us along shortly to add to the suggestions!
 

Gloria

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome James. I think Topsy turvee toms would work better for you since you have a very small planting area. I don't do raised beds..I do rows and rows so I'm not much help there. Watermelons..I agree with Blue..they produce a large vining bush and heavy fruit. (I get 50 pound melons myself) I would find an open corner, till it up and plant. Are you going organic? Good luck with your new garden.
 

Blueaussi

New Member
. I live in eastern NC, Burpee.com tells me I am in growing zone 7.
I lived in eastern NC for a few years, I worked at East Carolina.


What are some good suggestions for the veggies? (funny thought: I love corn so I thought that would be good, then thought 3 ft tall raised bed + 6-8ft tall stalks of corn = bad idea.) So far I am going with onions, squash, cucumbers, and a couple varieties of peas.
Peas and probably onions should be considered cool season crops in zone 7. Someone who knows more about growing onions can speak up, but I know around here they're put in in the fall or early spring. Peas, peas should go in now. It'll be to hot for them by the end of May.



Will tomatoes work or should I plant them in the ground / topsee turvee?

Consider some dwarf or determinate varieties for your raised bed, and maybe a cherry tomato for the upside down planters. New Big dwarf seeds are available at Tomato Growers supply, and I have grown it. It's a nice tomato.
Also, if you're near Raleigh at all, you might try and make it by Craig LeHoullie's place at the Farmer's Market. Boy, I'd love to drop by there. He's forgotten more about tomatoes than most of us will ever know. Here's a link to his blog with information about what he'll have this year.

http://nctomatoman.weebly.com/from-the-vine-vegetable-seedings-2010.html

I have to say, I didn't like the upside down plants very much because the tomato vines still drooped all over the ground. Have you considered other kinds of containers or is space an issue? Here's one I'm giving a try this year. If it works I'll probably byuild more next year.

http://earthtainer.tomatofest.com/pdfs/EarthTainer-Construction-Guide.pdf

I also get 5 gallon pickle buckets from a deli across from where I work. It's called Firehouse, and they charge $2 for the buckets, which goes to a fireman's charity. I get a food safe and sturdy container for my garden overflow.


I bought one bag of miracle grow gardening soil, should I buy enough to fill the bed or mix it with something else?
I don't like Miracle Grow, it's got too much nitrogen, so, yeah, I would mix it with plain old top soil or one of the peat based container potting soils.

Should I germinate the seeds under a plant light or in the bed? Is it based on the seeds?
Tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds will most definitely germinate better and faster with heat. If the soil drops below 50F you can lose all your seeds. If you want to grow basil, heat is important, too.


That's all I got for now, if you can think of something I didn't ask that you think I should know, I would love to hear it.

Have you considered herbs? A lot of them do very well in containers or small spaces and fresh herbs really enhance my veggie eating experience.
 

James27576

New Member
(please note I had to wiki lasagna gardening)

everything I am doing this year is on a small scale. according to the article it said that I can start the lasagna now, but without coming out and saying it, it hinted that it is a good idea to start it up in the fall. assuming things work well, I will be making a larger bed or two I could build one at the end of the growing season and work it then. I am going to store this as a "definitely maybe" for next years bed.

Blueaussie alot of good info there, will be using it, thanks.

Ron, will I need to come up with a drainage option?

The finished dimensions came up slightly smaller (just under 4 x just over 3) than I had planed (got limited by the size of the scraps) I am looking at needing a total of right around 6 cu ft of soil, I have two of the Miracle Grow, and will probably find another option for the other 4.

I was thinking that corn, tomatoes, and watermelons were a bad idea, but I have been wrong before... lightning can strike twice.

Thanks much for the advice.

One question I forgot to put in this morning, what about fertilization? with the miracle grow do I have enough initially? should I fertilize mid season?

Thanks,
James
 

Bluewolf

New Member
ONE EXTREME WORD OF CAUTION!!!!

DON'T GO GETTING TO HAPPY WITH THE MIRACLE GROW!!!

It burns the poop out of stuff!!

I myself don't use it hardly ever I use the bloom burst stuff early in the year and no other

you want a good food for your plants??? I use Preen Bloom booster (green lid)
it used to be called preen and green now they have two different types and are color coded the red is just a weed preventative and the green one does weeds and feeds the blooms

i apply the preen right now..when nothing is up but an inch or two it is a time released agent that doesn't burn..I apply it just bfore a big rain
 
Hi James.

I think some here mentioned that root crops are great. Thats because you can control the soil and they take up so little room.

I personally don't plant any large plants (tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, etc.) in a raised bed, they just take up all the room and they grow well anywhere besides. I've got onions, turnips, beets, carrots, lettuce and spinach in mine.

For the soil, just mix compost, vermiculite and peat moss together in some ratio. Most people say equal amounts but you can fudge the numbers a little bit and still come out alright. Do that and you can probably skip fertilizer for the first two years at least.

Hope that helps.

Jason
 

Blueaussi

New Member
Jason, James mentioned having some knee and back problems, so I think putting peppers and tomatoes in the ground might be physically difficult.
 

James27576

New Member
I shied away from most of the root crops due to how shallow the bed was. It is only 6" deep. I did go with a small variety of onion. Potato is one that I would like to plant, but didnt think it would be a good idea here. Am I wrong?

both of the blue guys told me to be careful with the miracle grow... I think its for a reason, Im going to listen. The guy at Home Depot tried to get me to buy 3 bags of the miracle grow garden soil. Now I am glad I didnt.

I do have some back and knee issues, but a couple plants in the ground will not be a big issue. My problems are to the point that I dont think I should try to maintain a large in ground garden. That is why I decided with the raised garden.

If I do plant a few items, where I live has ALOT of pines, I know that lime is solution for the acidity, but I dont know how much or even how to apply it to the soil.

just more questions being asked of you guys... Thanks

James.
 

Mainegal

Super Moderator
Staff member
I've planted tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets and they have done well. Also done peppers in them too
 

Bluewolf

New Member
both of the blue guys told me to be careful with the miracle grow... I think its for a reason, Im going to listen. The guy at Home Depot tried to get me to buy 3 bags of the miracle grow garden soil. Now I am glad I didnt.

I do .
James..sweetie just so you know..both us "blue guys" are actually girls ;)


The garden soils arn't so bad..but when you start using the powder/spray miracle grow those are the babies that burn everything

Scotts brand soils are just as good and alot cheaper :D
 

Dor

Active Member
Raised beds

(please note I had to wiki lasagna gardening)

everything I am doing this year is on a small scale. according to the article it said that I can start the lasagna now, but without coming out and saying it, it hinted that it is a good idea to start it up in the fall. assuming things work well, I will be making a larger bed or two I could build one at the end of the growing season and work it then. I am going to store this as a "definitely maybe" for next years bed.

Blueaussie alot of good info there, will be using it, thanks.

Ron, will I need to come up with a drainage option?

The finished dimensions came up slightly smaller (just under 4 x just over 3) than I had planed (got limited by the size of the scraps) I am looking at needing a total of right around 6 cu ft of soil, I have two of the Miracle Grow, and will probably find another option for the other 4.

I was thinking that corn, tomatoes, and watermelons were a bad idea, but I have been wrong before... lightning can strike twice.

Thanks much for the advice.

One question I forgot to put in this morning, what about fertilization? with the miracle grow do I have enough initially? should I fertilize mid season?

Thanks,
James
welcome James to our little piece of Heaven.

I have used raised beds for the last three years. The first year, I had two 4X4 beds and they were only 6 feet deep. I found that was not deep enough. So if you can get more scrape wood make yours 12 feet. Last year I added 2 more 5X5 by 12 raised beds. This year I plan to to add 2 more. I didn't have any luck with my cantaloupes becaue my area was too small so one of the beds this year with be just for them and one posssibly for sugar baby water watermelons. I use compost with manure in my beds and top them with mulch. I have mulch in the back of my van right now and I am getting a load at the end of this month after I have everything planted.

Lasagne gardening is a good idea also. I grew peas and okra that way. I have learned so much from my friends here. I hope I have helped. I have to garden this way because of chronic pain in my back, and knees because of rheumatoid arthritis.
 

James27576

New Member
both us "blue guys" are actually girls ;)
my apologies, no offense meant. Honestly I didnt know, and I assigned a pronoun. "he" is shorter and I am a lazy typist...

I am going to go with it like it is see what happens. Right now I am hoping to get some germination going. Got seeds in peat pots in a warm room with a plant light fingers and toes crossed.
 

Bluewolf

New Member
my apologies, no offense meant. Honestly I didnt know, and I assigned a pronoun. "he" is shorter and I am a lazy typist...

I am going to go with it like it is see what happens. Right now I am hoping to get some germination going. Got seeds in peat pots in a warm room with a plant light fingers and toes crossed.
Sallright!!! happens to me all the time there arn't to many women that are wolfs

Oh and I misspoke earlier I said scotts products when I meant Shultz

actually to let you in on a little secret I was told be The Shultz vendor

Miracle grow and shutlz are the same product packaged at the same plants
just different labels and cheaper!!

with MG you are just paying for the "myth/name" :D
 
I shied away from most of the root crops due to how shallow the bed was. It is only 6" deep. I did go with a small variety of onion. Potato is one that I would like to plant, but didnt think it would be a good idea here. Am I wrong?

both of the blue guys told me to be careful with the miracle grow... I think its for a reason, Im going to listen. The guy at Home Depot tried to get me to buy 3 bags of the miracle grow garden soil. Now I am glad I didnt.

I do have some back and knee issues, but a couple plants in the ground will not be a big issue. My problems are to the point that I dont think I should try to maintain a large in ground garden. That is why I decided with the raised garden.

If I do plant a few items, where I live has ALOT of pines, I know that lime is solution for the acidity, but I dont know how much or even how to apply it to the soil.

just more questions being asked of you guys... Thanks

James.
Yeah, you'd need a lot of soil to hill it up for potatoes.

You'd be surprised at root crops and how shallow soil they can use. I plant the Nantes variety of carrots which is stubby. As long as you don't do parsnips you'll be in great shape.

Jason
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
Man I forgot again to get the raised bed pics! Gosh the beds Tim has been building for the neighbors are working out well. There is absolutly nothing they don't plant in the beds. I am writting a not right now to take pictures, You guys need to see these beds. Mibe will be deeper about 12 -18 inches. Some plants need a little deeper root systems.

Yes you can plant almost anything inthe raised beds! Even tomatoes, some my neighbor had standing with stakes others she let lay donw.
 

James27576

New Member
Hey guys, thanks for all the good advice thusfar. I have one more question I feel is quite important.

I am lining the garden with plastic per some advice given here. Do I need to punch some drainage holes? I know for potted plants you need them I am thinking similar concept here.

Thanks much!
James
 


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