Raised beds materials

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  • Slackdaddy

    My pronouns: Iva/Bigun
    Jan 1, 2019
    5,645
    Working on garden area for next year,, Fenced in area 22' x 30'
    Our soil is clay, clay, and more clay. So raised beds will be in order.
    Trying to come up with an economical material to make raised beds out of?

    Open to any and all ideas
     

    19smiller

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2021
    128
    I used pallets. Got plenty for free from here and there and just cut them in half and screwed them together.
     

    mpollan1

    Foxtrot Juliet Bravo
    MDS Supporter
    Sep 26, 2012
    6,046
    Мэриленд
    Don't know if this falls within your definition of economical but a Trex like material would last a good long while. I have on occasion seen it listed on Craigslist free when someone redoes their deck.
     

    Archeryrob

    Undecided on a great many things
    Mar 7, 2013
    2,960
    Washington Co. - Fairplay
    Saw a guy on youtube make forms for like a concrete curb. The join with rods and you can kind of lego it to make the sizes you want. Make some molds, oil them and cast the blocks. Plus these do not rot.

    Found it
     

    King Chicken

    I identify as King/Emperor
    MDS Supporter
    Apr 24, 2022
    1,624
    Land Full of Marys - MoCo
    Working on garden area for next year,, Fenced in area 22' x 30'
    Our soil is clay, clay, and more clay. So raised beds will be in order.
    Trying to come up with an economical material to make raised beds out of?

    Open to any and all ideas
    If you want cheapest probably pallets...if you want it to last forever maybe plastic.

    I guess you could always treat pallet wood or 2x6's before installing.
     

    johnkn

    Ultimate Member
    Feb 27, 2012
    2,083
    For something that large why not just rototill amendments into your soil?

    Otherwise if you are raising an area 22x30x2 you’re going to need ~2 tandem dump trucks of soil....

    .
     

    Slackdaddy

    My pronouns: Iva/Bigun
    Jan 1, 2019
    5,645
    Don't know if this falls within your definition of economical but a Trex like material would last a good long while. I have on occasion seen it listed on Craigslist free when someone redoes their deck.
    Good idea,,
    Noted for reference and saving a search on CL
     

    F-Stop

    Ultimate Member
    Feb 16, 2009
    2,478
    Cecil County
    I did 4x8 treated for frames. Metal roofing for sides. Dirt is only in contact with the metal. Hugelkultur to save money on the good soil.

    3738ff9ab685e7f9261f503f3221a50e.jpg



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    capinyoass

    Active Member
    Apr 19, 2013
    165
    Been there done that
    Working on garden area for next year,, Fenced in area 22' x 30'
    Our soil is clay, clay, and more clay. So raised beds will be in order.
    Trying to come up with an economical material to make raised beds out of?

    Open to any and all ideas
    Been there done that, don't waste your money or your time building. Work nutrients into your soil (clay) screened top soil, leaf grow, horse manure etc.. Just turned mine over for the winter this weekend, grew 2lb tomatoes in it this past spring/summer before the drought.
     

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    Sampson

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 24, 2013
    1,624
    White Marsh

    Clay can be a pain but it has some value.​

    3 Pros of Clay Soil​

    Clay soil has something of a bad reputation because of how difficult it is to grow things in it, due to the difficulty roots have with making their way through clay. However, there are advantages to clay soil, including:
    1. 1. Drought tolerance: Since clay soil retains so much moisture, it’s very drought-tolerant. If there’s an ample amount of clay in your soil, your plants will have plenty of water to draw on throughout a dry season.
    2. 2. Good nutrient density: Clay soil particles attract and bind to nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that feed plants and help them grow. The innate clay minerals also make for a healthy vegetable garden bed.
    3. 3. Suitability to certain plants: Wet clay might make it hard for lots of plants to grow, but certain types are more than capable of growing in this nutrient-rich and moisture-rich soil. Think birch and hawthorn trees, or ivy and honeysuckle.

    3 Cons of Clay Soil​

    There are several reasons you might choose to avoid gardening in clay soil. Here are three of the most prominent:
    1. 1. Reduced aeration: Dense clay soil binds together so tightly that the roots of your plants won’t receive much air. Most plants need that sort of aeration to truly thrive, making clay soil a detriment to your goals.
    2. 2. Increased compaction: Dry clay prevents infiltration of roots throughout the ground by being so thick and sticky. This sort of compaction makes it difficult for plants to even start growing.
    3. 3. Poor drainage: The danger in having a soil that retains as much moisture as clay is that it doesn’t drain very well. When your plants receive too much moisture, it can lead to root rot and other issues.

    3 Steps for Improving Clay Soil​

    You can compensate for the weaknesses of clay soil to help your plants flourish. Here are three simple steps to clay soil improvement:
    1. 1. Add soil amendments. To increase aeration and reduce compaction, add about half a foot or more of organic matter or other soil conditioning materials like grass clippings, wood chips, and other types of mulch to your clay topsoil.
    2. 2. Mix organic matter into your garden. Next you can start combining the organic material and your clay topsoil with a shovel or tiller. This will lead to a slightly more raised bed in your yard, but it will pay off with increased and more efficient garden plant growth. This addition of the organic matter will break up the density of the clay as you mix it in, making it far easier for your plants’ root systems to stretch out.
    3. 3. Plant cover crops. Now that your garden can host more diverse species of plants, make sure to plant some lush, leafy cover crops that will drop a lot of their own leaves and organic matter into the soil. These will release microorganisms and plant nutrients to automatically loosen the soil, so you don’t have to keep doing so manually.
     

    Growler215

    Ultimate Member
    Dec 30, 2020
    1,889
    SOMD
    You can make raised beds without physical barriers. Add organic ammendments (leaves, etc) and till the whole area, then rake 2' pathways on all sides of 3' or 4' wide beds of whatever length you want, moving the soil from the pathways onto the beds. This creates beds that are above the original soil line as well as drainage around these raised beds. If you want the beds higher, you can re-till the pathways after raking all the loose soil onto the beds and rake the newly loosened soil onto the beds again. Find the low point in the walkways following a heavy rain and you can provide an improved drainage path for the whole garden.
     

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