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Old 06-06-2010, 02:02 PM   #1
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Default raised bed vegetable garden questions

I have the lumber. I have someone to teach me how to use a circular saw sooooo.... I'm good to go. I'm going to start with two 4 x 9 raised beds. Here's the problem.... I want to use 4 x 4s at the ends to give them a finished look and to be able to drill holes in the center of them to put poles that will have chicken wire attached to them. The 4 x 4s I have were free. Can I use those for what I want to do or do I need to go to a 6 x 6 or larger to make sure the wood doesn't split when I try to drill a hole to add a piece of pvc? Next problem is the y-chromosomes in my life are telling me I should cut my 4 x 4s to 54" to anchor them or something to below the frost line of 42" then add some concrete. I think that would be overkill and.... buying extra 4 x 4s to do it their way would cost a lot of money and I'd have to dig a lot of holes and that's a lot of work. I don't think I need to do anything but cut 15" pieces of 4 x 4s for a finished look since the weight of the soil should be more than enough to keep the raised beds in one spot dontcha think? I totally don't want to be digging holes if I don't have to. The diagram is all I think I should have to do.
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:04 PM   #2
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Nails or screws for this? I'm thinking screws. One more thing.... should I attach the 3 x 10s to the middle of the 4 x 4s or toward the front?
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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Default material between raised bed vegetable gardens

There were some good ideas at this place, Material between 4x4 boxes.. I was thinking gravel was cheap enough. What does everyone else use between their raised beds?
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Hi Equil: Here is the circular saw page for you tube:

YouTube - Circular Saw Tips

What you will need:

1. check direction of blade. It should be counter clock wise. Also check the teeth per inch so that it is appropriate to the type of wood you are using.

2. measure and find out how to adjust the depth of cut.

3. To make a straight cut, you will ride the saw against either a framing square, or, you can clamp a jig for your staight edge to your cutting table and use that to guide the saw to make the cut.

4. To start off the saw so it wont stray off the cutting line, mark the saw with a marking knife. You use this instead of a pencil because it is more precise.

Find out what "kick back" is and how to avoid it. VERY IMPORTANT.

5. Never stand directly behind the blade of the saw. Stand to one side, so that if the wood 'kicks back' it willl not hit you.

Selecting wood: You want to use a well dried (kiln dried) exterior grade wood that is relatively resistant to rot. I use vinyl siding between old concrete blocks. Be aware that the 'outside of the wood is usually the bowed side, while the cupped side is the inside. This will make the screws hold better --the would will cup toward the curved side.

I would use a material for the paths that will mulch against weeds, but that will eventually decay. If you use gravel and decide to enlarge or move the bed, you will have a hard time moving the gravel. There is an old saying in archeology/historic preservation: never do anything that is not easily reversable. A gravel path is hard to undo. (You can do it, buy building a screen -- a square box with mesh on the bottom big enough to separate the gravel from the dirt in the path. --just incase you don't take my advice!). I use fiberglas roofing --because I have a lot of it.

Joining the wood. Most people use outdoor quality decking screws. These may be coated so that they wont rust--usually they have a black coating or they will be galvanized.

Finally practice, practice, practice first with scrap lumber so you know exactly what is going to happen.

Finally, measure twice, cut once.

Other safety gear you need: Hearing protection, eye protection and chain saw type protective gloves.

Marking Knife:

http://www.japanwoodworker.com/dept....&dept_id=13216
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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As a y-chromosome with very little experience, I'll share the what I did. While we were renting, I went to a local lumber mill and asked for locust wood. Locust is supposed to resist rot. I bought some 4X4s and some 2X6X12s....(I cut these to make two rectangular plots and one square and fit them together in 3 plots shaped like an "L").

Anyway, I did not sink the 4X4s in the ground (I may have left them a couple of inches longer (attached the boards a couple inches above the bottoms) and dug out a couple incches in the corners just for stability. I think you are fine not burying them below the frost line. It is not a deck or structure that I think would need it.

When we moved, I took only one of the 8X4 rectangles...I wish I'd taken the time to get the other two out, too. Oh well, preparing to move is a stressful time and I didn't think it was worth the effort at the time.

I'm wondering if the free 4X4s are pressure treated...I was wary to use pressure treated lumber for a vegetable garden--that is why I opted for the locust.

I'll look for pictures that I modeled mine after. It was a nice finished look, and probably one of the few projects I've ever built. We did use screws to attach ours together. Pre-drilling holes was necessary, but time consuming.

Hope this was helpful on some level.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Lib,

I couldn't find the site that I modeled mine from, but I went out to take a picture of what mine look like--not quite as attractive as theirs, but this is how theirs were attached and the 'decorative' top of the 4X4. (I had them do that at the lumberyard, if memory serves.

I'm not using it for a vegetable garden at the moment. It is still containing the few pots of natives that I brought with me everywhere I moved. (Most are in the ground now, but I still need to figure out a spot for a few more things.

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Old 06-08-2010, 04:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
There were some good ideas at this place, Material between 4x4 boxes.. I was thinking gravel was cheap enough. What does everyone else use between their raised beds?
I put landscape fabric (weed block) between mine, and then a 2-3 inch layer of gravel. The gravel drains well after rain, so I can get right to weeding/harvesting right after a rainstorm, and not be in the mud.

Also, I would not bury the 4x4 at all, especially if it's only chickenwire that's being supported. Make sure that the sideboards are firmly attached (I'd use deck screws) to the 4x4's so the weight of the soil does not push the boards out and seperate them. You didn't mention the width of your sideboards, are they 8", 10", 12"?

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Old 06-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #8
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My vegetable garden is too big (8000+ sq. ft) for me to convert to traditional raised beds, so I do the next best thing - it involves a LOT of shovel and garden fork work...
The first one shows the initial stages of the potato rows in early April (I wound up with 11 of them); the second one was taken yesterday (7 June) from about the same perspective; the third one (also taken yesterday) shows the carrot, beet, and bush bean beds (the potatoes there are volunteers). These should have been planted some three weeks ago, but conditions just were too wet for seeding.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:20 PM   #9
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I have to be honest…. I thought super long end posts into the ground was over the top bonkers and total overkill until something Quietman said about supporting only chicken wire registered in my brain…. I forgot I told my husband I wanted to rest a couple hundred pound chicken tractor on the frame of my raised bed. I’m going to ditch the idea of a chicken tractor resting on the frame. I’ll have to figure out another way to let the chickens in because I do NOT want to be digging post holes down below the frost line. I’d hit solid clay after 1’ of digging and that’s brutal.
hazelnut> I’m going to leave most of the “in between” areas grass until I figure out what to do with them. I’m torn now except for one area alongside my greenhouse that will be gravel. Grass needs to be cut and gravel doesn’t and I was leaning toward gravel between all of them but… you can’t exactly take a shop vac to gravel. I’ll double up and use plugs and my hearing protection…. no way do I want to lose more hearing. I printed off your directions to keep for when I do it myself the first time. This time I’ve got help. Here’s the brand of lumber I bought except for the 4 x4s that I got for free that I think are pine, Timber Treatment Technologies | Timbersil. It’s non-toxic!!!
dapjwy> I’m not growing anything in pressure treated lumber!!! You are so right. Gives me the heevie jeevies too. I bought some sort of glass infused pine guaranteed for 40 years. I’ll be dead by then. They hand picked wood for me that was left over from a special order and it’s partially weathered to a nice gray soooo no need to paint it. I’ll raise the long boards an inch off the ground. That’s a really good idea!!! I’m seeing that you attached your boards totally to the outside of your 4 x 4s. And Quietman attached some of his toward the front and some toward the back if you look at his last diagram in the 8th post, Quietman's Critter Resistant Garden. That’s 4 different ways of attaching the 9 footers if you include me wanting to attach in the middle. I think maybe I better figure out what to do right now before they come on Friday to help me.
Quietman> The wood was supposed to be a special order 3” thickness by 12” by 10’. What I got was like a 2˝” thickness x 11˝”. I know what I bought and I did not buy 2.5 x 11.5 anything. Your raised bed was the one I wanted but I got tired of waiting for somebody to special order a truck load of 16’ or 18’ lengths so I could add on to their order. They probably got tired of me calling every month to see if anyone had special ordered those lengths. Your raised bed was exactly what I wanted. I have space set aside in my “master plan” for one and as soon as the economy breaks and TimberSil gains more in popularity… I should be able to get the longer lumber I’d need without having to special order a truckload. Until then…. they only stock up to 12’ lengths. I don’t have any landscape fabric laying around but I do have some jute and a roll of left over erosion control geotextile fabric. I really should put something under the gravel so thanks for thinking of it.
suunto> in my dreams could I have an 8,000 sq foot garden and…. the time to tend to it and…. the time to process all the goods from it. I’m getting a serious case of garden lust from your photos complete with bambi and thumper exclusion!!! You probably don’t remember but… you helped me pick potatoes…. I ordered them and had to pass them to friends since I didn’t get going on raised beds fast enough to use them myself. They’ll save starts for me so I’ll be good to go next year.
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Quietman> The wood was supposed to be a special order 3” thickness by 12” by 10’. What I got was like a 2˝” thickness x 11˝”. I know what I bought and I did not buy 2.5 x 11.5 anything.
Oddly enough, it was 3" x 12" x 10 feet BEFORE it was kiln dried (most likely). I think they sent just what you ordered, but standard lumber dimensions are confusing (even for me!) More info on standard lumber dimensions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Quietman> Your raised bed was the one I wanted but I got tired of waiting for somebody to special order a truck load of 16’ or 18’ lengths so I could add on to their order. ... Until then…. they only stock up to 12’ lengths. I don’t have any landscape fabric laying around but I do have some jute and a roll of left over erosion control geotextile fabric. I really should put something under the gravel so thanks for thinking of it.
Yikes! My original plan was for 12 foot lengths, but the lumber yard screwed up and sent two 14 footers (in addition to the 12's)! I modified my plan to exploit the extra 2 feet!! There's no reason you couldn't use 12 footers (that I can think of) and have a slightly smaller bed.

I think the geotextile fabric would be EVEN BETTER than weed block as it's more durable. I had some left over from my pond installation, and I've used it in areas that I NEVER want to see a thistle, etc.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help!

Quietman

P.S. I think it's COOL you are using the Timbersil, if I am reading your message right!!
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