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Planning a Vegetable Garden? How to Make a Vegetable Garden.


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James Kilkelly, was GPI.
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:25 am    Post subject: Planning a Vegetable Garden? How to Make a Vegetable Garden. Reply with quote

Planning a Vegetable Garden? How to Make a Vegetable Garden.
by GPI

Gardening is an extremely satisfying hobby, or even occupation. Gardeners find that anything they plant and nurture become their babies, be it trees, shrubs or even lawns. But for sheer back-to-nature fulfilment, it's hard to beat the vegetable growing aspect of gardening.

. A vegetable harvest basket like this could be yours , photo / pic / image.

I would love those of you out there reading this who have never tasted veg grown in your own soil, to taste the sweetness of a crop which results from your own sweat and clay coated fingers. So that's my plan, starting now and continuing at opportune points throughout the year, I will lead you through the creation, sowing and harvesting of your own home grown veg. There is no time like the present, come on, lets get a jump on the growing season by looking at a location for your productive garden.

Sunlight.
Try to locate your vegetable garden in the sunniest area of your site. Of course, use your own discretion on this; avoid robbing Peter to pay Paul, giving over your sites only sunny spot to the veg garden, whilst your patio or seating area is left to languish in damp shade.

To aid your location choice, you should seek out a position preferably south-facing that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Good light from the sun on your vegetables leaves will help them grow abundantly, while their roots will benefit greatly from the suns warming effect on the soil.

Examples of vegetables grown in Ireland that require lots of sun include aubergines and cucumbers. Whereas veg which copes with less sunny situations includes the leafy specimens of lettuce and spinach. If you find you have to remove a branch or two from nearby shading trees to allow sunlight through, so be it, your veg won't complain.

. Remove branches to allow light through if required, photo / pic / image.

Shelter.
Shelter is almost as important as sunlight when it comes to locating your vegetable garden. Ideally, you will require not only shelter, but good air circulation as well.

The main concern is to avoid creating your garden in an area buffeted by strong prevailing winds (usually south-westerly). These gusting winds will batter elevated veg like runner beans as well as causing early drop on pumpkins/marrows and dreadful stem damage on potatoes. Along with damaging crops through breakages, wind can also dry vegetables out rapidly, requiring more watering on your part.

Thankfully, adequate shelter can come in the form of already existing trees and hedgerows around your site, but be careful how close to these natural screens that your veg is located. For example, the shade cast by tall plantings nearby can often restricts sunlight, which results in poor cropping.

Roots from living screens growing close by can also compete with your vegetables for valuable moisture and nutrients. So, take advantage of these screens by all means, but don't grow your vegetables too close to them.

As I mentioned, beneficial shelter offered by existing garden plants such as hedging and trees can be a deciding factor in the placement of your vegetable garden. However, if you don't have much existing shelter already growing on site, you can always erect a slatted wooden fence or else opt for a temporary run of plastic windbreak netting material. Both these options if installed at 1.5mtr (5ft) high will filter wind throughout the time it takes any future hedging or shelterbelts to grow.

You will notice that both of the artificial shelter options I recommended (slatted fence and windbreak netting) are just wind filters, reducing breezes in much the same way as the leaves of hedging and trees do so. A filter is preferable to a solid barrier such as block walls which can actually increase wind turbulence inside the boundary, as breezes barrel up and over creating a cyclone just inside the veg garden.

A much better option is some material to filter gusts and allow about 50% wind to pass through. A good windbreak will be effective in reducing speed and coldness of gusts for a distance roughly six times the breaks height. If you feel you require extra wind reduction after the first 50%, you can always erect a further low (1or 2ft) wind barrier closer to your crops within the veg garden.

Materials you can use to reduce wind across your vegetable garden.
Arrow Living windbreaks i.e. hedging, trees and shrubs.


Arrow Wooden lath, front and back alternated boarding.


Arrow Woven willow or hazel. Bamboo can also be used but it will be unwoven,


Arrow Drystone wall with wind filter stone spacings.


Arrow Wattle fence, for a rustic look.


Arrow Windbreak net, usually available in colours green, black and orange.


Arrow Picket fence.


Arrow Trellis fence, quite pretty, but poor in reducing wind


Shelter is important, but don't worry, a little bit of filtered breeze across your vegetables will do no harm, in fact it can be quite healthy. Moderate circulation of air will aid the pollination of vegetables and help to reduce the incidence of potato blight, that devastating fungus which thrives in stagnant humid conditions.

Frost free.
Just like stagnant air, frost is another element to be avoided when choosing your veg garden location. Take my advice and steer well clear of frost pockets, garden areas where lower temperatures hold reign and frost lingers far too long. Frost pockets are usually identified as areas of ground lower than their surroundings, one example would be the bottom of a slope with a constant damp and chilly feeling.

Irrigation and drainage.
Often jokingly referred to as "water in-water out", depending on where you live, you and your plants will at some point complain about too much or too little water. Thankfully, here in Ireland natural precipitation (rainfall) is usually sufficient to provide our vegetable gardens with enough water to produce abundant crops.

However, we are at times blessed with dry spells where supplemental moisture is required. In cases like this it helps to have your veg garden located near a water source, be it a hosepipe or water butt. A water butt or tank where rainwater is collected and stored being my preferred choice, less lime, less chlorine, and way more veggie growth.

When it comes to drainage this can often be the difference between a veg garden which is a joy to work in with bountiful crops, or one which is a sticky and poor cropping drudge. Soil areas that are slow to drain take a sickeningly long time to heat up in spring, slowing vegetable growth while all the while veg roots suffocate as they swim in water.

Avoid at all costs locating your vegetable garden in a low area where water collects. If you can, seek out a sloping piece of ground where excess water will simply run off. Of course growing veg in raised beds will allow you to produce crops even in a soggy garden, but more on them still to come.

Along with sunlight, shelter, water and air, one more factor will have a massive impact on your veggie growing. I am probably stating the obvious by saying that your vegetable garden will either flourish or fail depending on your soil. A suitable soil will make your growing eminently easier and produce bumper crops so large that you won't even know what to do with them.

But what is this suitable soil for growing vegetables? Well the best soil you could hope to have is called loam, an open soil that is neither too sandy nor too sticky (claylike). Loam soil is ideal for growing vegetables because it retains nutrients and water well, while still allowing excess quantities of these to flow freely away.

. Loam soil, neither too sandy nor too sticky , photo / pic / image.

Raised beds.
As all too commonly happens in life, things never work perfectly out of the box, and this maybe true of your existing soil. Many gardens especially those in new developments are located on less than ideal soil for gardening, often resembling putty rather than loam. Topsoil is often stripped off by builders for use in communal green areas, leaving you the homeowner with just a thin skin of soil within your own plot, just enough to support grass growth.

There is a solution to poor quality or shallow soil though, and that solution is the raised bed. Simply put, the raised bed is a mound of quality soil, contained or uncontained, which offers you the opportunity to grow veg on even barren plots.

Raised beds make it easy to create a deep, fertile soil, allowing you to add to your existing soil or to bring in a totally new soil mix to fill the beds. Here's what other benefits raised bed gardening will offer you....

Arrow Because of the beds high edging, grass and weeds cannot encroach from nearby open ground.

Arrow Should you receive excess rain, the water will drain from raised beds much quicker than that, which fell on the lower ground.

Arrow Raised beds are easy to care for, even where wheelchair users are concerned, as they minimise bending.

As I said earlier, the beds can be contained or uncontained; personally, I find that raised beds are easier to maintain when they are contained within a solid edging material.

. Under construction, a raised bed, photo / pic / image.

The materials to build your raised beds can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, anything from rough wood off-cuts to decorative bricks. However, on no account should you use reclaimed railway sleepers when constructing veg beds, as these are often treated with materials which have been found to be cancer causing.


Wood treated with preservative?
Instead try using untreated scaffolding planks or untreated joist wood on their edge screwed to four corner posts (minimum 2"x 2"). You also have the option of using decking boards or tanalised D-rail fencing boards, these can be stacked two high on their edge to mimic the scaffolding planks.
However be aware that there is evidence to show that the chemicals used to treat these woods eg. decking, fencing, pressure treated, may not always be safely locked away in the fibres of the wood. These fungi busting chemicals however miniscule the levels, may leech into the soil water and be taken up by veg, which will then in turn be taken up by you.

There is a lot of to and fro debate on the safety of veg bed wood treatment, so you must ask yourself, If wood is used for creating veg beds or even compost boxes, does it matter how soon it rots? Under average Irish conditions It can last for years without any preservatives. Will adding a few more years to the wood through preservatives be worth the possibility of ill health, however slim it may be?
The choice is up to you.

Anyway, no matter whether you go for treated or untreated wood, lining the inside of your wooden raised bed with black plastic film will prevent the enclosed soil drying out rapidly. The plastic sheets can be stapled on the inside face of the beds for this purpose, and also for the possibility that a barrier between damp soil and wood will prevent premature rotting. This simple prevention of wood rot is still open for debate in this damp climate of ours.

You should aim to have an edging high enough to allow you 9 to 12 inches of soil backfill. Size-wise, you can construct your raised beds 3 to 4ft wide and approx 9 to 12ft long, but any length is acceptable once you have the space.

I continually sing the praises of growing your vegetables within raised beds, instead of the traditional method of vegetable garden design, which consisted of orderly rows known as drills and furrows. Everyone from beginners to the more advanced vegetable gardeners seem to agree that raising your beds has the positive effect of increasing your crops whilst reducing the labour required in production.

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Pathways
Under the old regime of drills and furrows, walking between the rows would compact the soil beneath your boots. This resulted in water-lodging and you tracking half the garden indoors on your now soil coated soles which often looked like a throwback to the platform boots of the '70's.

This will not happen if you grow using raised beds, as the areas between each bed will become your new paths. To keep your feet less muddy some possible materials to finish these paths in could include the following...

Arrow Grass (less sticky than clay paths, soft to kneel on, but can cut up and become soggy), remember to leave any grass pathways wide enough for your mower)

Arrow Chipped bark (natural looking but can also become soggy).

Arrow Gravel (economical, drains well, available in a variety of shades, but is very impractical for wheelchair users).

Arrow Paving bricks or slabs (can be pricey and must be kept clean of soil, but these are good solid surfaces available in a variety of patterns and styles)

Arrow Concrete (reasonably priced, a bit bland looking, but solid and trafficable by all garden users).

Pathways are the way to go, believe me, you will use your vegetable garden a whole lot more once you no longer have to undertake a trudge through mud, weeds and puddles to pick your fresh lettuce leaves or eat peas straight from the pod. Just have a look at the picture below and you will truly see how user friendly, accessible and attractive your new veg garden can be.

. Raised bed vegetable garden with brick paver pathways, photo / pic / image.

One important point to remember when laying out veg gardens access is to be generous with the width of your paths. Remember that you will need to get a wheelbarrow down the lane, as well as allowing you space to kneel down and tend the beds. I suggest you opt for a minimum path width of 1 metre (approx 3ft), which is sufficient for both the wheelbarrow and the wheelchair user.

Vegetable garden size.
Before you finally decide on what materials you will use to construct your pathways and raised beds, you should first decide on many you require. How many planting beds/pathways dictates how large you veg garden will be.

For example, 4 raised beds, 3 to 4ft wide and approx 9ft long, with surrounding pathways 3ft wide, will require an area 20ft by 30ft (600 square feet). An area such as this, providing it is well laid out, will yield close on enough vegetables to supply a family of four during the growing season.

Vegetable garden soil testing, amending and improving
Those of you who have ever grown your own veg will know the great sense of satisfaction that the sight of your own healthy vegetables gives you. It's a feeling akin to that felt by the creator of anything great whether it be a piece of music, a beautiful painting or even a prize winning 5lb turnip. Even usually hard men have been known to gush as they tell you how their vegetables transformed from seeds and transplants to usable and most importantly edible specimens.

Now your type of veg garden soil will be one of the main factors influencing the growth rate, disease/pest resistance and eventual size of your vegetables. Although light sandy soil is the ideal soil type for carrots and onions, a loamy soil well supplied with organic material happens to be the best all-rounder for growing most vegetables. Loam soil, an open soil that is neither too sandy nor too sticky (claylike) is ideal because it anchors the vegetables well whilst allowing free passage of air and water.

A simple test to see if your soil is loamy, claylike, or sandy, is to carry out a squeeze test. Firstly, roll up a handful of moist soil into about the size of a golf ball, and then squeeze the ball in your hand.

Arrow If the ball breaks with slightest pressure then your soil could be overly sandy (not good).

Arrow If it instead holds together under pressure, bending to the form of your hand, then the soil has a more than its fair share of clay (again not good).

Arrow A reaction somewhere in between these two would lead me to believe your soil is loamy, good for you. But just to confirm, you can lightly squeeze some of your soil between thumb and finger, loam soil will feel powdery, sandy soil more like grit, and clay will feel slippery.

You may not initially have a good soil type, one that is made up of 50% soil, 25% water and 25% air space, but it is possible to get close to it through carefully adding certain materials to your existing soil. In the case of heavy clay soils, you can greatly improve the movement of water, air and nutrients within them by digging in a 3 to 4 inch layer of gritty sand as deep as you can. The addition of chunky well-rotted compost/farmyard manure will open clay soil up further and help prevent that dreadful cracked earth effect that clays display during dry periods.

. Poor crumb structure of clay causes cracking in dry weather, photo / pic / image.

When amending sandy soils, your goal is to increase the soil's ability to hold water and nutrients. For this you can once again add a 3 to 4 inch layer of well-rotted compost/farmyard manure by spading or forking it in as deep as you can.
Few soils will not benefit from the addition of well-rotted compost/farmyard manure, ask around and you will find that most seasoned vegetable gardeners will dig some into their veg beds each autumn. This is carried out for all the reasons mentioned above, as well as to replace the great quantities of nutrients used up by hungry feeding vegetables.

The ph of vegetable garden soil and how to change it.
Another reason why veg beds benefit from an addition of well-rotted compost/farmyard manure is due to composts helpfulness in moderating soil pH levels. The pH level of your soil indicates its relative acidity or alkalinity, or to put it another way whether your soil is sour (acid), sweet (alkaline), or a balanced neutral. Many aspects of plant growth are affected by your soils ph, a striking example is that of Hydrangea flowers, which are prone to colour pink or red in alkaline soils and blue in acidic soils. Keep a look out for those Hydrangeas, as they are good ph indicator plants.

Most essential vegetable nutrients are soluble and available for use at pH levels of 5.5 to 7.5 (slightly acid), which is why most vegetables grow best within this range. Please see the preferred ph list of some of the most commonly grown vegetables below. If the pH of your soil is too high or low, then soil nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, iron, boron, copper, manganese and zinc start to become unavailable to your vegetables, leading to poor crops.

Artichoke 6.5 - 7.5 __________ Asparagus 6.0 - 8.0
Beans 6.0 - 7.5 __________ Beetroot 6.0 - 7.5
Broccoli 6.0 - 7.0 __________ Brussels Sprouts 6.0 - 7.5
Cabbage 6.0 - 7.5 __________ Carrot 5.5 - 7.0
Cauliflower 5.5 - 7.5 __________ Celery 6.0 - 7.0
Courgettes 5.5 - 7.0 __________ Cucumber 5.5 - 7.5
Fennel 5.0 - 6.0 __________ Garlic 5.5 - 7.5
Leek 6.0 - 8.0 __________ Lettuce 6.0 - 7.0
Marrow 6.0 - 7.5 __________ Onion 6.0 - 7.0
Parsnip 5.5 - 7.5 __________ Pea 6.0 - 7.5
Pepper 5.5 - 7.0 __________ Potato 4.5 - 6.0
Pumpkin 5.5 - 7.5 __________ Radish 6.0 - 7.0
Sweetcorn 5.5 - 7.0 __________ Shallot 5.5 - 7.0
Spinach 6.0 - 7.5 __________ Swede 5.0 - 7.0
Tomato 5.5 - 7.5 __________ Turnip 5.5 - 7.0

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By taking account of the test results you can then decide how much if any special fertilisers or amendments are required to bring the to pH of your vegetable garden soil in line.

Arrow Ground lime can be used to make the soil more alkaline, with an application of 250g per metre squared commonly increasing ph by one point. However as lime is available in different formulations, I advise also consulting the rates set out on the pack.

Arrow If you need to decrease your ph to make the soil more acid, then you can apply sulphate of iron at a rate of 100g per metre squared for each drop in ph point.
Apply these products according to the manufacturers instructions and heed safety warnings especially those concerning the use of protective clothing.

Crop rotation in an Irish veg garden.
Now with ph looked after, you are almost ready to begin sowing, but first a mention of crop rotation. Crop rotation may sound like some archaic farming practise which demands its user grow a bushy pair of sideburns, smoke a pipe, and turn their soil using a horse drawn single furrow plough. Even though this practise has its origin in ancient Rome, it is still as relevant today as when its benefits were first discovered all those years ago.

. Cauliflower and cabbage benefit greatly from crop rotation in the vegetable garden., photo / pic / image.

Simply put, when you practise crop rotation you try to ensure that crops from the same family are not grown in the same bed or patch of soil year after year. Ideally, with vegetables, the different family groups are rotated in such a way as to avoid returning to the same spot for at least three years.
The benefits of rotation are vast, for example...

Arrow Certain vegetable families tend to be attacked by specific soil pests and diseases e.g. clubroot in cabbage. Rotating prevents the build up of these troubles to overwhelming proportions.

Arrow Certain vegetables extract greater quantities of a required element from the soil e.g. iron. By rotating your crops, you prevent depletion of minerals and allow them to replenish.

Arrow Alternating between deep-rooted veg e.g. carrots, and fibrous rooted veg e.g. onions, will improve the structure and openness of your soil.

A rotation cycle for your families of veg.
Even though a three year rotation cycle can be adequate for most small vegetable gardens, by far the best result are are to be achieved by following a five year rotation cycle. Now I have an easy to remember five year crop rotation method to share with you, but before I share it with you it will be worth your while understanding the different groups or families of vegetables.

Arrow Potato group.
The first family is the potato family, a hungry feeding group which contains as well as potatoes the every popular tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. As a learning aid lets call this group P.

Arrow Legume group.
The second group is the legumes or peas and beans, which to for the moment let's call group L. Legumes include all peas for example petits pois and sugar peas (mangetout), and also all beans, for example broad, French and runner beans. These vegetables actually add or fix Nitrogen in the soil which is then available for the following crop.

The legume group like the gardener to add an extra lime to the soil (see ph list above), so it is best to plant these in a bed just vacated by potatoes. In this way lime and potatoes are kept quite far apart, as high levels of lime can cause potato scab.

Arrow Brassica group.
Group three is the brassicas, which contains cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, radish, swedes and turnips. This group, lets call them group B, like good levels of nitrogen which is usually left behind if you planted legumes the year before. Brassicas also like the soil to be limed (see ph list above), so it is always best to use them in rotation quite soon after potatoes.

Arrow Allium group.
The fourth group are the alliums or onions, let's call them group O. As well as onions this contains garlic, shallots, scallions and leeks, basically any veg with an oniony smell. These particular vegetables require you to dig in good quantities of well-rotted manure/ compost plus add lime occasionally to increase the alkalinity of the soil, so you are best to give their patch a least one full rotation before potatoes are sown.

Arrow Root group.
The final vegetable group is the root vegetable group, which we can call group R. This is a group which contains carrot, parsnip, beetroot, parsley and celery. These plants especially carrots prefer soil which is not freshly manured, which in the case of carrots can cause forking.

The order in which all these groups are listed above is a perfectly adequate way in which to rotate your veg. For example in raised bed one of your vegetable garden, you would plant potatoes in the first year, peas and beans in the second year, brassicas in the third, onions in the forth, and root vegetables in the fifth. In your second raised bed, you could have peas and beans in the first year, brassicas the second, onions the third, root vegetables in the forth, and potatoes in the fifth year, and so on for all your beds, moving forward one group each time.

. A crop rotation chart for the vegetable garden., photo / pic / image.

I promised you an easy way to remember this rotation cycle, so here it is in the form of a mnemonic, a sentence to help you memorise a string of words. If we take the five groups, potato (P, legumes (L), brassicas (B), onions (O), and roots (R), and put them in a line, this gives us the letters PLBOR.
Remember the sentence "People like bunches of roses" and you will have memorised PLBOR, the rotation cycle, potato (P), legumes (L), brassicas (B), onions (O), and roots (R).

You can always keep a little sketch of what was where year after year, so that the following season you can glance back and know what to plant in the different areas. In these days of hi-tech gadgets you could even take a few photos or a video clip on your camera phone or camcorder. Wink

Please note that lettuce and sweetcorn can usually be grown within any of the rotation groups without adverse effects. These are vegetable plants which suffer from few pests or disease which persist within the soil.

Now all this rotation may seem like a lot of chopping and changing and a bit much for your humble plot. If it does, you can always experiment and see how you get on without a regimented rotation cycle. Anyway, if you are starting out in vegetable gardening, you will try out many different types of veg over the first few years to see what you like and what grows well for you, a sort of pseudo-crop rotation. Smile

However let me just suggest one golden crop rotation tip that even the most modest plots should follow......

Arrow Whatever you do, avoid planting the same vegetable in the same spot year-in,year-out. This is especially important for the brassica group which includes cabbages.


Further articles to help you grow and improve your vegetable garden

Your Garden - Testing the Soil.

Easy vegetables to grow in Ireland, 3 of the best.
_____________________________________________________________

Grow your own potatoes.

How to chit seed potatoes for earlier and heavier cropping.

How to grow new potatoes for Christmas.

How to manage the top two potato pests, Wireworm and Slugs.

Common potato Scab, Management of the problem.

Potato blight, how to treat Phytophthora infestans.
_____________________________________________________________

How to Grow Spring Cabbage

How to Grow Summer/Autumn Cabbage

How to Grow Winter & Savoy Cabbage

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts.

How to Grow Broccoli

How to Grow Cauliflowers in Irelands Vegetable Gardens
_____________________________________________________________

How to Grow Carrots

How to grow parsnips.

How to Grow Radish.

How to Grow Beetroot

How to Grow Swedes

How to Grow Turnips
_____________________________________________________________

How to Grow Onions

How to Grow Leeks
_____________________________________________________________

How to Grow Peas

How to Grow French Beans

How to Grow Runner beans

How to Grow Broad Beans (fava)
_____________________________________________________________

How to Grow Summer/Winter Lettuces

How to Grow Spinach.

How to Grow Celery

How to Grow Asparagus

How to Grow Sweet Corn on the cob

How to Grow Cucumbers

How to Grow Marrows

How to Grow Aubergines (Egg Plants)

How to grow Squash.

How to Grow Sweet Peppers (capsicum)

How to grow Chillies
_____________________________________________________________
Further videos to help you grow and improve your vegetable garden

Soil Testing, How-to Video

Increasing your stock of seed pototoes, How-to Video.

Then there is also a large selection of organic vegetable seed to be found by clicking below.....

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Last edited by James Kilkelly, was GPI. on Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:14 pm; edited 51 times in total
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Rach
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:09 pm    Post subject: Rabbits and Veg Reply with quote

Hi there,

I have an allotment where I grow veg.
Unfortunately the place is over run with rabbits.
I had some of it fenced off which kept the bunnies out but I didn't really want to fence the whole place.

I have discovered that there is some veg. that they don't seem to like, courgettes, potatoes, peas, beans, parsnips, but only managed to save one carrot last year. Sad

Anyone any anti-bunny ideas?

Rach
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Yorky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to make a raised bed on a garden which is slightly sloping - shall I raise it at the lower end to make it level to prevent soil creep?
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James Kilkelly, was GPI.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorky wrote:
I'm going to make a raised bed on a garden which is slightly sloping - shall I raise it at the lower end to make it level to prevent soil creep?


It all depends on what the slight slope is.
Slight to me could be steep to you and vice versa. If soil washes to the bottom of it in a moderate shower of rain, then I would worry as soil would erode and nutrients would be washed away.
To level things out you could possibly create raised beds in a terraced fashion as shown in the pic below ......

. Terraced raised beds on a slope, photo / pic / image.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Rabbits and Veg Reply with quote

Rach wrote:
Hi there,

I have an allotment where I grow veg.
Unfortunately the place is over run with rabbits.
I had some of it fenced off which kept the bunnies out but I didn't really want to fence the whole place.

I have discovered that there is some veg. that they don't seem to like, courgettes, potatoes, peas, beans, parsnips, but only managed to save one carrot last year. Sad

Anyone any anti-bunny ideas?

Rach



Rach, well the wire net fence about two foot high around your vegetable garden is by far the best way to keep your rabbits out.
As long as you don't forget to bury your fence about a foot below the ground to keep borrowing rabbits out.
Here is a detail I created for a rabbit-proof fence, it includes a horizontal strip of fencing one foot out from the fence on the rabbits side to prevent digging too deep. Easier for you to fill in again with soil as well.

. Wire fence design to deter rabbits, photo / pic / image.

I mentioned raised beds above, and I feel that 2ft high raised veg beds would also make things difficult for the bunnies.

A motion detector bird scarer or motion detector sprinklers could also be used as these will turn on whenever a rabbit gets near your veg.
Just remember to turn them off before you approach so as not to deter yourself.

You mentioned a few vegetables that the rabbits did not like in your garden such as courgettes, potatoes, peas, beans, parsnips. But did you know they also hate onions.
Planting a few rows of these around your garden may go some way to deterring rabbits.

Finally, rabbits hate to think there is another animal (possibly predator) besides themselves in the veg garden.
So the next time you go to the hairdressers or barbers, bring home as much hair from them as you can.
Tie this into little bundles with some thread and either string these on a low single wire fence surrounding your veg area, or else scatter them around your veg rows and beds.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly, was GPI. on Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rach
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Re. Bunnies Reply with quote

Thanks for that GPI.

The fence seems like the best long term solution.

Although I love the hair idea, definitely have to try that.
On the subject of predators, a few people had suggested paying a visit to the zoo for the lion cage washings!!! That might have them running to the next county!

I had heard about the onions as detterent but they had enjoyed munching on my shallots so I wasn't sure how well that would work.

Thanks again,
Rach
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:36 am    Post subject: Re: Re. Bunnies Reply with quote

Rach wrote:

On the subject of predators, a few people had suggested paying a visit to the zoo for the lion cage washings!!! That might have them running to the next county!



Yep the old lion dung trick. Smile
There are a few cat pest deterrents detailed here.... garden cat scarers.
They may translate well to the rabbits, I think the lion dung one is in there too.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GPI wrote:
Yorky wrote:
I'm going to make a raised bed on a garden which is slightly sloping - shall I raise it at the lower end to make it level to prevent soil creep?


It all depends on what the slight slope is.
Slight to me could be steep to you and vice versa. If soil washes to the bottom of it in a moderate shower of rain, then I would worry as soil would erode and nutrients would be washed away.
To level things out you could possibly create raised beds in a terraced fashion as shown in the pic below ......

. Terraced raised beds on a slope, photo / pic / image.


Thanks for the reply. The problem I have is that I cannot dig down at the top of the slope so I am going to have to angle some wood along the sides.

The other issue is that the garden is facing south-westerly so I will need a wind break. Can anyone suggest the easiest (and reasonably presentable) method of doing this?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorky wrote:


The other issue is that the garden is facing south-westerly so I will need a wind break. Can anyone suggest the easiest (and reasonably presentable) method of doing this?


How about any of the following....

Wooden lath, Picket fence.

Woven willow or hazel

Drystone wall

Wattle fence,

Windbreak net.

I have amended the main article at the top of the page with pictures of these shelter types.

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crosseyedsheep
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Size-wise, you can construct your raised beds 3 to 4ft wide and approx 9 to 12ft long, but any length is acceptable once you have the space.


A tip regarding this, from my limited experience, if you intend to hoe between rows of veg which are running lengthways, then limit the bed length so that you can reach at least half way with the hoe from the ends of the bed. Regular hoeing will save you from weeding.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am now in the process of constructing some wooden raised beds on an uneven lawn and will (hopefully) finish up with level beds!

I intend doing the same sort of thing for a greenhouse: construct a level wooden framed base , fill it with topsoil, put a path down the centre of it, attach a greenhouse to the wooden perimeter frame and plant either side of the path. Is this a good idea?

Finally, does anyone know where to get a good quality greenhouse via mail order that does not need a dwarf-wall perimeter base i.e. that is high enough to do as described above? Also, is polycarbonate better than glass?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorky wrote:
I am now in the process of constructing some wooden raised beds on an uneven lawn and will (hopefully) finish up with level beds!

I intend doing the same sort of thing for a greenhouse: construct a level wooden framed base , fill it with topsoil, put a path down the centre of it, attach a greenhouse to the wooden perimeter frame and plant either side of the path. Is this a good idea?


Yes.
What type of fence did you opt for?

Yorky wrote:

Also, is polycarbonate better than glass?


See here... polycarbonate vs glass

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply and fence images, GPI. I was speaking to someone recently and they think the fence would do more harm than good (shadow) and that the site is not that exposed.

Do you know where to get a good quality greenhouse via mail order that does not need a dwarf-wall perimeter base i.e. that is high enough to do as described ?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am now in the process of constructing some wooden raised beds on an uneven lawn and will (hopefully) finish up with level beds!


I have used pressure treated timber to make the beds and I'm now going to level them using timber cut at an angle. The 'cut' side of the timber will be in contact with the ground and I'm concerned about it rotting due to the pressure treated surface having been cut through.

Does anyone know if this will be a problem and if so how to alleviate it eg should I put a layer of plastic between the timber and the earth? I though about treating it with wood preservative but the timber is very wet and the preservative is not suitable for 'wood used for growing food'.

Any ideas?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pressure treatment well done should have the preservatives driven deep into the wood, not just a surface coating.
A cut or two should be of no real concern.
But I bet if you tried to complain to the supplier about rotten wood in a year or two, that the untreated cut areas could be used as a counter argument. Wink

I don't want to scare you Yorky as I know you have already used the pressure treated timber, but just have a look at the section entitled Wood treated with preservative? in my main article above.

Keep us updated as to how you get on, and don't forget to post some pics to provide inspiration to other gardeners like yourself. Smile
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