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preparing raised beds


 
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aine
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 25 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:58 pm    Post subject: preparing raised beds Reply with quote

hi there
just a quick question. we have bought some railway sleepers to make raised vegetable beds. i want to sow lettuce, scallions, herbs, nothing that require too much depth


my husband reckons we dont need to dig the area, he said we should just put the sleepers down and fill up with soil. i disagree and said the area needs to be prepared.

so can you settle this discussion please to dig or not to dig!
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stonehead
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Location: Galway, City.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi aine, you may get away with just covering the ground with cardboard which should kill back the grass and weeds and it will eventually rot down.
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Ben Yezir
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cover with cardboard, or 6 sheets of newspaper and water. The top with soil and manure. There is no need to dig if you do this.
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aine
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

really?
my husband is delighted!
thanks a million

aine
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest that you dig half of the bed and see what is the difference in cropping. When you fill the beds with soil to the height of the railway sleeper that soil will settle to about two thirds that height. For most crops this is quite adequate but for others when the roots meet a solid base that is untilled they may flatten out and not give a good return. besides the bought in soil may not be as good as your own soil so that a little mixing may be necessary. Now how is that for advice for marital harmony. There is some good soil in Bornacoola.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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aine
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ha ha michael!!

i'll dig my half and let the hubby leave his and we'll see whose works better!!

not too far here from bornacoola.
my father (farmer) has a car trailer load of very well rotted manure waiting for me so i think the veggies will do well. i just have to get it collected to bring here
thanks!!
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Lius
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Location: Ballinteer, Dublin

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Railway sleepers are soaked in Creosote which is a well known carcinogen and will leech into whatever you plant in the raised beds. You should not grow any edible plants (vegetables / herbs) close to railway sleepers.

Sorry for the bad news but I think you should be warned.
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

line the railway sleepers with a sheet of polythene. vegetables will not grow near creosote a form of self protection. if there is a load of manure waiting to be collected then don't refuse it, too good to turn down an offer like that.
michael brenock Horticultural advisor (retired)
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aine
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Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks guys

ended up using scaffold boards that we had left over from building the house so they costed us nothing!!

manure arrived today so i'll be busy next few days
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Lius
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aine,

Great thinking using scaffold boards instead, no point in risking your health, keep the railway sleepers for your flower / shrub display.
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aine
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Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes lius....and they costed me nothing as well which was nice!!
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