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Raised Bed Query


 
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Ray and Fiona
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:12 pm    Post subject: Raised Bed Query Reply with quote

I now have my scaffolding planks for the raised beds.

What is the best way of joining them together? I want to go 2 planks high (i.e. 9" x 2= 18") and i'm going with 8' x 4'.

Is galvanised corner brackets the way to go or is there a better or cheaper way?

Thanks in advance,

Ray.
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Sneachta
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last year I made a bunch of them with scaffolding planks and just used sawed square garden posts in the corners and screwed them together. I cut the posts about 10cm too long and pushed that into the ground to act as a stabilising anchor for the bed. Think i saw a video on youtube from gardeners world showing that so maybe worth having a look there for ideas.

This year I will be burning the planks in the stove as i decided i wanted to use my entire front garden as a bed and have dug the whole lot up Twisted Evil
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Dirt Digger
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Raised Bed Query Reply with quote

Ray and Fiona wrote:

I want to go 2 planks high (i.e. 9" x 2= 18") and i'm going with 8' x 4'.


Hi Ray & Fiona
raised beds of that size will take some serious filling.
By my estimation you are talking over a tonne and a half of soil/compost per bed, not mind you that there is anything wrong, just some serious soil shifting to be done, but if you start this big, and do it well in the beginning you'll be well set for many years.
My beds are/were 6' x 3' x 14" and they took some work, but it has been worth it...
I would bracket planks to each other, and internal support posts. the extra effort and attention will pay dividends in really solid beds...

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Ray and Fiona
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Raised Bed Query Reply with quote

Dirt Digger wrote:
Ray and Fiona wrote:

I want to go 2 planks high (i.e. 9" x 2= 18") and i'm going with 8' x 4'.


Hi Ray & Fiona
raised beds of that size will take some serious filling.
By my estimation you are talking over a tonne and a half of soil/compost per bed, not mind you that there is anything wrong, just some serious soil shifting to be done, but if you start this big, and do it well in the beginning you'll be well set for many years.
My beds are/were 6' x 3' x 14" and they took some work, but it has been worth it...
I would bracket planks to each other, and internal support posts. the extra effort and attention will pay dividends in really solid beds...


Yes I was going to only go 12" high but I felt that scaffolding planks were the answer but they only come 9" high which is just that too low hense the 18" high beds. The pay off for the higher beds is less bending down as Fiona has a very bad ankle.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Ray & Fiona,

Personally I would use 4" steel angle brackets (approx. 36") driven into the ground and screw the planks to them with rust free screws as timber posts will rot and you will have some serious digging out to do when posts will need replacing. Also it would make the whole structure more rigid as with that amount of soil pushing against it you will need it. Position the steel on the outside corners as it will make plank replacement easier when the time comes. If you want to go the whole hog then set the brackets in concrete - job for life then. You could also leave them a little higher than your side planks for future attachment of netting for example. Get some copper piping, flatten it out and nail to the uppermost edge of your planks - keeps the slugs and snails out. Do it once and do it right is my motto. No point having to start work again on your beds in two or three years time. Treat the planks with a preservative before installation if you can then you should get another two or three years out of them. If you bought them second hand from a builder/scaffolder then they have been out in all weather for several years and might not be in the best of condition by now. Need a mini-digger?

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray and Fiona - If you go back to the last thread on the subject, you'll see a pic of my concrete boards held up by standard angle iron. They've been there for six years now and I regularly walk about on the top of the bed so they're not weakening.

They're not expensive and any largeish steel merchant will have a cutter that will chop them into the required length in seconds. Worth a try?

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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as an experiment I bought two secondhand builders scaffolding planks to make a raised bed, €4 each. Sawed them in two to make a square bed, 1.2m x 1.2m. As I was in a bit of a hurry at the time I nailed them together. Screws should be used, as it's easier to remove screws. It helps to be able to remove one side if the bed if you need to dig/add/remove soil in a few years time. Don't overdo the use of brackets, you'll want to be able to remove one side with little effort.
As the planks are so heavy I didn't need any posts/pegs or any other sort of support or stabilisation.
I'd a lot of old compost, manure, leaf mould, ie growing media lying around and it was enough to fill the bed right up to the brim.
Had I being paying for the growing media I'm sure it would have cost between €50 and €100. This is the expensive part of raised beds. The frame is the cheap bit.

The only other thing needed was a weed proof fabric underneath the bed and out a little, 1.5m x 1.5m.
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Ray and Fiona
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all very much for the advise.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need to buy weed proof fabric. A few flattened large cardboard containers, of the type that cookers, fridges etc come in, will do the job just as well - free.
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blowin wrote:
No need to buy weed proof fabric. A few flattened large cardboard containers, of the type that cookers, fridges etc come in, will do the job just as well - free.

I disagree. These retain moisture when waterlogged, and then disintegrate.
A couple of square metres of fabric will set you back about €2.

Note, this is my opinion rather than advice. OP, make up your own mind.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely! But, by the time they have disintegrated, any weed will have long since perished and, in the semi-artificial environment of the raised bed, something that holds moisture can be beneficial.

When I put down my tractor tyres as a form of raised bed, the ground was riddled with docks, dandelions, nettles, couch grass etc. and I actually used several layers of ordinary newspapers underneath them to kill off the weeds. Worked well and 5 years later I've never seen any of them but, as always, it's up to the individual.

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tippben
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd use a double layer of cardboard. Worked for me as well. The bonus is that your soil layers are not disturbed by a layer of plastic, so worms, saprovores, and other necessary life is able to move freely through the soil profile. If you're worried about the cardboard robbing nitrogen as it decomposes, soak it in nettle/comfrey feed, liquid seaweed feed, liquid manure, or even miracle gro before putting it down.
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