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posted
Hi. Looking to dig out a garden in the backyard but need help wit fencing and building material ideas! Had one years ago but lack of upkeep allowed grass to grow back in overtime. Rabbits are a big issue so i'm thinking something raised up? Maybe a foot or so with cedar? Fence posts could interlock into raised wall also. I read raised beds are mostly used for small spaces or areas where soil is not the best. We have a big backyard and the soil is great just concerned about the rabbits and occasional groundhog... Also the slight elevation would help with up keep and help keep it's shape pretty much forever. 10' x 20' is the size designated for the garden. Want to design baths or make the best use of the space. Is it better to have 2 skinny 5' x 20' raised beds with walkways around everything? That sounds like it could complicate fencing. Help! All ideas or pictures are welcome. I'm handy but I think I'm going to have someone build whatever needs to be done, just want an idea to tell him. Thanks in advance.
 
Posts: 249 | Registered: Jan 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of trish212
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We have several raised garden beds. Husband was sure the rabbits couldn't get in them at that height. He was mistaken. So we had to add chicken wire to the metal posts he put up on the corners. I convinced him to repurpose the folding doors between rooms for another raised garden bed. He used siding on the outside of them so the slats didn't appear. It is large but the square is too deep to reach the center. Our next garden bed was made this way: I repurposed shutters from our house with two cinder blocks on each end for a more narrow bed with better access to the vegetables. I believe the cinder blocks provided some additional warmth to the soil when our area had a cold spell. I asked my husband if he would connect the shutters together for me. At first, he didn't like what I had done, so he took some 2x3's and nailed them to the shutters. The 2x3s looked terrible. They jutted out from the sides. I could tell he wasn't happy with my garden concept. However, it turned out to be a blessing. The 2x3s extends beyond the shutter perimeter. I was able to take some fencing and slide it over these pieces. I only needed the fencing on one side. The other side has trellis for the cucumbers to grow on. One side of fencing can slide on and off the 2x3s making it easier to trim the base of the bed & I can easily garden this way. No problems with any critters getting into this garden bed.

I wish I had the mistake on the other bed. Instead.....I have added the fencing to some 2x3s to create a trellis for the other type of cucumber to grow upon. Both vining plants have reached the top of the trellis. I'm now ready to make an arbor type for the cucumbers to hang down from. This has made it easier for little ones to reach the cucumbers.

The thing about gardening, it's been quite a learning process! I varied where I planted specific vegetables this year. I know farmers do this when they plant crops...has something to do with helping the soil. So, I moved some of my plants around this year. They have done quite well!

Be sure to consider how you plan on watering these garden beds, too. We had had a timer with a four part manifold system. This year, we haven't found it. So the watering has been done by hand and garden hose. We're thankful for the rain this year, too. You need to be prepared for little/lots.

I have wanted something between and around the beds to walk on other than GRASS. I'm in charge of the mowing. DH did it the other day and said he couldn't believe how difficult it was with the various raised beds. We also struggled with some of the "weeds" coming up between the beds. You can't put a weed kil ler down because it might cause a problems for the veggies, I had put down a tarp to kill anything within the walking paths.

Years ago, I had seen the U shaped garden. It made sense to me because the opening of the U created a place to have a gate. Some people have been commenting on a Keyhole shaped garden, this seems similar to the U-shape. Not everyone has the same type of yard set up. Hope these ideas help. Happy gardening!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: trish212,
 
Posts: 5231 | Registered: Jan 23, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for your thoughts. Any ideas on what I could use to raise it up a little other than cedar? I feel that's going to be super pricey but maybe not. I'm still going to have a fence but raising it up some would make it more eye pleasing and easier to maintain because the shape will always be there. Concrete stones, but plain? Any type of colored stone or brick would have chemicals from dyes. Any ideas would be great
 
Posts: 249 | Registered: Jan 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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Raised beds are a great idea. They allow you to improve the soil and keep the yard out. In my yard they also allow me to keep my garden soil from washing into the yard.

I like building a series of 4' x 4' raised beds. This allows you to work on them from all sides without walking on the soil. I first learned about this on an old PBS TV Show call Square Foot Gardening with Mel Bartholomew. Apparently he's still at the concept and publishing books on the subject.

http://www.amazon.com/Square-F...quare+foot+gardening

You'd have to raise your garden about 5 feet to keep the rabbits out. A fence is a better suggestion. I'm using plastic mesh to keep the deer out this year and I'm having my best year on tomatoes so far. My beds are a plastic kit I got at Sam's Club. I'm going to retire it after this year in favor of some 4x4 beds framed in a yet to be determined material. I will go up at least 6 inches from the existing lawn. In a flat yard you can mound the soil up without anything around it to hold it in. I can't due to the slope of my yard.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6976 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks! Will check that link out in a minute. Yeah, I just wanted to raise it up some for visual appeal since it would be located right in front of the deck. Good for dirt and warming is an added benefit. Fence also! Cedar seems to be the best type of wood since I don't want any chemically treated wood. Do you think a foot up is high enough to get the raised bed benefits? 10' 20' rectangle is the size... Making one large garden good or bad? I can have designated paths within it ?
 
Posts: 249 | Registered: Jan 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Sparky
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I'm going with 4x4 with paths between the raised beds. I think I'm going to fence off the entire thing to keep the deer out. As my garden crops change I'll need to keep rabbits out as well as they really like bean sprouts and will mow them down as soon as you get two leaves above the soil.

I just have to figure out how to keep the HOA off my back with the fencing material. I don't want to fence off my yard with one of he approved fences because it would make my yard look much smaller since I back up to a 100 foot wide sewer easement/deer sanctuary and I wouldn't be able to include that area in my fence.

I may just go with the nylon mesh I'm using today. It is 7' tall and is doing a good job with the deer so far. But, being right around the bed it makes it difficult to harvest. At the end of the season the fence will be rolled up and stored for next year.

Cedar is probably the best bet. And yes a foot will be plenty. Going higher is great for people with limited mobility because they don't have to bend down to garden. Going higher will involve some more complicated building to keep the soil in the raised bed. You'd probably need a frame to fasten the cedar 2x stock to in order to keep it together. 6x6 timbers stacked would be great, the most cost effective ones of those are PT wood. I've been toying with PT if I can figure out how to keep the soil away from the wood. Galvanized flashing is my best solution so far, possibly with plastic between the wood and the flashing. Aluminum flashing won't work because the copper in the wood treatment will react with the aluminum.


General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

 
Posts: 6976 | Location: Cary, North Carolina | Registered: Sep 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Sparky! Yeah, I think i'll go with cedar somehow about a foot up. No major height just enough to separate it from the grass. We have a big problem with rabbits too, so i'm hoping the foot up and fencing will solve that. I fear if the garden were ground level they'd find a way in somehow. There probably are ways to use PT without soil contact but I Don't want to risk it!
 
Posts: 249 | Registered: Jan 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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I have some raised beds. We used materials that we had. Some pressure treated boards from an old trailer bed...2 beds from those that are 12'X 3', with a block in the middle for stepping across. One other bed made from concrete blocks 32'X 4', again with some blocks in the middle for stepping across.
I have mulch 2' out around the outsides to keep grass away. Mine isn't fenced because we have 6 outdoor cats and rabbits don't stand a chance!
But short (3' tall) chicken wire should keep the rabbits out. That is short enough to step across.
You don't need to use cedar as it is very pricey! Pressure treated is fine since they no longer use arsenic in the process. I've not had any adverse effects nor funny tasting veggies from it. My concrete block bed does need watering more often than the wooden beds...so be aware...but I'm down here in HOT country where we are around 100º most days in the summer. 4'X4' beds are easier to work than my long ones.
As for "Square Foot Gardening", it is just a modified version of "French Intensive Gardening" that has been around for a very long time!
But it only works if your soils are good and amended properly. I'm organic as possible so I use compost, organic matter (not totally composted materials) and alfalfa pellets in my beds and I mulch with pine straw (needles) once my plants are up to keep the weeds to a very minimum! You can use straw for mulching too...it works well, or if you have grass clippings from UNtreated grasses and don't have Bermuda or Bahia grass those are ok. Leaves will also work and make a great cover for winter and then just dig/till them in in the spring. If you use grass clippings that has been sprayed with weed killer...it will likely kill you veggie plants.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 4993 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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