UC Master Gardeners for their monthly
"Advice to Grow By" Workshops!
2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
Learn how to Build Raised Beds!
Click HERE to find a great step-by-step instructions by Sunset on building your own raised bed!
The Benefits of Raised Beds
- They warm up and dry out faster in spring, so plants get a jump-start on the season.
- You can grow more vegetables in less space and have less area devoted to paths.
- They create attractive, well-organized planting areas.
- They save on the amount of fertilizer and compost used because it's concentrated just on the planting beds.
- It's less work, especially if you make permanent raised beds bordered with wood, bricks, or stone. You won't have to remake the beds each spring.
- The plants will have healthy root systems because you won't be stepping on the planting bed, compacting the soil, and making it hard for roots to grow.
- You can be more creative with design, making round raised beds for example, and planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in various designs on the raised beds.
- It's easy to plant climbers such as cucumbers up an A-frame trellis because it fits nicely over a 4-foot bed.
- It's easy to fit season extenders such as row covers with wire hoops over the 4-foot beds.
- Raised beds are designed with the human back in mind – less bending and stooping over.
- Lower maintenance for weeds, watering, pests and replanting.
- You’ll have more control over your soil mixture and you can easily change the soil texture, fertility and tilth.
- Ability to add gopher wiring and copper barrier around edges easily.
- Raised beds are a good way of balancing nature’s resources.
- They're beautiful!
Key points - good drainage for proper aeration and organic matter, organic matter, organic matter!
- Decide whether to use an amended garden soil and organic matter or a growing media like potting soil with amendments.
- Mix the top several inches of native soil with several inches of whatever you put in the raised bed to prevent abrupt soil boundaries that could impede drainage.
- Put down hardware cloth to eliminate gophers.
- Very sandy soils or soils high in clay will have the most benefit from organic matter amendment.
- If you use garden soil, double dig the planting bed to make sure that amendments and organic matter are uniformly mixed.
- Aim for at least 4 to 5% organic matter to soil ratio, good compost works well (good compost doesn't look like the original materials, but has a dark rich appearance and a moist, crumbly texture.)
- Add 2 to 3 inches of compost for every 6 to 8 inches of depth and mix well. 3 cu. yds of compost covers 1000 sq ft 1 inch deep
- Check the pH in the root zone after a week or so - should be around 6 to 6.5. Lime or sulfur can be used to adjust pH up or down, respectively.
- Leave at least 2 inches for a mulch on top of the beds
Other issues to consider:
- Peat moss is often mentioned as an organic matter addition - is this a sustainable amendment?
- Manure also mentioned as an organic matter addition –it can add salts to the bed and should not touch the edible parts of the plants.
- Good quality compost (fully composted, no large pieces of woody material) is best and sustainable.
- Vermiculite and perlite are also referred to as good soil amendments- they can be costly for large beds but may be reasonable for smaller units. They are also very light and tend to rise to surface and wash away.
More information can be found here:
Soil Information for Raised Beds:
Soils and Trouble Shooting:
Chemically Treated Lumber Info:
Vegetable Gardening Basics:
Master Gardener Gardening Resources: http://camastergardeners.ucdavis.edu/files/64772.pdf
For more information and events, follow us on our website: http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg/
So excited! Here's the truck backing in with the delivery of the garden shed. We were so fortunate that Susie got a great discount on it from Oak Country Lumber and Ranch Supply in Santa Margarita because it was one of their samples in the store. At this point I'm wondering how on earth we will unload this thing!
It was moved into final position by two boards with a pipe in between.
The delivery guys- who made it look easy!
A beautiful coat of green paint was applied!
The final project for the day was planting iris around the rock.
The kids were proud, happy and tired by the end of the week!
So much has happened!
Here's a little summary of the garden to date:
(Please forgive me if I forgot someone or something...things are moving and shaking now! A special thank you for Susie who has been recording everything daily! Much of this was extracted from the communication that she has been doing with the Demo Garden Committee! Please feel free to comment on the post if you believe I forgot something or if there are any corrections.)
Weds. July 8: An irrigation committee (Ray and Wes from the new class are the expert leads along with our architect Scott Dowlan, and the Giambalvo bros.) met to lay out a plan of attack!
Tuesday, July 14: Wes, Ray, Ed, Susie, and Thorv met with Mary B. to go over details of the installing the irrigation. We've had an "all clear" from the utility companies that there are no underground utilities present on our site!
Thursday, July 16: Wes, Ray, Bill, Ed, and Thorv mapped out with blue spray paint the lay out of the irrigation system
Friday, July 17: Trencher was brought in from United Rentals as a donation coordinated by Wes! The entire layout was trenched out from 8:30- 10:30am. Bill helped out this afternoon with shoveling!
Saturday, July 18: Irrigation assembled and installed all with tracing wire by Wes and Bill and supported by Susie and Thorv. Wes received a donation for all of the pipe from Farm Supply San Luis Obispo! System was fully checked for leaks. 6 Hose bibs and 4 valve box manifolds. There are ball valves at all 4 corners of the irrigation, so there's easy shut off in the case of a leak. The pipes that are near any old underground rocks or concrete have been insulated so that there's will be no rubbing or contact with abrasive edges. We owe Wes and Bill a very big thank you for all of there expertise and hard work! We have our own water meter that will track the water used for the garden and great water pressure! Yippee!!!
Pathways: There's lots of rules and regs to meet the American's with Disabilities Act compliance. Many excruciating hours were spent surveying the area with Ed, Ray and Susie to find the best pathways possible to meet this compliance! Here's a link for more information about the regulations for ADA compliance:
Monday, August 10: We were lucky enough to have the CCC Youth Group come for a week to help out! They arrived about 9:00am! Thorv, Marylou, Susie, Ray, Ed, Mary and Amy were present. Thorv did a very nice job of explaining to them what the mission of the MG program is about and how we hope to use the demo garden. Then Ed and Ray showed the group how to use the transom to map out ADA compliant pathways and spent the rest of the day helping to supervise the crew. They started out the raking out the soil at the utility pad area and all the pathways and using the soil compression vibrator- which broke its' belt almost immediately! Once that was fixed, then the engine kept flooding.. so there's always a few little bumps in the road. Ray coordinated borrowing the county golf course compactor for the next couple of days. He’s not sure if they will stay on schedule right now, but the DG is being deliverered tomorrow! There's a whole lot of surveying and using levels. It's very challenging and Ray and Ed are really doing an awesome job at meticulously checking and rechecking our grade to meet the ADA compliance!
Tuesday, Aug 11: Fifty tons of decomposed granite was delivered to our garden. Ray and Ed were again on site to help supervise the youth crew (four called in sick today) .... we had a reduced number of workers but we still made progress on the pathways. Nell was there in the morning to help with snacks and to serve lunch. Carol Dulitz served a wonderful lunch of tacos, beans, cookies and ice cream. Jutta brought boxes of fruit. The crew members are so appreciative of the special care they are receiving from our MG's. After lunch Susie taught a lesson on invasive species and the purpose of the trapping program of SLO county.
Weds, August 12: Another productive day in the garden! Today we finished putting most of the DG on the pathways and utility area....it looks great! We even have a special focal point! Ray and Ed continued to supervise the troops and we really owe them a vote of thanks. Wes came out this afternoon and did some needed tractor work. Alice brought some wonderful snacks for the crew and Jutta bought pizza for lunch. Nell was there in the morning and Susie was there in the afternoon to help serve and clean up. Wes also did a great lesson for the crew on irrigation systems and how ours was put together. Then Mary had the crew making mud pies as she taught them lessons on how to tell the difference between soil types and she did a great demo on soil erosion. Scott, the landscape designer that did our initial plan came out to see what we have done so far and seemed to be pleased.
Thursday, August 13 Major progress was made on the pathways! The kids are getting burned out. Today was 94F early in the day with no breeze and tomorrow is their last day with the CCC, so they have a bit of senior-itus going on. Four of them called in sick, but the crew manager went to their houses to pick them up. The D.G. is being raked level, water it in once or twice and it sets up. DG is a great product to use because it is a semi-permeable, temporary pathway that can be packed firm enough for wheel chairs to use with out getting stuck (that's what happens in gravel!) Cindy taught a lesson on water conservation practices after lunch. The students had a lot of curiosity. It was really funny that all of them were most curious about low flow toilets and self-composting toilets.. She did a wonderful job.