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MIL is getting on in years and was finding it hard to bend down to her little vegie patch. Hubby and I plan to construct a raised garden bed for her when we visit next month.

The patch we are building on is about 3m x 3m and in full sun until early afternoon. She usually grows a variety of herbs, a few different types of chillies and some green vegies like beans. She tries to harvest enough to decorate a plate of laap or two each day.

MIL's usual method is to throw everything in together in a big mish-mash and forget about anything that fails to grow. She usually ends up reaching around the taller plants to get to the lower ones while means a sore back for her (and sore ears for us when she complains).

We are hoping to plot things out so she can reach things easily. The back of the bed will next to a fence and no access needed behind it, so we can put some mesh or trellis there to tie climbers onto.

Realistically if we plan carefully, what sort of plants do you guys think would do well in this space?

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I think that your MIL will possibly want to grow the same as she always has done.

Probably, beds would have to be a max of 1 metre wide if can access from both sides or half that if cannot reach from the back. Any wider and she will still have to bend.

Think about an overhead trellis for the climbers. Will give some shade and she can reach up to pick.

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I agree with Loong about MIL wanting to carry on growing what she knows, as this is the same with mine. She has a small patch of a similar size but now gives me the seed or cuttings to plant for her and it's a bit more ordered for her. MIL grows rat-tailed radish (2-3) gets quite rampant and needs staking and tying grows too about 4 foot, prik chi fah (about half a dozen plants, enough for fresh daily chillies when they are producing), a couple of cherry toms that are allowed to sprawl along the ground and go into the som tam, garlic chives, bunching onions, coriander and  dill (small amounts of seed sown frequently as and when gaps appear), mint, saw-tooth coriander, asian celery, various Thai basils and some other herbs that are steamed and eaten with laap or other dishes but don't have western equivelants, a cucumber growing on a trellis, a pumpkin that is kept in check by eating the young shoots and flowers but produces one fruit at the end of the season, galangal, turmeric, ginger, a dwarf papaya, giant mustard greens, long eggplants, the list goes on. 

Best of luck J

 

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I asked this elsewhere, but what veges are best for raised beds.

we are going to double up the size of one bed and plant tomatoes and carrots in it, but what else should/would thrive in it ?

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Hi MrWiggle

How deep are the raised beds ?? Generally you will see better results from all veg grown in raised beds due to better drainage, no soil compaction etc. You can also use closer spacings for your veg in raised beds. Try Googling "Bio-intensive raised bed gardening" or similar and look out for a book/DVD by Emilia Harzlip (sp) which explains the principles quite nicely.

I've been working a raised bed system for a number of years in the UK but grow my carrots in polystyrene boxes (recycled from work where the broccoli is delivered in them in the summer) in a really sandy potting mixture due to the stony nature of the ground (stops them forking).

another deep rooted veg that you might consider would be Mooli/Chinese Radish/Daikon.

Cheers for now

J

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They would be about 20cm. I am raising one of them a little more now and the others will stay as they are.

We piled on the mulch/compost the other day.

Not sure when to put on the chicken dung, it is mixed with the rice husks and been sitting for a month now. Do you just place it on top or have to dig it in ?

Waiting for an expert to come visit.

Our watermelons are maturing, the super corn is super high, over 2m, couple of pumpkins growong, several tomatoe plants getting there, couple of thai vegies doing well. Starting again with the rest.

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Back to the original topic of raised beds.

What if anything do you use to form a wall around the beds.

At the moment we bank up the beds using soil from the walkways in between beds.

Sides are sloping, so lose some planting space & the sides crumble into the walkway.

I considered using long bamboo & stakes.

But I think they will only last a year before rotting.

Cinder blocks seems brittle & easily damaged.

Aiming for a wall about 20 cm high.

Any suggestions ?

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Back to the original topic of raised beds.

What if anything do you use to form a wall around the beds.

At the moment we bank up the beds using soil from the walkways in between beds.

Sides are sloping, so lose some planting space & the sides crumble into the walkway...............

I use the black plastic bags that you can buy in the garden centres, you know, the ones that they grow the plants in to sell. Fill them with soil, they will support the beds and you can plant into them. they are sold by weight and you can get a lot for 50 baht.

If you look at them you will see 2 types, one is flimsy sort of polythene and the other is stiffer. The stiffer ones degrade in the sun, so the flimsy looking cheaper ones are better.

I have used rocks, but I find that snakes and scorpions like to hide amongst them.

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Hi Folks

I intend to use blocks, not the small red bricks or the concrete blocks but the ones that are about the size of a uk house brick but with circular holes through them where the rebar goes. I reckon the holes will be ideal to hold bamboo/steel/pvc hoops to support shade cloth/netting/plastic.My raised beds will be a good 18" deep at least. This is obviously not the cheapest solution but is a long term investment. Love Loongs idea of plastic bags would be a great place to grow companion plants/trap crops etc..

blocksjpg.jpg

cheers for now J

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J,

I recommend you get a few sample blocks & leave them outside in the garden during rainy season.

I used them in my bathroom & they've swelled & crumbled from absorbing water from the earth bank behind them.

This might depend on the cement content.

For me I need about 200m 20 cm high, could be expensive with blocks.

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Hi PL

yeah totally agree !! I think the usual red coloured blocks are made from laterite with a touch of cement (any builders amongst you please correct me) I was lucky/unlucky enough to labour for a Thai builder for 3 months and one of our jobs was for a Thai building materials supplier. he had recently purchased the moulds and equipment to produce these blocks (he had a good buisness producing the standard cinder blocks.) he was more than happy to produce a custom load to my specifications . Another alternative would be to use split euca poles cut to length and wired together, will last longer than bamboo.

cheers for now J 

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