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  1. #1
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    Default Raised bed Gardening

    For years I have been tilling my garden and then putting it into raised beds by hand. As I get a little older it becomes harder to use the shovel to put it into the raised beds. Any suggestions for creating the walk through trenches? The trenches are about 16" wide - just wide enough for walking in.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Raised bed Gardening-2012-03-17_10-50-40_434-a  

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    You could use a hipper but it won't leave the walkways as wide or as nice I built up my beds and left them as permanent 'drive on' raised beds. I have a 4ft tiller and I just drive down each bed to till it. I have a 4ft bed, 4ft of grass, 4ft bed etc. The planted grass between the rows does tend to creep into the beds though. Also the tiller does tend to spread the beds out some so I still use a hipper of sorts to pull the dirt back to center.

    Given what you have there you could just put down heavy mulch between the rows and leave them as permanent beds. Some people use newspaper or cardboard and cover it a little wood chips or whatever. They put down a new layer each year to keep the weeds down. Given the size of your garden (unless it extends a lot further to the right in the photo) I would think that is pretty doable.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    I had to look up a hipper. I had never heard of one but they make sense for making a permanent bed. I really do not want permanent beds because it is so nice to till it all flat and clean and it allows to change bed widths year to year which helps in plant rotation. I like narrow beds for tomatoes, peppers, peas and such, with a little wider beds for onions, lettuce, potatoes, and then very wide beds for vines.

    Also I like the height difference because it means a lot less bending for weeding and harvesting.

    I do put heavy grass or straw mulch in the pathways to not have mud to walk in and it also rots and gets tilled in each year for soil tilth as it is heavy clay soil.

    Since it is tilled before I do this I cannot use my compact tractor. My thoughts of mechanically doing this are a front mount tiller modified with something like your hipper idea or possibly a snow blower. I remember twenty-five years ago my brother on the farm wanted to put in a band of concrete along a fenceline feedbunk and he he had an 8' rear mount snowblower that he just set the height and went down the length of the bunk and created a 4" deep trough for the concrete. We then poured the concrete and leveled it and it has been there ever since.

  4. #4
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    NHtd75

    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    Quote Originally Posted by Creamer View Post
    For years I have been tilling my garden and then putting it into raised beds by hand. As I get a little older it becomes harder to use the shovel to put it into the raised beds. Any suggestions for creating the walk through trenches? The trenches are about 16" wide - just wide enough for walking in.
    Maybe it's time in life to rent a small track hoe and have some fun at least once per year or twice if you use it to fill the trenches after the gardening season.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    I had a 30x100 garden for 20 years that I did raised beds on with a Troy Bilt tiller with the furrowing attachment. Took me about a day to get it done and I still had some hand work but I was amply rewarded for my endeavors.

    Come fall, I would till it flat and plant rye on it. That was seventeen years ago, don't know that I would want to do it today.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    That is about what my garden is. I have a 54" tiller for my tractor which makes quick work of the whole thing but still struggling with this part of it. I am assuming the Troy built tiller was a rear tine and that it was some sort of shovel behind it that rolled the dirt out?

  7. #7
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    I till mine and by the time I'm through running string and walking up and down each row planting seed, I have a "trench". Not nearly defined as yours though, I'd get lost if mine where that deep

    Maybe try tilling one width, then ride your tires over the last tire track on the next row, basically let the wheels make a shallow trench. Any raised bed I have done, I used RR ties and they where permanent for a couple of years.
    Dennis


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  8. #8
    Platinum Member wcampbell47's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    My best success in making raised beds is a "hipper" or "bedder". Mine consists of a 5' tool bar with two 16" diameter discs attached. I attach the discs at an angle - \ /. With the tool bar lowered and the discs making ground contact the forward motion of the tractor pushes the soil into a raised bed. The wider the discs are placed on the tool bar the wider the raised bed. Might take some experimentation.

    I like the discs as opposed to plows because they don't pull chunks of clay up. I find no issue with running the tractor over the freshly tilled garden. I space out my rows the width of the tractor which allows me to run the tiller between the beds for cultivation and weed control.
    Caution: Some of my posts may be politically incorrect.
    Kubota B7510 & L3901

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    Check this out.

    Tractor Garden Bedder, Field Bedder, Hiller

    I'm kinda going thru the same, but only planning the beds, sooo....?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Raised bed Gardening

    Thanks or everyone's posts! they provided a lot of information. I had not seen a hiller before but it makes sense that someone would build one with all the raised beds.

    After seeing the ideas and taking some measurements, I think i could get most of what I wanted with 60" toolbar and the discs spaced right behind the tire. If I want a wide bed I can just make two and then fill one in. We all know it is a lot easier to make the dirt fall in than to dig it back out!

    I was thinking of IFE's two disc per trench system as it has 18 or 20" discs which will give me the depth I want. It also would clean out entirely behind a tractor wheel.

    I am hesitant to drive on the freshly tilled soil and then hilling it up because of the lumps it would create in my clay soil. (I notice this where I drive a little on the tilled soil and the tiller digs it up again.) Has any body ever used one of these backing up? I do not know why it would not work.

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