Raised bed for no-dig garden - build on concrete/cement?

by Lisa B
(Richmond, CA)

Can the raised bed garden no-dig be built on concrete slab?
Will the soil stay too moist, is there a problem with doing the box on top of cement?

Comments for Raised bed for no-dig garden - build on concrete/cement?

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Oct 11, 2009
Building a raised bed garden on concrete
by: ~ Megan ~

If you mean a watertight box, it's not a good idea because where will the excess water go? You might end up with ducks flying in for a swim!

Many people line their raised garden beds with plastic or weed mat. The weed mat is porous and plastic needs holes punched in it for drainage, but at least these stop large amounts of soil being washed away.

Can you let the water drain out over the concrete? If not and you have a situation where you don't want water running over the concrete, either because it's pristine or it will ruin an adjacent area, say inside; then you could always do what the builders do for those wonderful roof gardens around the world – have drainage pipes taking the water away.

Hopefully you can find an alternative to a watertight box... unless it is out of the rain and you put a layer of porous rocks on the bottom and control the watering. But otherwise you most likely will end up with a stagnant garden loved by mosquitoes and... maybe ducks.

Nov 02, 2009
Concrete for Soil
by: Frank Aguilar

Hi, I live in Ecuador and we have some of the richest soil in the world. It gets regular renewao from our active volcanoes.
However that is also one of our problems. The volcanic ash is so fine that it compacts almost immediately to concrete. We?ve been having a drought for about the past years where I live in the high Sierra near Quito.
I have a number of Avocado trees and use the leaf fall to loosen the soil. I also use raised bed technology but that isn?t very effective. It?s still concrete. However I am able to raise many things so long as I keep the weeds down.
As you can imagine weeds love the minerals and other nutrients in the soil so they are an immediate problem whenever you are planting.
The good thing is that we get just about exactly 12 hours of sun every day. And, at over 8000 feet it is very concentrated.
I do have access to a little over 70 acres at an altitude of about 4000 feet and it gets about 10 feet of rain per year most of it between the beginning of November and the end of February. I?m going to try raised beds there. Everything that was planted there up until now drowned.
Good luck with you concrete experiment. I hope that adequate drainage will resolve any isues you experience.

Jan 14, 2014
yes you can
by: vici

i have a useless cement area that is not good as a patio. Being a senior i decided to experiment thinking it definitely would keep down the weeds in between the raised beds. i used 1x12x6 cedar put in a couple inches of peastone, did drill holes at the bottom for drainage. filled with good black dirt.. they are 6 ft long 3 ft wide and are terrific. i do have soaker hoses on a timer because it all faces south. i've even grown potatoes in them. hope this helps

May 27, 2014
by: Anonymous

My grandaughter made a raised vegetable bed from old timber. Sone of it was painted. She told me to paint it so it wouldn't rot so soon. Can I use polyurethane ?

Jun 10, 2014
Painting wood in raised garden bed
by: ~ Megan

Polyurethane or acrylic paint should be fine and will help slow down the rotting in old wood. If you can get old sump oil from mechanics or buy linseed oil, these are also great options.

There is some thought that there may be miniscule toxic traces that could leach into the surrounding soil, but gardeners have been using these methods for a long time and no solid proof of harm has been found as far as I know.

Feb 19, 2015
Stained concrete?
by: Evan

I'm wondering if any of you know of a good spray or cleaner that can clean the cement after one has to move/clean up a raised garden when this garden is placed on cement for a long period of time. I'm told its near impossible to clean of the stain that is caused from the drainage.


Feb 28, 2016
raised beds on concrete
by: Anonymous

will the concrete chemicals somehow letch into the soil and then into my veggies?

Apr 04, 2016
raise the bed on the cement
by: Anonymous

Put the raised bed on 4 cement blocks. drill holes in the flat piece of wood on the bottom and fill with dirt.

Apr 10, 2018
by: marissa

I am wanting to build a raised vegetable garden on an old concrete slab in the back yard.. ive been doing research and I am having issues finding plans on how to build this. any help would be greatly appreciated!!

May 13, 2018
Raised garden bed on concrete
by: ~ Megan

Can't help you with plans, but a brilliant solution is here: Raised garden bed Or else try your local garden center or a handyperson to build one.

If you're putting a raised bed on concrete, make it around 40 cm (16") deep if you can, and either put drainage pipes from the base to where you'd like any water to go to, or just let it drain onto the ground if suitable.

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