Question Regarding Flower Bed Design


Old 05-03-15, 12:47 PM
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Question Question Regarding Flower Bed Design

Hello All,

I am new to gardening and Horticulture. I am planning on putting a flower (will possibly use for vegetables as well) bed in our backyard, and had a few questions.

We live on a barrier island in New Jersey, and therefore deal with saltwater flooding a few times per year. In order to prevent saltwater flooding from killing plants in the flower bed, I plan to stack three 4x4s as the perimeter of the bed, giving me a height of 10.5 inches. I am contemplating using some sort of plastic liner to keep the fertilizer from being infiltrated by saltwater.

Am I overdoing it? Should I be worried about infrequent saltwater flooding killing plants?
If I am going to use a plastic liner, do I line the entire bed including sides and bottom, or is just lining the sides (and maybe a foot or so into the ground below) sufficient?

Any other information, tips, suggestions are appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 05-03-15 at 12:58 PM. Reason: corrected spelling in title
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Old 05-03-15, 01:06 PM
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Some plants are more tolerant of salt than others so I think what you plan on growing should guide you somewhat. I assume your lawn, shrubbery and other things that get inundated are surviving getting salty during spring tides.

1. You build a large flower pot or planter and make it waterproof to keep the salt water out. Over watering and waterlogging could be a problem unless you are very careful or provide some way to remove excess water.

2. Do nothing special to the sides and bottom of your planter. If salt water gets that high then it can drain out when the water recedes and watering with fresh water and rain can flush through the soil to wash out the salt. Your idea of building up will help keep the plants & soil above the salt water and allow gravity to quickly drain it away when the tide goes down.

3. Elevate your planter high enough to avoid the saltwater altogether.
Old 05-03-15, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for your quick and thoughtful response. I will plan to use both a raised bed and salt tolerant species, and see how they do for the summer.
Old 05-03-15, 06:45 PM
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I agree that salt tolerant species are better because you don't have to worry about the effect of the salt. One of the Victory Garden episodes featured salt tolerant plants, but I don't recall which plants were used. There were so many that the beds didn't seem any different than nonsalt varieties.

Even if you did line the sides of the bed, I wouldn't line the bottom because the plastic could trap the water and create too high of a moisture content at the base of the bed.

But I think the issue of saltwater penetrating the bed depends on how high the tides and saltwater are and how frequently they might be able to get over the level of the raised beds.

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