Monday, January 23, 2012

Raised Beds

There's a patch near our back door that's never really grown anything for one reason or another. I recently decided to bring it into production so started digging it over...or trying to anyway. Turned out the soil profile consists of about 10-15 cms. of poor soil over a layer of bitumen over a layer of decaying concrete over fist sized rocks. Yeek! Not exactly ideal.

So I've somewhat broken up the old bitumen etc. to give a semblance of drainage then built up instead of digging down. I've used a previously tried temporary measure of filling cardboard boxes with layers of soil and organic matter (crummy soils down the bottom, better stuff for the top 15 cms.) then planting. Yes the boxes do decay but by that time the organic matter has also broken down, the bed is only about half the height and can have a more lasting edging put on it. I've planted a mixture- corn, beans, capsicums, lettuce, tomatoes, basil and some cosmos. All doing well.

The top layer of compost I used has a lot of seed in it- both
ordinary weeds and grasses and self seeded plants like borage, fennel, calendulas, tomatoes and coriander. Most of these are getting weeded out but I'm transplanting the tomatoes (just in case they fruit before our first frost) and I'm leaving the coriander alone. It doesn't transplant well and I don't have enough growing.

Behind the cardboard boxes is a more conventional raised bed using besser blocks as edging. eventually we plan to use these for construction purposes but they won't suffer for being useful while we store them. This bed was half finished in the photo (with temporary metal divider); I've now finished the other half and I'm waiting for the bean seeds I've planted to come up- drying varieties for winter soups.

No comments:

Post a Comment