Thursday, September 13, 2012

Raised Beds.

Got up to 100 here today. I expect it Fall to arrive like gangbusters any day. Thought it was here last week. * No rain yet. One drizzle, doesn't count. That's not unusual in my area. Last rain was.... June? Will be glad when the rains start. Watered all of the newly planted trees, after applying a thick compost mulch. Labor of love, and maybe a new generation will benefit from the oxygen, shade, and beauty, some day, so a little water invested now is a good thing. *
(Pic from Today I built a raised bed. For engineering simplicity, I used 2X6s that were 8 feet long. Cut some in half, so the beds are 4ft by 8ft. Somewhat like these from Rodale Institute, with modification. They are 2 timbers high, which makes them a foot deep. On the bottom, I screwed on chicken wire. That's to keep moles from tunneling upward and disrupting the plants. Then bottom liner of cardboard and old cotton factory-made quilt that was about to disintegrate. That's to keep perennial weeds and thistle from growing up through the new soil. Eventually the bottom will degrade, so the beds will be connected to the underlying soil structure, which is good. I think. I filled it half full today. Then wore out. The filler is about 3/4 topsoil and 1/4 yard debris compost. Roughly. I get the compost at a composting center locally, $25 per cubic yard, which is what my truck holds. The dry soil is too hard to dig. I made use of mole hills, filling my wheelbarrow with the tops of mole hills. There are many, many, many, many of those. The moles make the topsoil nice and granular and loose in their hills. I figure they are bringing up minerals too, from the lower layer of soil. Thank you moles. We also had a fence put in, and the post holes were surrounded by the finely ground 'waste' soil, so I used that too. Watered it in, mixed together, watered in, mixed, and raked.
Plan on filling the rest of the bed on Sat or Sun. Then I can plant garlic and heritage onions - white multiplier onions, my favorite. I've been growing the multipliers from just a couple, to now a few dozen. Now there are enough that if next year's crop is generous, I will finally have a lot to eat. So far just eating a rare few, to save and expand the "seed" crop. Sticking mainly with Inchelium Red garlic, which grows so well here I find it hard to believe. Love that garlic. Last year I grew them in barrels which worked great, but the raised beds have more room, and with the larger amount of soil should need less watering. Plus, it's in the countryside and the sun is really brighter there - I hope that makes for bigger and tastier crop. Onions and garlic are considered deer resistant, so I'm not worried about the deer problem with this raised bed.
May put in a row of garlic chives too. Saving seeds from existing plants, and there are some I can move there. Plenty of room in the 4X8 bed, I think. The only fall-planted veg's this time, for me, are the onions and garlic. So that is the only bed that needed "urgent" preparation. The others can be built through the winter. Maybe set one or two up as cold frames? Depends on my energy level.
I'm exhausted and my back hurts. And my knees. All of which is good. There was much to get out of my system. * No pics today. Forgot camera. Except for the Rodale pic, which is attributed, all of these are from wikimedia commons.

No comments:

Post a Comment