Friday, 2 May 2014

My first raised bed

It gets pretty wet here, and it saturates my current garden beds.  In order to avoid that problem in future, I've decided to go with raised beds.  I dug out this section to a depth of around 50cm.  It promptly rained and filled the bed.  Then I bailed it out, and took this photo.

At this point, I got in there and dug it all out some more.  Then the chickens jumped in with me and got in the way.  Next I threw in all the large logs I have, some horse chestnuts I'd picked before learning they were toxic, leaves, old sheep manure, cow manure, collected newpapers and junk mail, half composted.. compost, chicken manure and a variety of other things that would break down.

The dug out soil was claggy from having too much clay in it.  So I mixed in potting mix, sheep manure,  and cow manure.  This made it a little better.  And once placed back on all the filler I had in the hole, made a pretty decent raised bed.  For mulch I popped up onto the neighbours hill and grabbed some dried pine needles.

And here's the result.  It's planted out with broccoli, leeks, silverbeet and cabbage.  Something's already had a bite of the leaves, but I'm pretty sure it's not the chickens.  Since adding the pine needles, there are already earthworms crawling about under them.  As I was planting it out, the chickens were trying to stretch through the netting and pick them out.  Thankfully they've forgotten about it for now.

I should probably note that I dug extra top soil out of where the wood chips are, which contributed to the height of the raised bed, and declaggified the clay somewhat.  The chickens occasionally peck away at the Red Russian kale to the left of the picture, but aren't really that partial to it.   Why all the crap under the dirt, apart from raising the bed up?  Because it's hugelkutur, the idea being the logs break down over time and turn into good soil.  But in the duration, they hold water.

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