Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Raised beds

The construction of a raised bed on part of my veg patch is the result of the confluence of a number of influences.  I have been reading the book "How to Grow More Vegetables" by John Jeavons that, amongst other things, vaunts the growing of veg in densely planted raised beds; my pal Leo has made some raised beds to good effect; I'm fed up with birds nicking my strawberries; and I remembered I had some suitable planks rotting quietly away behind the shed, waiting for some useful purpose.  So I put together the frame in the picture below, with the further aid of some half-round fence posts (and nails) from Leo.

I have put the frame right on top of the strawberry bed.   The ground isn't level there, so I had to make a few adjustments, putting rocks under the planks in places, to get the levels almost right,  Its not too bad, but the two different ends clearly slope slightly differently.

I will have to move the strawberry plants as I fill up the frame with soil and compost, but I'm hoping that the improved fertility will help them recover from the move.   Starting at one end, I take the strawbs out and fork over the soil.  We haven't had all that much rain recently, so the soil isn't too heavy.

Once it's dug over, I mix in some compost from the heap, and then put some commercial potting compost on top.   This shambling mound is my compost heap.  I really must get a grip on it, get it properly managed in some kind of frame so it all rots properly.  In the mean time, I just have to take the top layer off to get to the rotted compost underneath.

The bed starts to take shape with the strawberries planted around the edges, leaving space in the middle for some dwarf french beans to be planted later.  The whole thing will be covered with netting that will be stretched over bendy hoops pushed into the soil at the edges.


James Higham said...

Now Mark, this is getting pretty exotic - next it will be the Hanging Gardens of Mayenne.

Helen Devries said...

What will you make the hoops from?
We'll be moving to raised beds in the next rainy season... ground already too hard to do much now.

Mark In Mayenne said...

They sell bendy hollow plastic rods, 2.5 metres long, specially designed for this purpose, 1 Euro 50 each. I think bamboo and the like would be too stiff.

Yes, one of my reasons for the raised beds is that the soil dries rock hard in Summer

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