Low raised beds: ready for planting

Oh, what a lovely day we’re having today! As I write this, we are at 17C/63F, which is a couple of degrees warmer than forecast. We’ve got beautiful blue skies and sunshine, though it was a bit winder than I would have liked – only because I needed to do some spray painting.

While the girls cleaned the eavestroughs, then brought the pieces of insulation from the barn to put around the based of the house, I started with spraying the sign I’m working on with reflective paint. With a white base, the reflective paint is not visible. Later this evening, I want to try taking a picture of it with flash, which should show me how well it worked. According to the label on the can, it works better with a light coat than with a heavy one, so as long as I got good coverage, it shouldn’t need another coat.

That done, I grabbed the baby chainsaw with the one charged battery (I forgot to switch them in the charger!) and did quick work on the high raised bed. After taking about an inch more off the notch on one side, that was done. I had enough juice left in the battery to start cutting away excess on the top of the end piece, where the next log will rest. I didn’t get very far, though.

Those little jobs out of the way, I got to work on the big job! Topping up the low raised beds, so we’ll have somewhere to plant the garlic when it arrives.

One of the beds wasn’t filled as much as the other, so I started with that one, first. We had soil from the potato bags in the kiddie pool, and there are still 10 bags of fingerling potatoes, so I decided to use it as filler, as it had already been amended with organic material. With all the rain we’ve been having it was very wet and heavy! While filling the wheelbarrow, I could see some nice, fat, happy worms in there, too. 🙂

It filled a couple of wheelbarrow loads, with some soil being left to weigh down the kiddie pool, so it doesn’t blow away. I even found a couple of little potatoes that got missed in the process! After spreading it around evenly, I added another three wheelbarrow loads of the garden soil we bought in the spring. I’m really glad we were able to get two dump truck loads! We’d have been out by now, if we hadn’t, I’m sure.

After the one bed was filled, I brought another three wheelbarrow loads of soil for the second bed, then leveled them both with a garden rake.

Next, I split a 40 pound bag of hardwood pellets between the two beds, and worked them into the soil. One of the things we found with the new garden soil is that, over time, it gets really hard and compact. Since we don’t have any compost or manure to help prevent that, the pellets should do the job.

After working the pellets into the top couple of inches of soil, both beds got thoroughly watered, until the pellets reverted to sawdust. They absorb quite a lot of water in the process.

The sawdust does tend to rise to the top, though, so after they got a solid soak, I worked it back into the top couple of inches again.

They are actually a bit fuller than I had intended. The garlic will get a heavy layer of straw mulch after they are planted, so having it a bit lower would have help keep it from blowing away. The beds will settle, though, plus they will be covered with plastic, before we get snow that stays.

If all works as intended, these beds, with their layers of wood and lighter organic material in them, should require almost no watering, even if we have another summer of drought. If we had a wet summer, they should have good drainage, too.

I do find it kind of funny that I had to get these two beds ready for the garlic, because the other beds we have, in the old garden area, still have things growing in most of them! Not counting the one that’s being converted to a high raised bed right now, the only one that’s completely empty had onions growing in it, so I wouldn’t want to plant another allium in it.

It should be interesting to see how the garlic does in these beds!

The Re-Farmer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s