21 August 2008

Making the beds

Today we built the first 2 raised beds for vegetables. Raised beds were the only option on the very thin soil that is prevalent on our hill. The limestone bedrock is only 4 - 10 inches below the surface. We've built 4 ft. x 8 ft. beds of double height 2X6 lumber. The beds are oriented east/west to maximize sun exposure.

After building the beds and placing them in their final resting places, Luc knocked down the weeds inside and out with the weed wacker and lawn mower.

We covered the bottom of the beds with several years worth of old bills and documents. Before we moved, I started shredding this stuff, but it was extremely time consuming and hard on the shredder. I didn't want to just put this stuff with account numbers and personal information out in the garbage or recycling, so using it to suppress weeds at the bottom of our vegetable beds seemed like a good idea. We soaked it all before adding the topsoil.

Yesterday, a big load of topsoil and a smaller load of mushroom compost was delivered. We filled the boxes with roughly 70% topsoil and 30% compost. I decided against buying triple mix, because I thought it would have too much organic matter (two thirds) which can affect the ability of plants to absorb nutrients.

The finished beds with the lovely dark and fluffy soil mix. I'll add a complete organic fertilizer before planting. Even though it's late August, I plan to plant spinach, lettuce, carrots, lots of green leafy stuff, garlic and peas. I'll be using a cold frame to extend the season for the carrots and greens.

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