How Does the Garden Grow…

More spring projects just about done!

Here’s a photo from last spring of the raised bed garden that came with the property.  The beds were only a few inches deep, and we discovered early in the growing season that there was only a few inches of soil beneath them!

We wrestled with how to rebuild the beds–dream vs. budget restrictions!  We got a load of 12ft long  2 x 10 cedar to build the first four beds.  Here they are in progress:

The corner design is to give us far better access paths where there were none before.

When we went back to the mill to get our second load of cedar, the fellow wasn’t quite ready for us yet.  The wood was still in 2×12 widths and 14.5 foot lengths.  For the same price, Skipper told him we’d take it as is!  So the middle beds are 12″ deep and are split between the top 2 beds at 14.5′ long, and the bottom ones at 12′ (no more room!).  Here they are complete!  Notice how much of the original “lawn” is gone…

For the paths, we decided to go with 3′ wide paths all around the perimeter of the beds for easy wheelbarrow and tool travel.  Then, moving toward the centre from each side, the next 2 paths are around 2.5′ wide, still wide enough to comfortably roll our wheelbarrow through, and to give us roomy access to each bed from at least one side.  The centre path is just a walking path, then, at 16″.  Each bed is separated from its mate at the short end by a small “squeeze through” path of 12″.  We decided to go this way for a couple of reasons: 24′ long beds would have been more complicated to build, especially with no way to bury stakes or other supports in the ground.  Second, I didn’t like the idea of always having to walk around those 24′ beds to get anywhere, and I thought the squeeze through path would be more efficient, as well as keeping me from having to use a plank or some such to better access the middle of the beds.

We’re just about done filling the beds.  I have done a serious weed of each one first.  Last year I just sheet mulched over the weeds, but although that smothered many, some of the more nefarious, root-spreading weeds simply worked their way through the cardboard!  So I wanted to try to get rid of those roots this time as much as possible.  The soil from the original bed is then raked to level, then we’re adding a layer of well-composted horse manure (from local friends!), and then a layer of purchased topsoil.  I’m hoping that this layering approach will also help keep down some of the inevitable horse manure weeds.

So there you go!  I’ll be weeding a filling the last bed today, and then they will be ready for planting.  Which is good, because the starts in the greenhouse are getting impatient…

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