Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Building raised beds
Here are a couple of pictures from when we were building the raise beds for this year's garden.
We chose to use cinder blocks as the sides because,well,for one they were free or nearly free(thank you craigslist)and two,they are permanent,and since we don't plan on moving these beds,it worked out perfect.Well,until we ran out of cinder blocks,but we have more on the way,gifted from a friend,but those will have to wait to be added around the gardens until next spring.
As we laid out the blocks,we layered old newspaper down and then put several loads of compost/topsoil on top of the papers,this has helped to drastically reduce the weeds,and saved me time weeding.
I won't lie,it was a ton of hard work,more than I've ever done building a garden space,but in the end,with proper care,I think it will pay off.This is our first growing season with the new raised beds,but it's already had the benefit of being able to plant the garden while a large portion of the lower yard was still flooded,rather than having to wait until it dried out enough to be able to work the soil.
Using the raised beds have both advantages and disadvantages,on the up side you can plant earlier,and there are a lot less weeds to deal with.On the downside,you do have to water more often because the beds dry out faster than a traditional in the ground garden bed.
I've taken one end,where we ran out of cinder blocks and made that the designated compost pile.When we get more blocks,I'll simply add them around the border to match the rest and add topsoil on top of the compost,and mix it in,instant garden bed!
My plan is to rotate the beds yearly,and use a different one every year as the compost pile,that way I can be assured of good crop rotation to prevent plant diseases and to not overly drain the soil of much needed nutrients.