Thursday, April 11, 2013

Filling the raised beds.

I built some raised beds the other day.  Now they needed to be filled.

The first thing I did was run the weed eater inside the bed to get the grass as short as possible.  This picture also makes the construction of the raised a little more clear.  You can see the overlapped corners and where I put in the timber screws.

Next, I put down a layer of cardboard.  I really don't want weeds and grass growing up through the soil.

Then I threw in some rotten logs I found in the woods to do the hugelkultur thing.

At this point the beds were ready to be filled.  Here's a picture of what I used.  It wasn't nearly enough to fill all of the beds.
A quick note about the Azomite.  Azomite is rock dust.  It adds trace elements to the soil.  I've heard good things about it, so I bought a bag of it last fall.  I can't say I remember where all I've put it or if I've noticed any improvements by using it.  I guess that's the problem with not writing things down.

I'm sure the next question is, "Why did you use so much stuff?"  I first learned about gardening by reading All New Square Foot Gardening book.  If I remember correctly, the soil composition recommended in that book was equal parts peat moss, compost, and vermiculite.  Vermiculite is hard to find.  I've found that if you want more than a few quarts of it, you need to special order it.  I didn't want to go through that trouble.

So I used two types of compost, leaf and cow manure, along with peat moss.  Why did I use ready made garden soil?  It was on sale and was cheaper than the cow manure compost.  I only used the Azomite because I already had it.  Most of it went into one bed, so with any luck I'll be able to see if there's a difference between that bed and the ones without it.

Anyway, here's one bed that is nearly full.  It could use a little more, but what's in there is probably sufficient. 

Here's the other bed I was able fill.

I covered the bottoms of the remaining two beds with my leaf compost.  I just wanted to get something in them.  I have to pick up more garden soil to fill them the rest of the way.

I can hardly wait to get plants in there.

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