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Raised Bed Discussion

For those of you unable to attend the community dinner last night, see below for a  susmmary of  our three  mini-presentations on raised beds. 

 Pat

 From Sean:

I spoke about, during our raised bed potluck, the idea of Hugelkulture… or raised beds on the cheap.

Wanted to share some notes that may be helpful to those interested in learning more.  Firstly, the most useful synopsis I’ve found so far lives at: http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/  This is really rich in illustration and details if you want to get your head around what I introduced in the three minutes I spoke.

Secondly, wanted to share my information for those that have more questions, or interest in support in expanding their gardens or improving their lot as it were.   You can find out about what I do at edibleacres.org .  It has contact information, videos, pictures, etc. of what it is I do with my life.

I’d also hope you take occasion to look at www.thegoodlifefarm.org where I co-own the forest and do fun permaculture experiments with some of the hardest working, thoughtful farmers I’ve ever known.  They are a great farm to know about.  And of course The Veterans Sanctuary: http://veteranssanctuary.blogspot.com/ which is doing amazing things and can always use support and more people interested in gardening, paper making, and all things good!

Thats all for now, great meeting you all and I hope to hear from some of you who want to share ideas, pick my brain, want plants, or support on your space.

Thanks!
Sean

 

From Margo:

I’ve been gardening on west hill for about 20 years.  my daughter is a stone mason and with her husband has built a lot of structure into our hill.  out beds were mostly double -dug. Check out double digging on the web –there are some good, illustrated sites– if you have a good back or a young friend with a good back.

For slugs, Sluggo [there’s a somewhat cheaper knock-off at Agway’s] was really effective for me–it seems to have had years-long effect.

The garbage directly on bed approach works for already started beds.  to begin a bed on sod, use sean’s approach–including the one where you put cardboard on the grass, cover with newspaper and any kind or organic matter, especially manure if you have it.  there are local farms that are giving it away if you have use of a truck.

We have a huge deer tick problem here.  last summer we raised guinea fowl [you may have eaten some in my stew last night at Pat’s] and during their adulthood, none of us got any ticks on us. They are good flyers  and unfortunately one of our neighbors complained, thus the stew!  We’re going to try again this summer and clip wings.

I also mentioned Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Gardening or his newer book, Winter Gardening.  He points out that we’re at the same latitude as southern France, same amount of sun [not counting the clouds] in winter, just colder.  with a few modifications–like row cover and small plastic tunnels, you can have a variety of winter vegetables.

Everyone is warmly invited to see our garden.  i love showing it.  just email or call. margotbrinn@mac.com; 227-5367.

[this is a site about the changes in planting zones; ours doesn’t seem to have changed.  we’re still 5B:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/new-usda-plant-zones-clearly-show-climate-change/2012/01/27/gIQA7Vz2VQ_blog.html]

Pat, I went to http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/InteractiveMap.aspx# and it looks like SOME of west hill is now zone 6.  I seem to be right on the border.

From Pat:

 Raised Beds                                                               1-28-12/pduttster@gmail.com

Benefits: Weeding is easier, can grow veggies closer (more nutrient-rich soil), bed protected (somewhat) from varmints and people, no tilling

Materials:

  1. Black Locust 4’ x 8 ‘ pieces slip into one another, $65- can make any size, 379-1578
  2. Fill: 1-1-1- (33% each)  compost, topsoil, sand: 1 CY is $40-50, delivery, $35-$40; you can also dig up the bed and add compost to your  topsoil
  3. How many CY? 4 x 8 = 32 SF x .5 (6” deep) = 32 CF / 27 CF per CY = .6 CY
  4. Fencing (30’ about $30) and 2 T-posts ($6 each)
  5. Seeds $20
  6. Markers (sticks or small flags) and string (for planting seeds in straight rows)
  7. 4’ Measuring stick marked off in 4”
  8. Leaves, grass clippings, cardboard

NOTE:  2-3 beds are more cost-effective than 1

Bed Prep:

  1. Easy way: in Fall, place plastic/cardboard and rocks on ground to kill grass/weeds – no need to rototill
  2. Start piling on woodchips, grass, leaves, ripped newspaper/cardboard even wall board; add compost in the spring (March)

Ideas for raised bed plantings at various times of the year

March 15 or so planting (if plant 4-6” apart; 24-16 rows; assess if materials have biodegraded)

1.  2 rows lettuce

  1. l row carrots
  2. 2 rows spinach
  3. 1 row beets
  4. 1-2 row peas (will need support)
  5. others greens (kale, tat soi, etc)

May 25 or so planting:

  1. tomatoes, peppers, Swiss chard, beans, cucumbers , leeks
  2. veggies like squash, melon will sprawl outside of the raised bed

July to early Aug.  planting

  1. Greens, carrots, beets for the fall, leeks

October 15 or after first frost

  1. garlic, 6” spacing in row, 16 rows, 112 bulbs or 4” spacing?
  2. garlic scapes ready in June; garlic in July/August
  • –Don’t forget to rotate veggies, esp. the alliums (onions, leeks, garlic)
  • –Call Cornell Cooperative Extension for fact sheet on veggies or go online; library has many great veggie books, call # 630—631, 63;
  • –Winter growing: mini-greenhouse—anyone interested in purchasing polycarbonate sheets?
  • –Like Margo, I have some winter veggies , in particular, I heavily mulched my leeks with leaves (I have customers on Hook st. who drop their leaves on my front lawn, so I have a pretty darn good supply, and my neighbors, Rebecka and Seth have given me their high-quality leaves) and I have been digging out leeks all winter long
  • — in addition, I plan to buy some cover crop seeds in bulk—red or white clover.  E-mail me if you’re interested in sharing a portion of a bag.

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