August 9th, 2018
Today, the first raised bed was prepared – a milestone!
I plan to try various combinations of material. Mostly I’ll stick to a cardboard underlay and a thick layer of homemade compost as a top dressing, but this is how the first was filled.
With considerable help from my two young assistants, this nine foot by four foot subplot took shape in a few hours.
I have no plans to plant it immediatly, but it will have garlic, early peas and a few hardwood cuttings – currants and hazel – some time in the autumn.
I’ve adjusted my plans a little, as it seems recycled wood in the size used here is plentiful. As for the mulch:
- A layer of dampened cardboard over pre-watered soil. (In the middle of a dry spell, I need to encourage weed growth. See below.)
- A couple of inches of assorted vegetable waste – leaves and twigs, kitchen refuse. Whatever is available if it’s reasonably seed free.
- An inch of topsoil, to add bulk and to strengthen the texture. [Obviously we have to vary our ingredients according to the material available. A mix of topsoil and compost would work well, but I need to eke out my compost to allow for at least one more bed this autumn.]
- Two inches of homemade compost.
- After watering the mix, I laid a lightproof barrier over the top. So any remaining weeds will be encouraged to grow by the presence of moisture and good ambient temperature, but without sunlight they can’t photosynthesise. This should weaken any remaining roots, but I’ll know when I look again in a month.