[Homestead] Raised Beds
erthnsky at bellsouth.net
Fri May 1 18:41:04 EDT 2009
Robert Walton wrote:
> Hey all,
> I've decided that I want to do a raised bed or two. The main reason
> is to have a place to grow salad greens, carrots, etc.
> I was thinking to make the bed now and try to get it full of soil by
> fall. I have to clean 2 years of deep bedding from my goat shed, it's
> mostly peed on hay and poop. Lots and lots of wasted hay, so it
> should not be too strong. I can mix in some soil once the bedding
You really don't need to mix the soil in...just a thin layer of soil on
the surface to hold the seeds in place near the top.
Almost all of my beds are made with waste hay/bedding hay whatever you
want to call it. I used to use goat barn stuff and rabbit poop, now, I
use the waste hay from the chicken coop and the hay from the horse hay
ring area or I clean out my neighbor's horse stall. You can't ask for
better material for raised beds-its an instant mix of green and brown.
To get even more bulk, I layer leaves in the fall, small and medium
sticks/bark/windfall in the late winter and early spring(great to add
fungi and air space to speed composition) and grass clippings in the
spring and summer. If you have too much grass in the summer, add paper
or cardboard(also adds airspace)
> For the sides, I'm looking around to see what I can use that's free.
> I have tons of pine trees. I could cut down a 12" or so thick pine
> and cut logs to make the sides. I think that it would at last 5 or 6
> years being that thick. In that time, the soil should hold up if I
> needed to remove a log and replace it.
When we first moved here, I did something similar on a smaller scale-8"
logs. Critters tunnel under the logs, Bermuda grass works under it, and
it is amazing how quickly termites and ants can take down the girth. I
got 2 years out of it. You might have a 11" deep bed in year one, but
by year three, it will only be 6 inches. I doubt it will last 6
years-yeah you will have a 2 or 3 inch diameter log, but what good is
that for your purpose? Realize too, that you will be watering the beds
and that water will also speed decomp. And watch for millipedes and
scorpions...I'd recommend debarking...
> I'm also going to hit up the sawmill and see if they have some cull
> cedar or other lumber that might work.
Some cedar slabwood might work good. At least with slabs, you can add
to the sides every year or as needed-just scab onto what is already there.
Look at Sage's raised beds, if you don't need wheelchair height like
mine, and obviously you don't, then I would build what Sage has...good
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public
debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered
and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed
lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of
living on public assistance."
--Cicero, 55 BC
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