Sunday, 11 January 2015

Raised Vegetable Beds Started!!

We had a year off from growing vegetables last year as we'd just moved and really ran out of time. Our garden has lots of plum, damson and a few apple trees so I was kept busy preserving those this summer. In the last house we just had a patch of land that we grew some different veg in and a few bags for spuds. The patch was pretty shady and the veg was pretty hit and miss. 
This time we've set aside an area of lawn that is between two concrete pads and is full of weeds, so it's not much use, what's more it's in the sun pretty much all day and with not too much shade.

With it being winter we've ordered some bareroot plants for the patch, some raspberry and strawberry plants. They come dormant without leaves so they're cheaper to buy and ship.

We've got a pretty limited budget for the raised beds so we used 6 inch gravel boards and we cut some 2x2" lengths of softwood into 12" lengths and used the chop saw to put a point on the bottom to aid in hammering the beds into the ground. We decided to make four beds at 3 x 18 foot each. I figured that 3 foot widths meant that I could reach into the centre of the bed without trampling any plants. We used nails to join the lengths to the posts, we could have used screws but we had so many nails lying about why not use them up! I'm hoping we can get a few seasons out of these beds, at least long enough to have a think about the final layout of the garden.

We placed them in their space and used the sledge to hammer them down. Next we dug up the turf and placed it to one side. I then dug down about a foot below ground level and placed the turf in upside down and covered it over with the soil I'd removed.  I'm hoping this will kill the grass and it'll rot down nicely. Next job involved finding soil from other places around the garden to fill up the remainder of the space up to the top of the gravel boards. The resident moles were lending a helping hand by creating huge molehills which I've put in the barrow and dumped in the beds. It is amazing how much soil you need to find. The first bed is finished and the raspberries are planted and the second is almost there so we can plant the strawberries. I'm not sure where I'm going to get the rest of the soil for the last two beds right now but I've got a few months to think about it before I'll need them.

Our next issue is going to be keeping the chickens from decimating the strawberry plants which are currently under cover. I think the best solution for the short term is going to be using temporary HERAS security/construction style fencing. It's 2 metres high so the girls will have to be pretty determined to get to the plants! Plus you can get gates with them so it should be (fingers crossed) easy to get in and out and the sun can get through and make my beautiful plants grow big and fruitful.

We've also been continuing to fit the kitchen so I'll post some photos of how we're getting on soon.

Beds all sited with the first filled
Update: Got the second bed filled today using the rest of the molehills. Like two mental people we then planted the strawberries in the dark while it was peeing down with rain and then rigged up an anti-chicken fortress using chicken wire, hosepipe and cable ties. if our neighbours saw us they'd have thought those people must have a screw loose. I'm sure all you lovely people with young kids know how much easier it is to get stuff done without them (even while half blind in the dark and soaked to the skin!). All I'll say is God help the chicken that's found inside the cover having devoured my new plants.

1 comment:

  1. wicked awesome work - good job to you both! we are trying to do what you are trying to do and we don't have small children to contend with - i am very amazed at the work you have been able to do!