The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A new raised bed from sod to planting

New garden bedI promised you some photos of the next stage in my garden renovation project, so here they are! The first step was using the broadfork to loosen up aisle soil, then laying down cardboard to create one long, wide raised bed (first photo). Since I'm also widening the aisles, I was able to shovel topsoil from beds that were being deleted onto the cardboard, which will hopefully bring the whole area up to speed quickly.

I'm scurrying a bit with this project because it's garlic planting time, and these beds are slated to be home to next year's crop. So, after building the first bed (and a third of the next one --- you can see part of a new bed to the right of the long, finished bed), I planted my garlic. Then I laid down a two-sheet thickness of newspaper (second photo) between the cloves to hold back any potential weeds coming up around our precious crop.

Atop the newspaper, I added a sparse coating of chicken bedding (third photo), which consists of straw, leaves, and manure scraped out of the chicken coop. Finally, I topped that layer off with a deeper layer of fresh straw (final photo).

I'm a bit scared to put all of our eggs (garlic) in one basket (new raised bed). The previous aisle areas, especially, are potentially problematic since the garlic cloves there were planted right atop the cardboard and won't have much soil to grow into until the kill layer and the sod beneath decompose. But garlic is a shallow rooter and I plan to water the entire planting in hard to get the decomposition process moving along quickly. So I'm hoping I won't regret planting what I consider our easiest crop in an experimental area.

(You may be curious why I only planted 75% of our crop during this first garden spree. It's simple --- I ran out of cardboard and newspaper! I'm going to have to stockpile a bit more of both before I can complete our planting. Drat!)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hi Mark and Anna. I'd like to thank yall for taking the time to post on thing you do at your homestead, very informative. I've read two of your books and have been coming here for some time now. I downsized last year to 1200' house and live in 700' of it, elect. last month was $54, wood stove, garden, chickens and living on less. Doing no till now also. Thanks again for showing that there is another way to live and love the earth. dan

Comment by danny Sat Sep 26 06:58:04 2015

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