First, on Friday evening I removed the wheat straw and cardboard mulch from the ground between the four-foot widths of the beds. There were MANY worms beneath the mulch and the soil looked very rich. I took a pitchfork and loosened everything. I let the freshly exposed mounds of soil sit exposed for two days. Second, on Sunday I re-forked the mounds and removed every clump of grass and weed I could find. Third, I framed in the newly dug areas with untreated whitewood 2 x 8 planks (same type of wood I used to construct the original beds). I used outdoor wood screws to fasten everything together.
|Extending and joining my raised vegetable beds.|
By doing this I added an additional 4' x 11' growing area, which equates to adding a sixth 4' x 8' raised bed and an extra 4' x 3' raised area. If you look at the title picture of the blog, imagine the left two beds joined together and the right set of beds joined together while maintaining the original pathway down the center of the yard. I'll take an overall picture when the work is completed in a few weeks.
I maintained the original dividing walls between each bed in order to maintain distinct growing spaces within the two larger raised areas. This will be helpful when planning crop rotation to prevent the buildup of certain diseases within the beds. I will simply move the crops from one divided area to the next based upon accepted practices. For those of you interested in good guidelines for crop rotation and succession planting, you should read chapter 7 in the New Organic Grower by Eliot Colelman.