Monday, February 28, 2011

Extending the Raised Beds

I took advantage of the nice weather this weekend to do something that was inevitable.  I extended my raised beds by joining some of them together.  Instead of 5 separate 4' x 8' beds, I now have two really long beds that run parallel down the center of my backyard.

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.
I am going to let the newly framed in areas sit exposed to the elements for a few weeks.  I will then remove anything that germinates, re-fork the soil, add a thin layer of wheat straw, then fill the remainder of the spaces with compost.

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.


Veggie PAK said...

Looks good. Good way to expand the harvest capabilities!

.09 Acres said...

Veggie PAK, I loved your post about composting. I suggested your link for my sister to read. She's a big gardener/green living person in Texas and loves composting.

Kim said...

Wow that's a lot of space you gained! All I could think of was all the veggies you could fit in there :)

I have given you a blogger award. Enjoy!

.09 Acres said...

Kim, thanks for the blogger award! Great honor. I hope I can keep up the good pressure... Where did you get the award graphic/icon?

ali said...

I am jealous of the warm weather...we still have patches of snow in the yard!

Anonymous said...

.o9, How close does your garden come to feeding your family? I can calculate the raised bed space you now have, but what about the rest of the homestead? -JPL

Anonymous said...

.o9, How close does your garden come to feeding your family? I can calculate the raised beds, but what about the rest of the homestead? -JPL