Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Raised beds... sort of!

The first thing we had to do was to decide where we were going to grow the vegetables. Once decided we had to think about how to improve the soil so that they would grow.
We decided to make raised beds with what we had laying around the garden. We used old concrete blocks and telegraph poles that the previous owner had left.
Luckily for us, at the back of the house is a corral where the shepherd keeps his goats and sheep over night. We asked him if we could have some manure...he was happy for us to help ourselves...so we got about 60 wheelbarrows full just to make 2 beds.
 Two beds ready.
This first year we were so excited about planting stuff and being self-sufficient that we went a bit mad. We planted everything you  could possibly think of.

This was the brassica bed.
90 bean plants 3 different varieties
Peas, mange tu
 This is pop corn...we had sweetcorn at the back
In another bed were roots...beetroot
These are just a few of the things we planted. We made a big mistake that year. We planted to what the seeds said on the packet (English seeds) and so the brassicas were growing through the summer. The beans lost all of their flowers when it got to June because it was too hot! I think we had about 6 beans that year! The sweetcorn grew corns but they didn't fill out. We had to water every thing twice a day just to keep them alive.
We learnt a lot that year...what not to do at least. But we did have 2 beds ready that just needed topping up every couple of years.
After the digger driver had been and dug out the pool, we had a surplus of rock. It was everywhere! So we decided to redo the beds and extend them along the back garden. We decided we wanted one just for strawberries, another for asparagus, one for artichokes and 4 big ones. Three would be planted every year and one left fallow that we could manure and then leave to recover.
All 4 beds done
Beds for permanent crops
We have enough room in each of these beds to add manure to them to keep improving the soil. This year we are going to shred paper, use straw on top of the paper and then plant the seedlings...we are hoping that this will keep the soil underneath moist.