Sunday, January 29, 2012

Garden Antics

And we're gardeners again now. Today we built the first of a whole series of raised beds. I like them to be about 4'x16' and this one I built extra deep instead of the one level I used to do. It's about 16" deep. That will be a lot of soil to fill but it'll hold water quite well. Here's some photos of one of today's projects.

Jared builds the raised bed.

Yard Goblins fill the raised bed with mulched material. It's a combination of wood ships and dirt.

Experimenting with hugelkulture.
I also built a pretty good row cover for this with an interesting design. I'll tweak the next one to be better, but this one I'm happy with. It's almost finished and I'll post some pictures of it later this week as well as discuss the changes.

Hugelkulture is a concept I'd read about since I built the raised beds up in Illinois. I'd wanted to try it but didn't have the opportunity. This time we thought we'd try a controlled experiment and see if we couldn't get it to turn out our way. Half the bed will have some rotting logs and branches in it and the other half will remain open. We'll see how that goes throughout this year and particularly the summer. I may break down and go ahead and make the other beds hugelkulture beds as well. Haven't decided.

I feel much better after my rest the other day. Yesterday we put the sides and roof on the powerhouse and tomorrow the solar panels should be arriving. I've got this Outback charge controller to figure out how to hook up for tomorrow and then it's time to figure out how to run power to the cabin. Other than a long pair of wires across the ground, that is.


Humble wife said...

We use the broken trees we find up in the mountain. Rotting pine in small pieces like the wood mulch folks put around their homes is perfect and free when we hit the hills. I use old feed bags and fill ten or so every time we go.

We also use raised beds, with water issues in the desert it is critical to maximizing every drop effectively. We also opted to use tires. For potatoes, I begin using one, then add a tire and soil until I use 5 tires and a good measure of potatoes.

I have been following your progress and enjoy your blog a good deal.

Canaday said...

Several years ago I used the hugelkulture method. I had never heard of it until a few years ago and thought 'yeah, that's what I did'. It worked out well. Some will argue that the rotting wood binds nitrogen, but I never found that to be an issue at all. The main reason I filled the bottoms of my raised beds with wood (pine, oak, gum, whatever) was in order to get rid of the wood without burning it and as a filler for the raised beds, so they wouldn't take so much soil. As the wood rotted, I had to top off the beds with more compost. It's a good way to utilize what otherwise would be scrap wood.

InvalidID said...

I'd try and char the wood first. From what I've read charcoal works wonders at holding water and nutrients.

Here's a link. If you do decide to try it PLEASE let me know how well it works.