Raised Garden Beds
My raised garden beds, my 2015 project, are, once again, at the top of my mind.
This morning I went out into the garden and felt Spring was actually here. Warm, still and sunny – bliss without a blanket! What a relief it is to be outside again and actually be revelling in it. The next phase will be bare feet. The best way to get down to knowing your garden – silly, I know, when using rakes and forks or even lawn-mowers, but I do put on a pair of clogs when those items are around. Anyway – being outside with no shoes on is one of the best things – toes wiggling and curling, free at last of boots and socks, remembering the different feel of cool, damp grass or rough concrete, remembering the pain of getting burned by hot sand on the beach and then being soothed by the chill of the tiles inside. Prickles in the lawn, hot tarmac, mud, freedom. A whole raft of experiences that so many unfortunate peeps never have.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the garden feels like that too. Leaves finally breaking out of their dark prisons in response to the extra sun and light. The Dead Hell that exists in winter at the end of the deck just sits there, while the good warmth that makes things happen is sucked away to nowhere
But today… all is crazy again. There is going to be a Spring after all. The reticulata irises are positively glowing – royal purple satin in the sunlight. Different bulbs are jostling for position in the garden. The clematis buds are at last gaining over the ants and the snakes head fritillary that I thought I had lost are, at last, beginning to poke up through the dirt. Being outside was an absolute pleasure for the first time for months and it was great!
Using my Augur (new term)
I took advantage and got out the augur to turn the ‘compost’ in my raised garden beds. This is just a cheap and, I hope, productive way to build up some worth-while bulk before I actually purchase top soil. What I have collected is too shallow to build up any heat, so things have been quite slow. The contents are rather mushy, too as the drainage is not the best. So now, using my trusty augur, I have mixed everything in with all my kitchen waste and dead leaves and I am looking to the sun and the addition of air, to dry things out a bit and get those microbes on the move.
All things considered, I was stoked to see how many worms have taken up residence over the winter, enjoying the bedding and accompanying manure from the stables which was layered on the top. The freezing conditions do not seem to have thwarted them at all and many of them are big and fat – gigantic when compared with the little babies.
The next move is to layer the compost in the raised beds with newspaper to discourage weeds and then to add 6-8 inches of top soil. Finally, I will add the cured compost that I have in my bin – the fruits of my labour (or should I say of the worms and microbes) over the last year, and any vermicompost that I may have left over after using it on my container plants.
Now, it just remains to find a source of top-soil that is reasonable in price and of half-way decent quality.