May 2, 2010

Building raised beds

I decided to go for raised vegetable beds not only because my home garden is small, but also because every year there is a slug invasion. On the side, where I want my vegetable garden, just over the fence there is abandoned garden. Real jungle with apple trees, raspberries, strawberries, roses and perennials. If you would like to walk through you need to use machete. Slugs kingdom. I noticed, slugs are little bit more reluctant to climb the sides of raised beds - especially wooden.

Most complex part of building raised beds is planning and calculating. Rest is easy. Nails and hammer and pair of hands. My plan was ready since winter. Part of the plan was make it ready in March and start sowing cold liking veggies directly in the ground, but mother Nature decided different. In mid March we still have had 1 m of snow. Now I have everything needed: boards, nails, manure, soil and mulch.

I asked my husband for help, because it will be faster. Time is gold at this season, when there is so many things on ToDo list.

To speed up things I asked husband for help. Time is gold at this season, when there is so many things on garden ToDo list. I decided to make simple boxes - that makes them easier to move if I decided so. These boards 2,5cm/1 in. thick will last at least 8-10 years. I made smaller raised beds using thinner boards (2 cm) 5 years ago and they are still fine.   

3 new vegetable beds are ready and they are prepared with few layers of soil, manure and organic matter that I had at hand in the garden. Starting from bottom I used:

1/ Fresh sod removed from other parts of the garden, placed up side down. I planned to add grass clippings, but it started to rain and it looks there will be no lawn mowing this weekend.

2/ Composted manure.

3/ Half-composted leaves collected in autumn and stored in bags – this bag was not closed tight, so leaves on the top were dry. If you water leaves and close the bags, they will decompose faster. I made also holes in the bag for air to circulate, so leaves do not rotten, but are composting with help of oxygen loving micro-organisms.

4/ Soil from other part of my garden – clay and sandy soil which doesn’t have enough organic matter.

5/ Rich soil bought in bags.

This year I will get 5 new raised beds (4 beds 2x1m, bed 1,5x2,5 m) for my vegetable garden 2010:

Tomatoes: Soldacki, Brandywine, Brown Berry, Black Prince, Emerald Green

Peppers: Cayenne, Zvonek, Scotch Bonnet, Hinkle Hatz

Radishes: Saxa, Fiesta

Green leaves to eat:

- May Queen (lettuce),

- Amerikanischer Braun (lettuce, I can’t find too much information about this variety, beside that it grows large loose heads of lighter green ruffled leaves edged in brownish red and this seems to be German name for an old American variety, but its history is unknown – what is important I can pick its leaves entire season),

- Arugula (Eruca sativa, seeds came from Turkey),

- Spinach Matador and Strawberry Spinach

- Curly endive (Cichorium endivia)

Runner beans: Neckarkonigin, Blauhilde, Piekny Jas (Beautiful Johnny) - Polish variety , bearing large white, very tasty beans, that store great in winter, it has also different names: Jas Tyczny (runner bean Jas) and Glupi Jas (Stupid Johnny)

Peas: Capucijner and ‘6 weeks form sowing to table’ variety of unknown name

Brassicas: Sebastian (broccoli), Delikatess Blauer and Gigant (kohlrabi), kale

Pumpkin: Galeuse d’eysines

Zucchini: Gold Rush (yellow fruits), Black Beauty (green fruits),

Cucumbers: Kronos Skierniewcki, Basza and Cucumis melo of unknown name.


jurooma said...

Thank you very valuable information

Darla said...

Good work. The slugs and snails around here have drank a 12 pack this weekend.

Claude said...

We do a lot of raised beds in Texas too... but for different reasons... in the spring, we get huge amounts of rain in a short period of time... plants at ground level may rot. And in the hot dry summer, it is easy and efficient to water the raised beds without wasting water all over the place.

looking forward to watching your harvest!

Eliza said...

That's a great list of tomatoes and peppers, I hope they do well for you! Good luck on keeping the slugs out of the raised bed, too (it looks fantastic!)

Seattle DUI Defense lawyer said...

Very nice new garden. Good luck on growing the excellent plants and veggies.

Kathryn/ said...

Oh, Ewa, I could hardly get past the arugula seeds came from Turkey. It just sounds so romantic. Isn't that insane? I love arugula! I'm finding it very much varies from plant to plant, seed to seed and season to season. It reseeds well, but then I don't think it reseeds well for LONG, as in, maybe a couple of extra seasons, then you have to start over. Do you know?

Anyway, bravo for getting FIVE new boxes. Bless your husband for helping. I think this might inspire me to actually get the straw bales going. I want squash and pumpkin and it's not too late! THANKS! And good luck!! xoxo

Ewa said...

Oh yes, it sounds really romantic :) I came to me 8 years ago, before I've got the garden. It is still sprouting!
I passed the blessings - big thank you to you!