Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blackberry bed, v 2.0

Make the back yard great again
So anyway, a couple years ago I tore down a raised bed that ran along the south side of one of my barns.  It was about 30' long and 3' (one and a half cinder blocks) wide, and 2 blocks high.  It never really produced anything, for the simple reason that it sat beneath the roof edge in such a way that most of the rain landed outside it. And I'm too lazy to water*.

However, tearing it down left a really convenient spot for piling toys, pieces of siding, empty dog food bags**, you know, all the stuff you really don't want to look at from the relaxing comfort of your sun room. And the lovely and gracious Rogue has been making noises about planting more flowers next year. So a new raised bed needed to be added. And that's the best available spot.

There are a few things I did differently with this one than the last, failed bed.  First off, it's deeper and wider, so it should catch more water and should hold moisture a little better.  I've also added one of those "half barrel" water collectors to the house downspout nearest this bed, so each rain should provide about 30 gallons of water to be used at that bed's convenience. Then I added cardboard to the bottom, theoretically to stop the weed growth from beneath***.  But since it's 3-4' deep, in reality it's unnecessary; weeds aren't going to grow through that much soil. Today I filled it with leaves and will add grass compost and other rottables that should make it plantable by spring.  It might not be full, but something will be growing there.  Maybe cilantro again, which I really missed this year. Maybe Indian corn. Who knows?

But I also added something beneath the cardboard that I should have been using the whole time: a double layer of chicken wire, laid between dirt and cardboard.

One of those odd things I've always noted in planting is that I have mole runs in my raised beds. You reach in to plant something and woah, there's no dirt beneath the surface.  Or you water and it all runs through, soaking nothing.  There's a series of tubes, a virtual internet of nothings running through all the beds.  And why not? I work hard to create an environment in which worms thrive, and moles eat worms.  Eventually they are going to find the happy hunting grounds and make lots of convenient access tunnels.  Hopefully a couple layers of chicken wire overlapping will make such a banquet unaffordable.

If that doesn't work, you can probably look forward to another post about the antics of Digging Dog, the Anti-Farmer and inhumer of cattle femurs, who thinks the best way to catch moles is to remove the environment in which they live.

* That's not technically correct. While I am lazy, the Catch 22 for me is that I'm on a cistern well, not a deep well.  So in those times where it is most necessary for me to water the garden, my water supply is at its lowest, and much more needed in a house with 7 kids and all the dishes and clothing that go therewith.
** and a deck, seriously.
*** Really I just had a buttload of cardboard to get rid of, and beneath 4' of dirt is a good place to get rid of it.

1 comment:

  1. Your comment about being lazy made me chuckle. A lazy guy who won't water (yes I saw your note at the bottom), who goes out and builds a whole new raised bed from block. I have my own laziness quirks. I have no problem digging 4' deep holes in my garden to bury leaves and kitchen waste, but the thought of actually making a compost Ain't gonna happen.