Friday, June 6, 2008

Raised beds

I see and hear about people going to a lot of trouble or expense to make raised beds. Browse the internet and you can find suggestions from plastic to wood to concrete block. You can alsso find instructions on splitting tires. Here is a better option. These are my raised beds. The center two are about 15 years old in this picture. 2008 will be their 18th season. The closest ones were developed in 1994 while the far side was put down around 2002. I formed the first ones with a shovel but the latter ones were formed with a bottom plow. Drip irrigation is laid down the center. Then the bed is covered by a ground cloth. It takes a high quality woven ground cover to prevent weeds. I use a propane torch to burn a small hole about the size of my hand in the bed. Turn the irrigation on so you know where it is at and don't drip melted ground cover on it. I used 8 mil T tape which is designed for annual use although I got more than 10 years use out of the oldest ones. Each year I put compost through the holes and then seed or transplant into the holes. The only tools I use are a shovel to load compost, a bucket to transport compost and tire tool to dig out a few of the tougher weeds. I generally use gloves when putting in the compost.

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