Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Make Raised Garden Beds

Swinging in the peace and tranquility of my garden.
I have been trying for a while now to get my thinking cap on and work out how to explain how we made our raised garden beds.

I absolutely love the peace and tranquility one gets sitting in a lovely peaceful garden wherever it may be planted, either city or country areas.

I don't think there is anything nicer or more calming to one's soul than to sit and listen to the birds, or watch as some of them seek the seeds left in the Summer sun.

Those birds have such pretty colours. Just like many of the flowers.

However, that doesn't give us any information regarding how to make raised garden beds.

They are not difficult at all, and many different types of  materials can be used.
For the ones we made this time we used corrugated iron which was discarded from someone's roof when they re-roofed their home.
We also had some used timber from someone else, plus some weed mat which had never been used, but came in very handy as a good lining in the raised garden beds, so that the soil didn't trickle out from some of the gaps in the corner of the frames.

These were put together very quickly with virtually no planning because I needed to get my seed potatoes in so they would be ready for our Christmas Dinner this year!

This picture will show you how little effort was put into the making of the raised barden beds, but also how very functional they can be.
The new beds before the weedmat was pinned down properly.

The three posts which are quite high, are there for the purpose of adding a small trellis to allow my scarlet runner beans to climb on as they grow. Saves putting in extra supports later.
As you can see there is a small blue coloured "box" in between the beds.

That is my Worm Farm which produces all the necessary nutrients for my gardens from the household left-overs.
They are called Tiger worms and they eat cardboard and paper as well as food scraps.
In fact I was taught by the people who have supplied them here in NZ for many years, that these Tiger Worms, require approximately one 3rd of their diet to be paper or cardboard.

Their "castings" which come about because they munch up all the household scraps, and the juice that also comes from them, are extremely valuable for your production of fruits and vegetables.

The castings can be put directly on your gardens to help fertilize and also build them up, and the juice gets taken from the lower box via a tap, then diluted at the rate of 1 part juice to 10 parts water.

If you have plenty of juice etc, and no  further need for more on your raised garden beds, then you should dilute it and sell it to folks in the neighbourhood.

They would be very glad of it because it is the one thing I have seen which really makes your garden grow.

It has an extra benefit for me, as I discovered last season, that by putting the juice, un-diluted, around the drip line of my tomatoes, that they didn't get tough skins! It made a huge difference to them. My neighbours found it worked for them too.

Of course if you decide to sell the pure juice you would need to price it a bit higher.
These are the sorts of things that happen
with flowers when using this lovely worm fertilizer.
They grow so much more robust and deeper colours.

These flowers here have sprung into bloom about 2 weeks earlier than usual, and the lovely thick solid stems on the Freesias in the blue tub, and the richness of the double yellow tulip, are a sight to behold.

The perfume from them is utterly glorious. You can no doubt realize they are some of my most favoured flowers!! :)

A little more to add re the raised garden beds, is that once we had the frames put together it only took 2and a half cubic metres of really good garden soil to fill the beds.

As to size they were, 2400mls x 810mls x 650mls.
I just rang the Topsoil people and asked how much I needed and they told me, then they also delivered it to me free of charge.

That means this season our vegetables are not going to be expensive like they were last year.
We had to buy everything last year as we live in rented accomadation. Not so this season.
We will provide our own.

I already have lettuces, brassicas, leeks, capsicums, carrots, potatoes, and tomato seeds planted. these will ready in about 80 to 90 days.

Some of them slightly less. we really look forward to the beautiful flavour of well grown home vegetables and fruits.

By using the left over corrugated iron from the roof, and the left over bits of timber and posts, we have created our raised gardens beds at almost no cost.

This is what you can do too in most places just by looking around your neighbourhood and seeking out the odds and bits you require.

You can make raised garden beds from almost any type of material. Just make sure it is strong enough to hold the soil in.

You need to be aware that the soil "settles" after a bit, meaning it looks like there is less in the garden almost. However, it is only because the garden has "settled". You just add a bit of mulch or extra compost or some more garden soil to fill it each season.

If you have a worm farm going as well, you will have enough soil being added from the "castings" of the worms.

I trust you will find this information useful, and that you can try your hand at making yourself a raised garden bed.

The raised garden bed built by my friend, already growing vegies.
Notice the frame work around it to carry the climibing beans
and tomatoes, also cucumbers etc.

This is another way of using whatever materials you have around to make your raised garden beds.

Go to it and enjoy yourselves as well as the rewards once your vegetables are ready to eat.

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