No Dig Raised Beds

Over the Easter Bank Holiday I made a start to my allotment as well as my raised beds in my sisters garden.  It was a bit of a mammoth task to build and fill my raised beds, but luckily I had my Dad on hand to help.

Sawing wood
This is a pic of me hand sawing the wooden stakes for the corners, just to prove I did actually help my Dad! Unlike my poor attempts at helping with the palette potting bench 😉

Using some gravel boards and stakey corner bits, we made a GIANT raised bed.  The idea was not to make a permanent raised bed, but start off a ‘no-dig’ bed.  On my course with Charles Dowding, he explained you can just lay the mulch layer and compost on top of the grassed area, or you can use a sort of wood container and after about 6 – 8 months remove it and the ground should have compacted and will stay in place.  So my plan is to eventually remove the gravel boards as they often provide a nice space for naughty slugs and snails to hide.  And we don’t want that!!!

The Weed Supressing Layer
The weed suppressing layer – hopefully it will keep out those pesky weeds from the grass.  I did dig up particularly large dandelions just to sort of help it along – mainly because I was bored whilst waiting for the compost to arrive

I did the weedtex laying allllll by myself!  You proud readers?

Compost Delivery
Knew the good weather wouldn’t last!

Very early in the morning we had delivery of the compost.  Now I know what ya’ll thinking.  Why didn’t you just buy a big ass bag of compost instead of millions of little ones.  There was an amazing looking compost company I discovered on tinterweb that was all organic and weed seed and pathogen free, free from aminopyralid and a high manurial value……………but unfortunately my sisters garden is raised up from the house.  The company didn’t have an hydrolic lifty arm thing so wouldn’t be able to put the bags up on the grassed area.  My Dad is 71 and has had a double hernia in the past, so there was no way in hell my skinny ass arms were gonna be able to transfer nearly 7000l of compost to the area we needed it in.  So unfortunately I had to go with a builders merchant, generic compost.  Yes it was cheaper but I really did want to embrace the no-dig – you need amazing compost – ethos.  But never mind.  They only did the piddly bags, but had a lorry with arm on it so could lift it into place.

In progress
In progress, that’s a LOT of compost

I ordered 115 of 60l bags and it has just about covered the area which is roughly 5m x 9m x 0.15m.  With treading down the soil a little it was looking at about 3-4 inches thick when I am trying to achieve a 6″ layer (as advised by CD).  So we scooped out the soil in the paths and built that onto the beds which has helped.  I still think it is a little under 6″, but it will have to do as I am now as skint as a bint from compost purchases.  Oh how frivolous I am to spend my hard earned cash on compost!!!!  I shall try and plant the deep rooters and the root veg in the thicker beds.  Not sure how to handle my potatoes though, I fear I will run out of soil for building up but we shall see.  Tips in the comments would be much appreciated.

The Beds
They’re starting to look like real beds!

So all that is left now is to water in the soil and then get planting!!!  Ironically just as I have my beds ready, the weather has turned colder and more cloudy.  Boo!  But I shall enjoy getting over there anyway.

Bed Plan
The beds might not necessarily be in this order, but this is an overall view of what is in each bed

Incidentally, having come from suburbia where neighbours usually keep themselves to themselves, it was somewhat amusing to see curtains twitching whist we undertook this mammoth task.  Although one neighbour did gift me three brussels sprout plants he just happened to have left over (that I will exchange for some of my excess purple sprouting broccoli plants), which obviously required him to come over and have a sticky beak whilst we were compost spreading.  So it has it’s benefits being in a rural country village ;).  When I deliver his p.s broccoli to him I will deffo pick his brains and have a nosey at his wonderful veg plot in his front garden.

Planting Plans
Plating plans in the various beds

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

 

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