Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First raised bed :)

Set up our very first raised bed today. It measures 3x6' I.D. and will be used for planting in all my garlic :)

First the garlic.
On the left is the garlic I got in adoption. Russian Giant, Leningrad, and Up North. The rest is garlic I picked up the other day from Skips farmers market. Top is Skips #3, bottom is Skips #1, and the right is Skips #2.
Russian Giant- Hardneck purple stripe, purported to be the sweetest of the roasting garlics. When I broke it apart it had 6 large/huge cloves around a central stem. Purple neck has a 3/4 loop scape.
Leningrad- Hardnect Porcelain, kind of a best all around in taste, quality, and storage, a rather rare type. 4 large cloves around a central stem. Porcelain garlic has a random snake scape.
Up North- no info really on this one, it's a hardneck, possibly a rocombole. Rocomboles are best for dehydrating and have the shortest shelf life, 5-6 months. 6 large cloves clustered around central stem. Rocomboles have a double loope scape.
Skips #1- Sold by a lady, called it Italain Largo? 12 or so small to medium cloves, with 3 more starting an inside ring. Skins are rather hard to peel open to break the head, but come off clove decent.
Skips #2- Sold by same lady as one, she said it was a different kind that was more robust and pungent. 10 large to huge outer bulbs, with 2 medium cloves starting inside ring. Same tough skins as #1.
Skips #3- Sold by the other person selling garlic, a guy. He peeled and broke open a clove for me and it smelled wonderful! 10 medium to large bulbs with 2 small bulbs starting inside. Easy to peel thick skins.
I have 6 of each kind of garlic I can plant in.

On to the raised bed, our first.
Had my love assemble the bed. It was made out of pieces of scrap wood that has been laying around since before we got the house. Two inside brackets in each corner- it's just the way the divots went for the screws, and if later we need reinforcement we can attach outside brackets. We had a miscommunication about one of the boards that was initially to be used, but I think it ended up better this way- a more manageable bed. Heh, I would have been cursing a lot more today if the original larger bed had been built instead!
On to some pics :)

I started out with the bed snugged right up against the edge of the wood that marks off the bee patio. But in my initial dig down, I discovered a frigging fence post. I dug down quite a bit around it, but it was solid as a rock. Shit. I wasn't going to go away from the fence any more than I had already, so it was shift it to the right. I dug down a few inches inside the bed to give me some dirt base for building the bed and to help level out the bed bed a bit. Yes, the rest of the pic is indeed the scrappy remains of the first year black plastic- I've found it rather helpful to keep this area dead as prep for dropping in beds at will.
After I shoveled out a pile o dirt I put in newspapers. We get weekly mailers and I just folded them open, took out the glossy and smaller center section, and laid them face down. Sprinkled a little dirt over the papers to keep them from blowing around while I moved onto the next section.
Another nice pic of the newspaper layer. Each mailer is 8-10 pages thick when folded open. This layer helps with a slow water retention, weed barrier, and lowest level of composting layer. After I got this done, I watered it real well till there was puddles of standing water (ok, the bed bed wasn't perfect, sue me). Soak in the paper real well. Then while it was soaking in I went and raked up a barrow of pine needles.

Here's that frigging post. Decided if I couldn't remove it and didn't want it in the middle of my bed, it could at least serve as an anchor. Though it does make me fear for what I will find as I go down the row with more beds. Though with that notion in mind I will be prepared to be able to cut down/dig out future posts since they won't take me by surprise like this one did.

This is the barrow of pine needles. After I dumped them in and spread them evenish, I watered well again. Started out with the shower head, then switched to jet head to sort of tamp the needles down. While that was soaking in, I went and raked up a barrow of fallen leaves from the cherry trees.

After filling and evening out the box, guess what I did? Yep, watered it again, first using shower head, then jet head to tamp down. This looks like a lot of leaves, but by the time I was done watering the mass down, the bed was only a third full again. Then I sprinkled a coffee can of crushed eggshells over the whole pile for slow release calcium, and then watered again.
Then it was time to go collect a bunch of ash from the firepit and the lil grill. Ash adds some lime and potassium to the soil. And fill up the barrow with horsepoo- for compost, duh.

First was a barrow of horse poo spread out, then half the dirt shoveled in over that, then a goodly dose of the ash on top. This pic shows the layers before it's watering down. And it got watered real well. Since I put in a thick layer of pine needles- which can be acidic- at the bottom, the lime in the ash helps sweeten the needles.

Another layer of poo and then the rest of the dirt. Off to the left you can see the edge of the bee patio, the wooden line I initially had the bed snugged up against. And the first set of pavers I've made for the bee patio. All the wood here was originally smothering the raspberry bed. Nice to be able to use it for at least garden purposes.

And once again, water it real well. The bed looks full up right now, right? Well, this bed is going to sit for a week or two before I put in the garlic, and in that time it will settle in at least an inch I'm thinking, due to all the needles and leaves at the bottom. So before I plant in the garlic I will add another layer of horse poo, then after planting it will be a thick mulch of shredded paper- more mailers :) And then watering the crap out of the whole thing.
Still not positive how I want to do my grid for planting- they will be 6x6" for placement, but not positive how permanent of a grid I want to put up for marking off.
In the background you can get a better view of what will eventually be the bee patio. In the foreground that black plastic blocker.
Believe it or not, this whole corner has been a total PITA to figure out. It's the cornerstone to all the veggie row and living hedge strips as well as one of the crappiest spots of the yard to tame and figure out without killing off what I want to keep. But we are sort of on time with this project- I was hoping that whatever property we moved into we could start raised beds in season 3- and it's the tail end of season 3 and we got the first raised bed in.

I really need to check into getting some garbage carpet for putting in between beds. For the spring probably. I can put in a border agent of recycled brown paper bags and if needed a leaf layer to make the surrounds for this box for this fall into winter. But I will need more long term walkway action come spring.

Since I'm using a 6x6" spacing for the cloves on SQFT method, I will only be filling half the box. I only have 36 cloves to plant, 6 each of 6 kinds. So I need to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of the bed for now since the garlic won't be ready to harvest till next summer. I'm torn between nightshades and brassicas. I want to really launch some tomato action next year and could do an early spring radish crop, but I think I could get a rather nice double crop of spring carrot and fall kale or maybe even cauliflower if I plan carefully. I think I might be better off doing the "easier" plan of radishes and tomatoes.
Of course, I could/should do in a bit of cover crop compost as well.. hmmm...

No comments:

Post a Comment