Saturday, 13 October 2012

The kind of bed that if you make it you don't have to lie in it

Every year we struggle at spring time to get control of the garden beds. We've planted green manure crops and while they're great there is a wonderful profusion of weeds along with it. This year, aware that my shoulders and neck can no longer handle being on the end of hoe or grubber, we decided to try do things a bit differently.

We have an enormous high quality black tarp we'd bought to cover up strawbales. We chopped it into three 10 metre long  4 metre wide strips. Whippersnipped the green manure crops and laid the tarps over top.

One of the big problems is the occasional 120km an hour wind we get around here, so lots of bricks are required to keep them on the ground and not 50 miles away. But the effort's been well worth it.

We lifted this tarp a week or so ago and the ground had eaten all the green manure crop without even having to dig it in.  A great sign of microbial activity. No weeds, still nice and  moist, lush and loamy and ready for potatoes.

Trev's dug four shallow ditches, lined them with a compost material he's made from our chicken poop, placed a thin layer of soil over that and then the potatoes.  This is one of the first years we've had to buy potatoes (a 10kg bag), ours liked the warmer climate in the house and made great efforts to grow legs and come join us in the lounge room. 

Definately have to find somewhere cooler this year.


Stacey Taylor said...

What a great idea. Thank you for writting about this.

Jo said...

Now THAT is a vegie garden. Mine is about 3 square metres, plus wine barrels, plus pots. You win! However I do use your rotting green manure principle whenever I want a new garden bed - I cover all the weeds, plants with manure, layers of newspaper and pea straw, and a few months later the it has all rotted into the perfect planting medium. Happy Spring planting!