Author Topic: Prepping new raised garden bed  (Read 3470 times)

Offline zombiesquash

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Prepping new raised garden bed
« on: September 24, 2014, 04:15:23 PM »
Ok, new to the forum. Never been the best at located certain topics in these things , so please forgive the question if it has been already asked.  What was Jacks garden layers again for prepping a garden bed?

Zombiesquash

Offline SuburbanGardener

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 04:36:31 PM »
Don't recall precisely what Jack recommended, but what I did to prepare my hugel mounds was to put down my deadfall logs, fill over them with native clay soil, add some compost (~4" - 6"), then sheetmulch with cardboard, compost (2"), wheat straw (6"+), more compost (2"), and a final sprinkling of straw (<1").  Of course, I only have about 400 SF of area to cover, so one decent size truckload of mulch covered this, along with about 6 square bales of straw.  Getting enough cardboard was the hardest part. 

Offline LibertyBelle

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 04:59:33 PM »
Ok, new to the forum.

Welcome!  At my house in town, I can't do the hugal beds so what I do for a new bed there is put down multi layers of cardboard (have couch grass that is the bane of my existence!),  followed by a mixture of homemade compost, leaf mould, peat and rabbit manure that's 4" to 8" inches deep, depending what I'm planning on putting in that bed.  I get my cardboard from the local furniture stores.  These are huge boxes that have been broken down flat and put in the cardboard recycling cages at the back of the stores, so that make it super easy for me to haul.  Then all I have to do when I get the boxes home is rip off the packing tape and remove any staples, and they are good to go.   

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 05:44:35 PM »
When I prep a new bed, I fill it with compost from a local facility. 

When you get the chance, please stop over at the Intro Thread and introduce yourself.

Offline Naturalist-ina-Cooper

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 02:52:16 PM »
If i follow the above poster's suggestion of cardboard and compost/manure/leaves; do I need to worry about tilling or breaking up the sod/soil before i place the cardboard?

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 11:48:27 PM »
If i follow the above poster's suggestion of cardboard and compost/manure/leaves; do I need to worry about tilling or breaking up the sod/soil before i place the cardboard?

Nope.  Just put the cardboard right on top of the grass/weeds/bare dirt/whatever, and start building up.  The only exception might be if the soil is really compacted (like, "we just removed a concrete slab" compacted, not "it's a little tough to dig" compacted), you might want to loosen it a bit with a digging fork, just so water can infiltrate a bit easier.  But over time having all that organic material piled on top will loosen up even the hardest clay soil.  The moisture being held helps, and also it will attract tons of soil life that will dig around and loosen the soil up.

Offline goofyshooter

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 03:48:54 AM »
Another thing Jack recommended is to cover your beds with a tarp. Has anyone else done this?

Offline bigbear

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 06:40:05 AM »
If i follow the above poster's suggestion of cardboard and compost/manure/leaves; do I need to worry about tilling or breaking up the sod/soil before i place the cardboard?

You don't have to till.  But I do for my new beds.  But just use a fork to loosen it for subsequent years.  (The pros to no-till has to do with the microbial makeup of the soil.  The pros to tilling has to do with air and water getting to the roots for better roots systems.)

I've been using dirt, compost, grass clippings and leaves.  The compost has food scraps (fruit, veggies), dirt, leaves, grass, horse manure... (at some point chicken poop).

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 11:47:23 AM »
Another thing Jack recommended is to cover your beds with a tarp. Has anyone else done this?

I have, but only when reclaiming a neglected bed from heavy weed infestations or disease (in fact, the garden area at my new homestead is currently undergoing such treatment).  Putting clear or black plastic over the bed acts as a greenhouse and heats up the soil, killing the weeds, their seeds, and quite a few disease organisms, too.  It also kills lots of beneficial stuff, so it's best to re-inoculate with compost tea or something to get the good bacteria back in the game. 

If you weren't trying to kill off weeds or something like that, I'm not sure why you'd put a tarp over it, rather than just mulch heavily or plant a cover crop (both would improve your soil much more than a tarp would).

Offline goofyshooter

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Re: Prepping new raised garden bed
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 08:36:04 PM »
Good  to know. We have been gardening for a couple years now, and usually grow a summer garden and then let it go and till it. I want to try building better soil and I need to get rid of the weeds as we have neglected the garden lately.