After doing the survey I realised there will be a number of challenges in building this little raised bed garden system.
- I would like to use the materials and resourses that are to hand. These include roundwood logs (Larch and Pine), fertile soil/compost from a ditch, nettles, leaves and mycelia, cardboard and newsprint, manure and sterile compost.
- The soil is lacking in depth and Organic matter
- It must look reasonably well
- It must be cheap to make
- It should be in place and covered before the winter to allow it to settle for next year
- It must reduce the amount spent on shoping each week
While we were traveling I had seen how fallen or felled logs were placed against tree stumps on hilly ground to reduce erosion and stabilise the slope. Soil and organic matter collects behind these creating a terrace and these become places where fertility is captured. I had also noticed how ditches below sloping ground also collected soil and organic matter and this material could be collected and used to fill a raised bed. Looking nearby I quickly found suitable materials and began implementing the design.
I began by gathering logs using a rope to drag them into position and laying these out to get an idea for the shape and size of the bed. I then drove stakes into the ground to hold the logs in position on the slope
I leveled the timbers using some flat stones
Next I leveled the base of the bed so the fill materials will be consistent across the slope. This involved draging some material from the back to the front of the slope, removing larger stones and woody roots of the Bergenias. Once setup the system will be no dig but some digging was unavoidable in creating the terrace. I also widened the bed to 1400 mm.
A drainage ditch needed clearing out so this yielded about 20 barrows of rich compost/soil. There is some scutch grass in this which I have not removed.The benefits of the material trump my reluctance to use it. This will only form one of the base layers in the buildup of materials and will be sheet mulched repeatly before the bed is fully filled.
The difference in colour between this and the soil below is amazing its rich brown and full of worms and soil life.
To the top of this I cut and added a generous layer of nettles. These needed clearing to give access to the hedge for cutting.
Over the nettles I am spreading leaves containing mycelium. This will provide good habitat for worms. The rains today will help to moisten everything up before the cardboard goes down and the building process continues. to be continued ..