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raised beds extra

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raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 11/9/2011, 4:42 pm

Hi,

I'm new to this forum I've been practicing SFG ever since my Canadian father in law exposed me to his book about in June 2003 .. I never knew such a site as this existed till I looked for the sowing / planting out chart this evening to see if it was on line and printable.

Anyway enough of my ignorance... what I thought some of you who have the money , ambition and a back injury may like to see is my first raised bed set up. Finally completed by the builders after two years of my planning and saving hard..it was ready some four months late on 27 July 2011 ,three days before I went away on a seven week holiday touring with a caravan around Southern Europe .

Each bed is 36 inches by 39 inches and is all tied into the brick work with cut bricks where needed to make it very strong and long lasting . We've used class " B " impervious engineering bricks , the builder was a true tradesman , absolutely fantastic and exceedingly interested in my project . He's coming back in a few days to do our front gardens in a similar manner of raised beds.

I've had to give up normal gardening and bending for I have several collapsed discs in my lower spine and similar problems in my neck . I'm having to use crutches to get around , this was the major influence for the 36 inch high walls of the beds and wide paths except for where the lawns of dwarf chamomile will be . I can lean over and rest on the walls as I go round weeding and planting etc.

The beds have been filled in several 4 inch layers of well rotted stable muck containing straw and wood pulp , a layer of our heavy clay based soil which is a high sulphur therefore acidic as we live in a coal mine area and then a layer of sharp sand till the bed was filled .

So three days before the big off on holiday day I struggled and turned over the contents of the top 12 inches of each bed , smoothed it out then made a sowing / planting guage from a 34 inch length of 2 inch aluminium angle one side marked off every three inches with a 3 mm hole driled at each mark then a5 mm hole drilled every 6 inches so I can get a simple marking device . The other side has been done in 4 inch graduations and then a bigger hole made every 8 inches.

Because every brick in the soldier course at the top of the beds is three inches plus a 1/2 inch mortar joint its easy to space things out when sowing or transplanting things out. I don't need to worry about intricate criss crosses of wood or line to get the grids or positions needed.

I just press the inverted ally angle into the soil at the right row spacing and then sow at the correct hole indicated on my scale.

Here are some pictures of how it looked a few days ago .. I chanced my luck with almost all the sowings for it was so late in the season. You can see I do have a green house but it took a while for me to build the heated mist propagation bed and get the five catering trollies on wheels that I'm using for mobile greenhouse staging.

I've also set the green house up with drip watering heads on battery operated on off timers.

We've had a few things out the green house like aubergenes , capsicums , strawberries and tomatoes out of it , but the most important thing was some late lettuce for out door finishing and some extra brassicas to replace those that the caterpillairs scoffed whilst we were away on holiday.

Next year it will be a working plant raising setup with a few tender indoor veg & strawberries again .

I'll also propagate those small chamomile plants for the lawn for they run out small creepers and do not flower or seed. One of those raised beds have my " breeding / host stock of the chamomile plants.











































Last edited by plantoid on 11/9/2011, 4:51 pm; edited 6 times in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  southern gardener on 11/9/2011, 5:31 pm

beautiful!! everything looks nice and healthy too flower

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 11/10/2011, 5:47 pm

The plant spacings are a bit cramped , the carrots were far too crowded . ( The reason I searched for SFG sowing /planting tables )

Next year at sowing time for carrots& other seeds I'll be putting a tiny spot of water based glue non fungicidal on a small square of kitchen roll tisue paper and run the seeds over it in the hope a single seed will stick to the glue or I'll make a vacuum individual seed picker and do it that way . It shouldn't take too long to do say 20 carrots at a time and then station sow them the next day in a small 4 inch deep dibbered cone shaped hole filled with sand . I've done this sort station sowing before but not in such small quantities.

The best thing of the station sowing seeds in sand filled dibbered holes is that you have a clear target to aim for when sowing the seed .

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  quiltbea on 11/10/2011, 10:18 pm

I envy you your lovely tall beds. Just the perfect setting for someone with back troubles. I could use those heights myself sometimes.

Love your garden.

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 11/11/2011, 10:47 am

Thankyou for your kind words , it is all slowly starting to come round .

This afternoon I spent a few minutes at the beds , weeded out a few airborne self set weeds .

Harvested the last three purple turnips , harvested seven over crowded late planted green sprouting broccoli plants and dug out a couple of pounds of jerusalem artichokes for our evening meal of the same plus a smal trio of individual pies of chicken chunks , broccoli & blue danish cheese in small sealed pastry cases 9 one for each of us).

Where the gaps /spaces appeared and it was big enough I've bunged in a bucket of well matured compost and a bucket of well rotted stable & other farmyard manure then topped up the half of the 9 foot square beds with our local topsoil . Then I planted in a few blocks of Pak Choi aka. Chinese cabbage ( ? ) which are from two sowings of 10 seeds each that were done three weeks apart

All the beds have settled down after the initial fill up of July , some of which were also far short of where they should have been filled to . It took me 20 minutes to just do the one half bed ..it worked out as a 2 inch layer of combined compost and manure then four inches of top soil.

I reckon the topping up using soil will be an ongoing exercise for at least the next eight months or so till everything is honkey dory to within three inches of the top nof each bed.



The front gardens will end up having the same done when they are finally built ...... the builders failed to turn up today without teling me anything as it is has been peeing it down sideways with heavy rain almost all day since 06.00 hrs .

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 1/16/2012, 7:16 pm

For the last few months I've been stockpiling all sorts of manures with straw, pulp wood . shavings etc etc.

I've also struggled and hauled just over 4 cubic yards of well rotted stable muck , then slowly dug the stable muck into the new lawn areas .
It's been really hard for me .. My spade that was specially made for me & my disabilities , is 30 years old ( March 2012 ) it's made out of a five foot six long traditional waisted English ash pitchfork shaft & a ladies small 6 inch border spade .
It's now worn down to a spade of about four inches wide by five inches deep in places as it's worn down to 4 3/4 on the left edge. Yet all the new lawns are now dug down to 18 inches deep de stoned etc. and heavily manured.

I got a very welcome phone call last night " Dave ...your leaf compost will be with you tomorrow ". I spent a restless night just wondering how much of a real leaf compost I was going to get , for the local equivalent of 9 inches of friable top soil for the gardens has turned out to give me nearly four cubic metres of brickbats , concrete rubble and broken stones above 1 & 1/2 inch across .
Well at long last the load of leaf compost arrived this afternoon , it is the real
Mc Coy ....... I couldn't believe my eyes .







It has been taken from a 1,000 cubic yard heap that's been standing there for years , it originally came from an area of land that held an ancient forest which was scraped clean to get to the open cast coalmine under it's four foot depth and several yards of glacial clays.

Look in the beds and in my hand it's very honest black gold , worth thousands of $$$$ in the right market , I got it for £35 sterling for two tons , another two tons are arriving tomorrow to fill the remaining front beds and get the change over from earth to Mel's mix in the rear 12 raised beds.

The front beds are 36 inches deep .... there are water drainage holes in the bottom of all the bed walls , so far there is base layer of 6 inches of broken rubble in the bottom of each bed to provide drainage , on top is 8 inches of well rotted horse manure , then 15 inches of the leaf mould .

The vermiculite and properly composted manures should be mixed in early next week then it's bulb planting time unless we get the snow.

I still cannot believe the sheer luck of getting the leaf mould ... the guy who sold it to me knows what it's worth & said none of the locals want it " it's not real soil " to them . Very Happy Very Happy


Last edited by plantoid on 1/16/2012, 7:40 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  staf74 on 1/16/2012, 7:22 pm

I still cannot believe the sheer luck of getting the leaf mould ... the
guy who sold it to me knows what it's worth & said none of the
locals want it " it's not real soil " to them . Very Happy Very Happy

What an absolute STEAL Plantoid. That stuff looks awesome. I could almost take a mud bath in one of those beds you have and wallow in those nutrients. I'd probably grow a few inches myself......

Great job mate (or should I say Boyo Wink ?)

SSoooooo Jealous Very Happy

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  GWN on 1/16/2012, 7:30 pm

black GOLD texas tea.......

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 1/16/2012, 7:38 pm

@staf74 wrote:
I still cannot believe the sheer luck of getting the leaf mould ... the
guy who sold it to me knows what it's worth & said none of the
locals want it " it's not real soil " to them . Very Happy Very Happy

What an absolute STEAL Plantoid. That stuff looks awesome. I could almost take a mud bath in one of those beds you have and wallow in those nutrients. I'd probably grow a few inches myself......

Great job mate (or should I say Boyo Wink ?)

SSoooooo Jealous Very Happy

Tha best call me " Dave " ... I'm a Yokshireman , I just live here , in any case I only have eight fingers and two thumbs so I can't be Welsh Laughing Wink

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  camprn on 1/16/2012, 7:54 pm

Beautiful! Are you going to be able to find someone to make you a new spade? Nice greenhouse too!

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 1/16/2012, 8:13 pm

@camprn wrote:Beautiful! Are you going to be able to find someone to make you a new spade? Nice greenhouse too!

No I'll buy a new lightweight ladies stainless steel border spade and a new pitch fork shaft then drill out the shaft rivet from the spade then carefully take the spade shaft out , make the pitch fork spigot to suit the spade , set them up drill the rivet hole and re rivet them together .
It's the cheapest way , getting another bespoke spade made would be very expensive very , I'd not get the use /values worth out of it as all my hard working days are over as such .
A I'm 61 I reckon the new home made spade will see me turn my toes up in about another 30 years or more with luck & still be almost unused..

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  rod champion on 1/16/2012, 9:46 pm

How much is 35 sterling in US dollars?

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  Chopper on 1/16/2012, 10:20 pm

@rod champion wrote:How much is 35 sterling in US dollars?

At this moment:
35.00 GBP
= 53.7712 USD

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  rod champion on 1/17/2012, 10:49 am

That hardly pays for gas..

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  quiltbea on 1/17/2012, 12:52 pm

Its beautiful. Only a gardener would think that leaf mold is beautiful but its true. What a lucky find for you. Congratulations.

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 1/20/2012, 12:53 pm

Not wanting to brag to much ( honest ) take a peek at the picture .





It has changed from the 3/4 filling with composted leaf mould to something some SFG'ers would eaty their heart out for .
I have been offered around 12 cubic yards of the light olive / brown stuff ....

It's three year old well turned composted horse droppings and steamed wood pulp chips without much hay in it from a livery stable.

I've also made friends of the family who run it .. The boss man is a young retired because he can afford it microbiologist ,he's quite interested in what I'm doing wrt ANSFG .

He might be able to get me some 4 yr old composted turkey droppings & other poultry stuff because his pal has just purchased a farm for his horses and there is a massive pile of it that no one wants .

It certainly looks like I've fallen in it well and truly and come up smelling of violets. Laughing cheers sunny

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  walshevak on 1/20/2012, 5:11 pm



Can't find the green with envy one.

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  newstart on 1/20/2012, 6:04 pm

looks great

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  LittleGardener on 1/20/2012, 6:22 pm

@plantoid wrote:For the last few months I've been stockpiling all sorts of manures with straw, pulp wood shavings etc etc.

at long last the load of leaf compost arrived this afternoon, it is the real
Mc Coy ... I couldn't believe my eyes





it originally came from land that held an ancient forest which was scraped clean to get to the open cast coalmine under it's four foot depth and several yards of glacial clays.

Look in the beds and in my hand it's very honest black gold.

I still cannot believe the sheer luck of getting the leaf mould ... the guy who sold it to me knows what it's worth & said none of the locals want it " it's not real soil " to them . Very Happy
Wow! - what a blessing! how fortunate you are! Congratulations & happy eating Very Happy Very Happy

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  CarolynPhillips on 1/30/2012, 10:23 am

I think it looks fantastic. Love the brick beds.
your leaf compost looks so yummy!!!!
I can't get anything like that around here but need to go out
to the woods outback and get a few buckets of forest topsoil to
mix into my completed compost. (adds mycorrhiza fungi which helps protect against
disease)

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 3/14/2012, 6:31 pm

Yipeeeeeee I've finally made the change over from the soil version of SFG to the ANSFG using the advised MM formula mix of soil less growth medium.

A total of 20 beds total area of 220 sq ft , 120 of which are the veg beds in the rear gardens and the remainder are the flowerbeds on the front garden .



The front beds are 6 inches of rubble 6 inches of neat leaf mould , 6 inches of 4 yr old composted horse muck on wood pulp6 inches of very coarse vermicuite chips then topped up with four different types of purchased composted manures & a sprinkle of fish blood and bone & more leaf mould to bring it all to height .. it took a while to get it all mixed evenly , as soon as we did , we plantesd over 2500 bulbs, corms and tubers .. still a few to go .. things are now breaking out in flower.

I've never seen such vibrant colours or healthy plants in all my life.

The rear gardens took a long time for I had to take out a good 15 inches of earth based soil , which I will spread over the new law areas , bring the beds up to 10 inches to fill using sharp sand and then make my MM up and fill the beds to a depth of 10 inches ... originally I'd thought of 18 inches of MM but the more I read Mels BooK the more I realized that it would only compact at that depth & I'd be wasting my money as there was no way of easily disturbing it at that depth over the years .



They now all have a full fill of 10 inches of MM over a bed of 3 inches of sharp sand over a bed of earth based soil that has 1,5 cubuc feet of well rotted ( not composted ) straw based poultry muck dug in it.

I've transplanted nearly everything that was growing in the earth beds , it seems to have taken with a vengence once it was well watered .

Today I used a simple electric soil probe that has a moisture indicator and a rough PH indicator.. I was much surprised to find that the p H indication is just above neutral & all the beds wether well watered or not yesterday show a nice slightly moist reading .

I had to check it for accuracy / working by pushing the probes in some uncomposted neat horse muck , uncomposted straw & chicken muck and also by a probing into the new lawn area & a few growing plants in pots in the greenhouse.

Everything appears to work and be accurate .. I'm one very happy chappy I can tell you .

I turned over one of the first veg bed I did back in early Novenber , after I'd taken out the dwarf camomile .. I was exceedingly chuffed to find that the sieved leaf mould , composts and vermiculite had all melded nicely to give a very even light weight mixture , This will be my carrot bed methinks for it is just above pH neutral & moist.

Hopefully there'll be some piccies to follow tomorrow


Last edited by plantoid on 3/14/2012, 6:49 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  GWN on 3/14/2012, 6:37 pm

Hopefully there'll be some piccies to follow tomorrow
Whadaya mean "hopefully", after all of that there had BETTER be some picture tomorrow

Happy chappy now there is a good line
congrats plantoid....enjoy

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  plantoid on 3/14/2012, 6:46 pm

Happy chappy not choppy ...... waddayah fink I ham ..... Chinese??

I'm totaly cream crackered .. did a bit more than I should so it was all ready to go .

Tomorrow I start the intensive rototilling of the lawn areas to work in the partially composted horse muck shavings & wood pulp that thas been put in down to a depth of 18 inches over the last year or so.

As it's a blue clay based natural soil it is very acidic. and exceedingly heavy , I'm having to add four x 25 Kg sacks ( 56 pounds ) to the lawn areas to mix with the manure and hopefully start making the clay form crumbs.. Once I get it to that stage I'll be adding a bit of sharp sand and the stuff that came out the old earth raised beds and keep working it to a fine tilth ready for levelling & sowing the grass seed in mid April.

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  GWN on 3/14/2012, 6:52 pm

I went back and fixed it before you posted...... I have one of these computers that seems to think my spelling is poor.

Now don't wear yourself out or anything.....I will sure be looking forward to pictures when things get growing.

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Re: raised beds extra

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/14/2012, 7:24 pm

Hey Plantoid....that looks phenomenal!

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Re: raised beds extra

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