There were pros and cons to my quick raised beds but overall they are a success. I had first put down a layer of cardboard, surrounded it with logs, then put in thick slabs of straw, then compost, then organic gardening soil. The whole thing cost about twelve bucks.
At the beginning I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough gardening soil but was tapped out of funds so couldn’t get more. It took a lot longer to water because I think too much sand (we have sandy soil) got into my compost. Don’t forget to check your beds after watering. It should be wet to your second knuckle. Beds can be deceiving, they look wet, but aren’t! I will add more soil this fall or next spring to build up the bed.
The second issue was an obvious one, but I didn’t think about it. Some of the corn has to be staked up with re bar because the roots can’t get through the cardboard. The beds aren’t that deep and the straw takes up most of the space. So, some of the deeper reaching plants can’t get enough space and nutrients. They are doing fine now though.
The weeds certainly found their way through the cardboard but not nearly as bad as in the regular beds. I have had a much easier season this year with much less work keeping the beds clear of weeds.
My yard looks pretty and more organized with the makeshift beds. Doug can mow easier around them. It’s been so incredibly hot and dry here that the grass all died early in the season, but at least the weeds are green! Because of the early heat, my spring crops came up (if they came up) and promptly died or went to seed. I will be planting the same crops today as fall crops and hoping for better luck. I need radishes!
This fall I will build more of these beds and let them sit for the winter before planting in them. How quickly logs (that I can still use in the wood stove this winter) and railroad ties make creative beds. I like the look of them. The bark gently peeling off, the varying colors, the moist soil within.
The lizards dart here and there, drinking water from small leaves. The birds come for their seeds. And the cooler morning breeze rustles the sunflowers into dance. I hope you are all enjoying your gardens. How I love summer!