New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

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New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:19 am

25 September 2008 New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet
http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?TFABK A new garden bed 24 feet by 8 feet

A new garden bed (24 feet by 8 feet) was made on the 24 and 25 of September 2008. The procedure was; Remove the sod, hand spade the soil, rototill the large spaded chunks, wood chips added for fiber and rototilled in, sod put through a chipper shredder to kill the grass roots and blown back onto the bed and worked in, a layer of vegetative compost added and mixed with the underlying soil. Total time about 12 hours of labour.

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Fran on Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:50 pm

Interesting - it's not usual here in Australia to dig wood chips into the soil - takes a very long time to break down and would be competing with plants for nitrogen wouldn't it.

Must work for you though obviously - your garden beds are so productive - amazing the work you put into it.
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:32 pm

Fran wrote:Interesting - it's not usual here in Australia to dig wood chips into the soil - takes a very long time to break down and would be competing with plants for nitrogen wouldn't it.

Must work for you though obviously - your garden beds are so productive - amazing the work you put into it.

Wood chips are a bit controversial. My view is the chips are available, and anything to aerate the soil, and reduce compacting, and allowing water to penetrate to the roots is a plus. The chips decompose rapidly and in less than a year few chips can be found. The area is not saturated with chips, but if the chips are composted a bit, I have no scruples about using them. Until there is sufficient evidence that worked in chips are harmful, I will continue using them.

Competing for nitrogen in my case seems not to be an issue. I do add the vegetative compost, and am of the view that there must be plentiful nitrogen present, since compared to other places where I have gardened some of my present plants are bigger than life. If in doubt about nitrogen a bit of urea worked into the soil in the Spring will probably correct any shortfall.

The wood chips as mulch are totally beneficial, and reduce watering requirements considerably. That is really my main use of chips.

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:13 pm

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?TNKZN 26 September 2008 Completing New Garden Bed
Mini ties have been installed to have support walls for the raised bed. Total time one hour.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?IWBAU Summary: Making a new garden bed.

The tarp for killing grass can save a lot of work, since if the sod is killed it can be spaded under. Two weeks would seem to be sufficient time to achieve this aim. But make sure the cover is light proof.The sod in the area, which had wood chips on the tarp, was completely killed; and the area under the killed grass had many earth worms present.

This new area will probably become a vegetable plot. I want corn next year, since the farming industry and the researchers have completely gutted corn. It is lousy in taste, and the cobs are always too mature. It would make pig food, not human.


Last edited by Durgan on Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:39 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  siri on Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:56 am

Do you put your wood chips through the mulcher to fine them down? I seem to remember you mentioned this elsewhere. That would make them break down quicker for sure. Here, wood chips are generally used as a surface mulch and I find they tend to be water repellant and stop a lot of the soaking in. I prefer to use pinebark fines, or straw as top mulch. Eucymulch is often available for the price of a few beers, direct from the power line guys when they are pruning the trees and running them through the big mulcher. I use the mulch as path topping between my beds, and it takes around 4 to 5 years to become compost, then I add it to the soil, and put down more path topping.
What type of trees do your wood chips come from predominantly? Are they soft wood or hardwood? I imagine this would make some sort of difference too.
Sweet corn, home grown is a wonderful treat that we look forward to every year. I am planning on planting some this week. It is best picked and cooked almost immediately, so anything bought from a supermarket or green grocers is already well behind in quality, just from sitting on the shelf. What variety do you plan to grow?
Cheers, Jan
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:33 am

siri wrote:Do you put your wood chips through the mulcher to fine them down? I seem to remember you mentioned this elsewhere. That would make them break down quicker for sure. Here, wood chips are generally used as a surface mulch and I find they tend to be water repellant and stop a lot of the soaking in. I prefer to use pinebark fines, or straw as top mulch. Eucymulch is often available for the price of a few beers, direct from the power line guys when they are pruning the trees and running them through the big mulcher. I use the mulch as path topping between my beds, and it takes around 4 to 5 years to become compost, then I add it to the soil, and put down more path topping.
What type of trees do your wood chips come from predominantly? Are they soft wood or hardwood? I imagine this would make some sort of difference too.
Sweet corn, home grown is a wonderful treat that we look forward to every year. I am planning on planting some this week. It is best picked and cooked almost immediately, so anything bought from a supermarket or green grocers is already well behind in quality, just from sitting on the shelf. What variety do you plan to grow?
Cheers, Jan

Most of the wood chips are hardwood and softwood. I try to avoid the evergreens due to making the soil acidic. My view is the chips make channels in the soil if applied in reasonable quantities. The chips are good for surface mulch, but do disappear rather quickly. They stay in place unlike straw, and straw disappears very quickly. Putting the wood chips through the Chipper/Shredder doesn't reduce the size to any degree, so they are used as it, and the chips are a reasonable size, and available free of charge, except I have to pick them up.

Mulch sure cuts down on water requirements, as does close row spacing, which is possible in a home garden, since the canopy of the plants shades the ground, yet allowing sufficient sun for growth, and picking small quantities is not too difficult. For increasing production the plants are well spaced in the rows.

The sweet corn of today is modified to slow down the conversion of sugar to starch, so the product has a long shelf life. There is little difference between the one day old corn and a week old. It walks like a duck,quacks like a duck but isn't corn as I use to know it.

At one time you got the water boiling then ran out to pick your corn. The corn had flavour and texture and was pleasure to eat.

I plan on growing Seneca Chief, and another called Incredible, for which I have to order the seeds. I have seeds for Seneca Chief, which is an old hybrid not modified. With the Incredible, I am taking another persons recommendation, since I have no experience with this variety.

Many local growers have disappeared, since they cannot compete with the modified corn, and a generation has grown up without ever tasting good corn, so don't know how corn should taste.

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  siri on Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:16 am

The lost seed company in Australia has heritage corn. I might buy some and try it out this year. I bought an F1 hybrid because of the time to harvest, but I can grow 2 different varieties as I have 2 gardens.
Our eucalypts are evergreen, and I believe they would acidify the soil. You say your wood chips as topping disappear quickly and the straw very quickly. I think it is highly likely that your soil is a lot more active than most aus soils. Wood chips here would sit on the ground for a few years, unless completely shredded. Shredded straw wouldn't last long, but pea straw last 18 months to 2 years on some beds, and less on others. I think the difference would be the amount of life in the soil. On my most improved beds here, the worms and microbes would take the straw in more quickly.
What experience do others have? I think there is a lot to be learned from how people garden in other countries.
Cheers, Jan
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Fran on Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:16 am

Just realized we are discussing two different things Embarassed I was thinking of bark chip not the more fibrous wood chip. Up this way if you order wood chip chances are it's actually bark chip. Had some delivered when I was planting my native garden years ago - a mountain of it that I never used - water repellent slater food LOL Didn't even use it to mulch all the trees I planted. When you dig bark chip into heavy clay it sticks fast like glue - hate the stuff. Wouldn't use it on the trees I planted because it was water repellent - used dry manure and grass instead.

Fibrous wood chip of the sort you're talking about would definitely break down fast, Durgan. I used fibrous garden waste on my mother's sandy garden as mulch and it broke down in months - the sand swallowed it whole LOL

Does the freeze/thaw cycle have an impact on soil activity?
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:23 pm

Fran wrote:
Does the freeze/thaw cycle have an impact on soil activity?

I imagine with the deep freeze nothing beneficial happens with the soil. The cold climate does have some benefits, seldom do plants invade with rare exceptions, and some insects may a rough time surviving, but of course not all.

You comment about bark is well taken, and bark is rare in the stuff I pick up,and avoid it when possible. Often the chips are steaming with bacterial activity when I load my half yard. This I prefer. The price is right, and chips are readily available all year around. I am getting my supply for use in 2009.

I do use my own compost (spent garden vegetative waste), but it only amounts to about 5 yards of material for the whole year. In the Spring during May, I get half a yard of vegetative compost daily from the City. This stuff seems to be excellent for my vegetable garden. I put in about 12 yards each Spring. This stuff disappears quickly also, since the depth of the garden remains about the same during the last five years, since I owned the property. The compost does break up the clay considerably. I don't use any pellet fertilizer.

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Lucky1 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:49 am

drool................. just a question.... in some photos were the lawn is rolled up......did the green thing on the left do that???
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:39 pm

Lucky1 wrote:drool................. just a question.... in some photos were the lawn is rolled up......did the green thing on the left do that???

Yes. The kick type sod cutter produces perfect sod for use elsewhere if necessary. One can adjust the blade depth to about four or five inches, but I set it to just below the grass root depth.

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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Lucky1 on Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:42 am

Durgan wrote:
Lucky1 wrote:drool................. just a question.... in some photos were the lawn is rolled up......did the green thing on the left do that???

Yes. The kick type sod cutter produces perfect sod for use elsewhere if necessary. One can adjust the blade depth to about four or five inches, but I set it to just below the grass root depth.

Is it easy on your back when using it??? I am about to cut back my lawn some.... by using no-dig garden system.

Never seen your lawn remover before. Learnt something new.
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Re: New Garden Bed 24 by 8 feet- Method

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:11 am

Lucky1 wrote:[quote="
Is it easy on your back when using it??? I am about to cut back my lawn some.... by using no-dig garden system.

Never seen your lawn remover before. Learnt something new.

If you have ever removed sod on you knees with a shovel you can appreciate just how difficult the job is in practice, particularly if the area is relatively large. There are power driven mechanical sod removers, but for a small home gardener this is not usually an option. The kick type sod tool is an real improvement over the shovel, but falls short of the mechanical machines.

If the soil is wet with each kick the device advances about a foot or more, at a perfect depth. If the soil is dry the advance is only inches, so choose the appropriate time to operate the device. There is no strain on the back, but the leg muscle sometimes tightens up from the unaccustomed exercise in the night while sleeping.

I didn't know such a device existed until about four years ago, after renting one. I immediately bought one, and use it often for clearing sod for a new bed,or planting trees and shrubs. I had to order off the Internet from the USA, since I have never seen one in stores in Canada.

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