Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Converting raised beds to a hybrid Back to Eden Beds

Just a quick note... I just started converting some of my raised garden beds to a hybrid type Back to Eden bed.  So here is what I did...

My raised garden beds are 11.5 - 12 inches tall.  I decided that I really want to go all BTE garden beds, but didn't want to rip out my existing raised beds... At least not yet! :-D  So I decided to try a hybrid this year.  I am digging out the top 4-5 inches of bed soil in the raised beds to make room for the wood chips.  This still leaves 6-7 inches of soil in the beds and of course the plants can dig down into the dirt below the beds....  I started with my first bed and it looks like it should work OK as an experiment with the raised beds this year.  We will see how it goes with plants like my Kale, Collards, Chard and other early plants. 

So if your already gardening and have raised beds and are toying with ripping out your raised beds give this at try... It cannot hurt and it allows you to save some work this year as your experiment with BTE gardening methods.  I don't know about you, but my free time is in short supply so anything that will allow me to leverage something I have instead of creating a lot more work is great.

In a side note, I spent some time ripping out and removing my hugleculture bed that I had placed in a poor location a few years ago.  That is finally all moved out and I have 2 nice looking BTE garden beds in the place where the one large bed was.  I think this will be a more productive use of the space right outside of the back door....  The hugleculture bed was a great success and it has been relocated to a further out zone away from the house and will be much larger.  That will be a fall and winter project at this rate... but we will see what happens.

So give a hybrid raised bed a try... Make sure you give yourself enough depth for the wood chips, and remember they will settle so you will want a little more than you think in the bed to allow for that settling.  We are looking for a finished depth of about 4 inches of chips.  Of course don't forget to put some nitrogen on the top on a regular interval so that the chips start to decompose and feed your beds! 

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