17 August 2008

New Raised Beds, A Trio

The P.O.s built several raised beds, which is one of the things that attracted us to the house. But wood only lasts so long in contact with the soil, and the last of the old raised beds decided to give up the ghost this summer. Boards rotted, buckled, and came unscrewed. The whole thing was a dirt avalanche waiting to happen. One big rain, and I'm afraid it would've been all over (and I'm still waiting for rain, dammit!).

This weekend, John and I tore out the old raised bed, which was 12' x 4' and installed to new beds, both 4' x 5'. I like the new size. It seems more manageable and makes a nice little visual trio with our other relatively new raised bed (installed last year), which is the original 12' x 4' size. We use untreated pine, which I know is not going to last forever, but I'm at peace with that. Cedar is too expensive. Plus, I imagine it would only last a year or two longer. I certainly don't ever want to use treated wood (e.g. Yellawood) or railroad ties. I just don't want the chemicals leaching up into the veggies that I put into my body. It's a trade off.

Here they are (notice we managed to save one kale):

My plan is to use one of the new smaller beds for more perennial-ish plants, like parsely, fennel, and Mexican mint marigold--things that I don't have to rotate out with the seasons. I may also sprinkle that bed with some annuals, like cilantro. The other smaller bed will be used for cooler season crops in the winter. Last year, in that same corner, I grew collards, broccoli and kale. Should be perfect for that again.

Now, I just need to buy some straw and get some compost in there for fall veggie planting.


Diana said...

Love the raised beds. They look so neat and orderly - ready and waiting for all your hopes and dreams to be buried within. Good luck!

Bonnie said...

How did you replace the wood without losing all of the dirt? I have a replacement project coming up in my near future.

Lee said...

Bonnie: So, one of the great benefits of it being so dry this summer is that the soil did not fall when we removed the boards. I couldn't believe it! I was prepared to have to dig it all out and replace it, but we peeled a board away and the soil didn't move, so we just went with it. It stayed intact through the entire removal and redo. Crazy.