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Garden > Raised bed Gardeners?

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message 1: by Judy, Moderator (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 42 comments Mod
I've really fallen for raised bed gardening - there are so many ways to reuse and save money, time with this method. I compost my kitchen scraps, newspapers and corrugated cardboard. Putting layers of cardboard or newspapers beneath the raised cuts down weeding.

I'd recommend two books for anyone interested in trying this method: John Jeavons classic "How to Grow More Vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine" (Yes, that entire two lines is the title! The second is a little simpler but not as detailed and that is "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza. Both are on the group bookshelf.


message 2: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 9 comments That John Jeavons book looks interesting.How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine How to Grow More Vegetables And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons
Last year we did create a raised bed and planted our first ever vegetable patch. The most successful were the lettuces...I grew a variety and picked leaves frequently for salads, leaving the plants to grow more. The other vegetables were not so successful. The broccoli and cauliflower went straight to seed (I think some late warm weather confused them). We gave up on trying to grow things in the summer, too hot, too dry, but as it's almost winter here now, I guess it's time to plant some lettuce again. We got a little rain yesterday, about the fourth time this year. Temperatures still pretty warm 26 C (about 78 F)...even though we're only a few weeks from 'winter'.


message 3: by Judy, Moderator (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 42 comments Mod
You know, I think the soil in raised beds gets warmer than regular dirt, especially if you do the "lasagna gardening" variety where it is essentially making compost as the plant grows. Here in "cold" Michigan it is an excellent method. However, in warmer climates such as Australia, I can certainly see how it may not be the best method.

I'm glad your lettuce does well though! You know, today was the first day I could get out and work in the garden - its been so cold and rainy. I'm making a new potato bed. It was great to see the sunshine again, I almost forgot what it looked like!


message 4: by Gene (new)

Gene | 2 comments I have two raise bed gardens along a south wall of the house. The soil does seem to stay warmer, and the plants tend to survive frosts better than the plants that are in regular dirt.

Of course, if your winter is 25 C then you might need an air conditioner more than a garden. Still good luck with the lettuces. Have you experimented with chard, bok choy, mesculin, and other leaf crops? I'm trying a lot of variety this year to see what does well here.


message 5: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 9 comments Actually...I forgot to mention the bok choy..we did have some success with those. And basil and cherry tomatoes. We are only about a mile from the coast (Indian Ocean), where the water temperature is still about 22 C, so frost is not a problem...this is why I grow lettuce all winter, and nothing at all in summer.


message 6: by Gene (new)

Gene | 2 comments Got a chance to harvest mint this weekend. Found out it can be dried in the microwave. Just microwave it on high for a minute at a time. When the leaves begin to dry, remove them from the stalks. You can then finish drying the leaves in the oven or by another method.


message 7: by Judy, Moderator (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 42 comments Mod
I didn't realize the mint produced that early. I'm going to try to raise some peppermint this year. They say it is hard to start from seed, so will be an adventure.

Great idea. Quick and easy. Drying in a food dryer (with a temp control) or in the oven at a temp less than ?125? degrees will preserve more of the nutrients and beneficial properties of the mint if you are interested in that.


message 8: by Judy, Moderator (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 42 comments Mod
We were able to get some great compost delivered, cheaper and "green", through the city of Jackson. They recycle the leaves and grass clippings they pick up and then sell it or give it away (to city residents. We were able to get 5 square yards delivered. You might check out and see if your city offers this. Be careful though because some cities add biosolids from waste treatment plants which can contain harmful substances such as the toxic residue that is strained out when they process the sewage ie RXs, chemicals, anything that is flushed down a toilet. But if your city doesn't, its a great fertilizer for pennies on the dollar.


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