New Garden Beds (inspired by Mark)

DThille

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Oct 12, 2020
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As I mentioned in my introduction, we discovered Self Sufficient Me on YouTube earlier this year after watching Sunday mass there. We really liked the raised beds Mark uses and one day I decided to search "raised garden beds Canada" and found something very much like what Mark uses. So, we ordered a pair and they arrived in early October. Here is a pictorial of them and getting them set up and filled using a Hugelkultur style. This is at our inner city property (40' by 120' lot in a neighbourhood of mature trees). Happily (?), at our acreage, we have had enough trees go down and we don't spend enough time out there to burn it all, so we had plenty of wood to start things off.

We have a pile of soil at the country place as well...it was scraped off prior to putting in a pad for a new shop years ago. It isn't the greatest as it's from a yard site, so is somewhat stony, but some of the stones we pulled out to make a path between the two beds. The logs are primarily ash and Russian olive. The branches after are from our cherry and some maple that was overgrowing the yard. Following that, we did add unfinished compost, which did a good job of increasing capacity in our composters. As I went back to the country for another load of soil, She Who Must Be Obeyed did some raking and added the leaves into the mix. After all this, I got in touch with a neighbour in the country who raises animals about manure. They just spread on the fields, so in her words, we could have fresh (not a good idea in the city) or ancient. We got some of the ancient from a pile near an old yard site they own. As a bonus, when we pulled into that yard, we spooked up 9 whitetail deer that were feeding on spilled grain at the hopper bins they have there. We got it all done before the first snow later that week (this was about 3 weeks ago).

The beds are 36" by 96" by 36" high. In hindsight, I should have ordered the next lower size (I believe 32")...we are both about 5'9", so a slightly lower bed would be OK.

I hope the images aren't too large for the forum software. They're all edited down, but still reasonably large...I didn't post all the images (photo credits for most of the yard photos to my daughter, who did help out as well...I took the photo on the Kubota).
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Vicky

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oh they look great Derek, and WOW they are BIG!! I've been doing the same thing but on a much smaller scale and have noticed how much the beds settle and in a short space of time, so I make sure to fill them to the brim nowadays before I plant into them, then, after they have settled, it is more like what you have in the last picture - except with plants in them :) Otherwise, I end up with three quarter filled containers!! :oops:
How long will you wait to plant into them? are you going with seed raising or just buying seedlings?
Is that your neighbours house right next to yours? well, that is close!!
Do you have a cellar, I saw very low windows in one of the pictures.
 

DThille

Member
Oct 12, 2020
18
12
16
Climate
Cold, Cool, Mountains, or Artic
oh they look great Derek, and WOW they are BIG!! I've been doing the same thing but on a much smaller scale and have noticed how much the beds settle and in a short space of time, so I make sure to fill them to the brim nowadays before I plant into them, then, after they have settled, it is more like what you have in the last picture - except with plants in them :) Otherwise, I end up with three quarter filled containers!! :oops:
How long will you wait to plant into them? are you going with seed raising or just buying seedlings?
Is that your neighbours house right next to yours? well, that is close!!
Do you have a cellar, I saw very low windows in one of the pictures.
Thanks Vicky. Sorry for the late response...I haven’t ingrained the habit of coming here more regularly.

It’s amazing how you can measure things and yet not fully size things up until you see it in person.

Yes, we do expect things to settle. Seeing as we have a pile of soil available to us as well as well rotted cattle manure, it’s easy enough to top up. We are settling into our winter season and have a bit of snow now. We wanted to ensure we got them set up before the cold weather. This way we can start planting in spring (realistically mid to late May here). We haven’t created a plan for this year, but we’ve normally done a mix of direct sowing and planting out seedlings. We don’t have great window location / setup for starting seedlings ourselves, so for tomatoes, peppers, and most herbs we will typically purchase started from a local seed outfit (T&T Seeds - their new catalogue recently came out and is on their web site at T&T Seeds). That way we know the plants are well-suited for our growing conditions.

Yes, houses are close here...we are in an old neighbourhood in Winnipeg - our lot is 40’ by 120’ and we have something like 12’ (3-4m) between houses. Being a mature neighbourhood with lots of mature trees, sunshine on the ground is precious. I’m not sure if cellar is just a subtle language difference, but we do have a basement, as does most housing construction on the Canadian prairies. Our house has property tax records to 1903 and is built on a stone foundation. It’s a bit of a pain as there is a regular need for re-pointing the mortar. I’m not sure when things switched over but by the 1960s, most foundations would be of concrete.

The basement remains quite cool overall, so isn’t bad for storing vegetables...we can’t quite call it a root cellar, but we do utilize it a fair bit as pantry space and the furnace, water heater, and laundry room is down there.
 
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