It's been a beautiful weekend here in the UK, our first proper spring weekend. My first proper gardening weekend too. I've even roped in my other half as well, and that's no mean feat. Lots of you have commented about my raised beds. They are made from galvanised steel, and are produced by an Australian company Birdie. They look handsome don't they. I'm hoping they last for quite a few years as the aren't cheap, they are now £100 each, these were a bit cheaper than that, thank goodness. I purchased them from Sutton Seeds, but I do know that you can get them from other suppliers.
I thought I would share with you how I've filled them, using the Lasagne method, or No Dig method. I was very pleased with how well the beds did last year. You can see from the first photo that the contents of the beds do settle somewhat in their first year, so will need topping up again before planting. This winter I'm thinking of sowing some green manure in the beds, to increase the fertility.
Lasagne Gardening is all about building the beds up in lots of thin layers of nutrients, to feed the plants. You don't have to dig the beds, just put a new layer or two on, each year, to keep the soil healthy. The photos above show the stages I went through to fill mine up.
1. It's important, if you are putting your bed onto grass, to put a thick layer of cardboard on first. This kills the grass, and stops weeds coming through. Give this a really good soaking, that will then encourage worms to come up. It's best to cut the grass first but I couldn't be bothered!
2. Next a layer of newspaper, and another good soaking.
3. Then a layer of straw.
4. Now for the fun bit. I emptied out one of my compost bins...slimy yucky mess! I was a bit distressed at this point as there was loads of slugs in the compost. I tried killing them but it was a bit of a pointless task. I think I'm going to have to put some beer traps in the beds this summer!
5. Another layer of newspaper...this was just to make it look neat, I know crazy, but that's just how my mind works.
6. I then popped a layer of top soil on, left over from our last lot of garden works.
7. Finally I've put some shop bought compost on, if I hadn't used my own compost up, then I would have used that instead. I'm hoping next year I will just put a few inches of well rotted home compost on all the beds.
8. Now it's ready for planting.
Talking of compost, mine was a yucky, gooey mess. I try my best to put equal layers of green and brown waste in. I noticed that there were very few worms in it, not healthy at all. Probably because they are new compost bins, although I had put some from our old bin into the bottom, as a starter. After doing a bit of research I've ordered some compost worms from eBay. I can't believe a girl who is afraid of worms is buying worms...think my husband will have to be the one to put them in the compost bin though ;) I will let you know how it goes!
The good thing about this type of gardening is you can use up all sorts. Layers of bark chipings, coffee grinds, clothes even, if they are just natural fabrics. Great for recycling. You just have to alternate the brown and green layers, to balance out the nutrients...and that's as scientific as I get!
We've also put one of the arches up. This is one of a pair I've got from Agriframes. They weren't cheap, but I liked how sturdy they are. The instructions were pretty poor, and they are a fiddle to put together, when will manufactures learn to make instructions clear? Eventually they will have roses growing up them, but maybe beans/pumpkins this year, until the roses get going.
And that's it, a good weekends work...we also fitted in a garden centre visit. I've got lots of seeds to sow, and some raspberry canes too. My little greenhouse has been cleared out to accommodate all those new plants. Gosh, I do love to garden!
Amanda :) xxx
(This is NOT a sponsored post).
Oh and Otto, most helpful...running off with essential screws, and getting wet with the hose pipe!