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More on raised beds

posted May 4, 2013, 8:05 AM by James Roe   [ updated May 31, 2013, 6:30 AM ]
What a difference between Spring 2012 and Spring 2013!  During 2012 we had a pretty severe drought.  Now, in 2013, the drought is broken - we are completely soggy.  The wet conditions emphasize the nature of our clay soil  with its underlying heavy clay and frangipane subsoil - it doesn't drain well.  My solution (or attempt at a solution) is to dig drainage ditches and build up raised beds between the ditches.  That's not so complicated, the dirt from the ditches is piled up on the soil between to make the raised bed.  In my case, the topsoil is about 6 inches deep so by digging out ditches 6 inches deep and piling up the soil I get raised beds (of good topsoil) about 8 to 12 inches deep.  I then put liberal coatings of compost (rotted horse manure or aged saw dust) and till it in with my Troy-bilt tiller to prepare beds for intensive plantings.  

The day after putting in the ditches/raised beds shown below we got 2.4 inches of rain - very nice.  Even though the ditches held water for a day or so, the part of the beds above the waterline were draining well so that the root zone would not be flooded for long.