First Raised Bed Installed in Community Garden

posted May 31, 2013, 7:07 AM by James Roe
This Spring of 2013 has been exceptionally wet - especially compared to the drought of 2012.  The community garden consists of the typically heavy clay soil of our region that doesn't drain nor dry out well.  One way to work with this is to build raised beds.  This is somewhat labor intensive but is a permanent solution that should be viewed as a capital  investment.  The bed(s) is constructed by tilling up the soil on either side of the proposed bed, then scooping out ditches on either side by piling the dirt from the ditches onto the middle.  The ditches are about 6 inches deep so the bed is raised by the same 6 inches (and it is all top soil) but the change in height is a full 12 inches for the drainage.

The other, very important, technique to aid in the drainage is to add lots of organic material.  In this case we spread the old sawdust mentioned in an earlier post which was tilled and mixed thoroughly into the soil prior to planting.  In subsequent seasons it will be relatively easy to add more organic material to the raised beds so that all the work is concentrated on the plant growing areas.

This particular bed was planted to a row of potatoes down the middle which was flanked on both sides with double rows of onion sets.  These will be harvested sometime in the summer and the bed will be planted to a fall crop (probably turnips).