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bad raised beds/bought soil  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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In my temperate climate with dry summers/autumns, raised beds are often a real nightmare.
I dug out a massive amount of dusty, dead commercial 'soil' from a few raised beds at a community centre today.
I'd started a lot of lupins in there, so hopefully they add something, but I kind of doubt it.

It was also a total pain finding a place to stash the 'soil' for a couple of weeks till we spread it on some unsuspecting lawn...
Pallets don't generally look very classy, but they're really useful

It's abit depressing undoing someone's hard work, but I had to get down to the native clay soil!
I found several enormous earthworms when I dug over the clay.
Quite amazing-they must be incredibly ...strong...to work that really compacted clay, under a foot and a half of 'soil'.
That's blood and bone on there. I'll add a ton of compost and plant a daikon/lupin/phacelia cover crop.
The top layer of 'raised bed' wood will come off.


I seem to whinge about raised beds and commercial soil a bit, so why not do it internationally!

 
Posts: 1442
Location: Fennville MI
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I am missing something. Why are you removing this "commercial soil" from the beds, rather than working with it?
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Peter Ellis wrote:I am missing something. Why are you removing this "commercial soil" from the beds, rather than working with it?

Peter, re my post

Leila Rich wrote:In my temperate climate with dry summers/autumns, raised beds are often a real nightmare

Raising gardens above the native soil is not generally a good idea round here:
introducing a third dimension (aka 'up') leads to major irrigation issues and cooked roots.
As it's relatively warm in the winter, there's no need for raised bed's soil-warming properties.
So combined with 'soil' that looks like seed-starting mix with bonus dust, it needed to go.

Leila Rich wrote:get down to the native clay soil... I'll add a ton of compost..


I could fiddle with the commercial 'soil' for years if it was at my own place and I was keen.
It's at a community centre though, where it's not practical/desirable to experiment.
I had to move the 'soil' because of the raised bed thing, and I have good clay actual soil already underneath

So I guess my main whine is that some new gardeners hear/read about the awesomness of raised beds everywhere,
but don't realise it's a way of gardening that works very well in some climates, but not where I am.
I made the same mistake when I was a new gardener, and now my gardens are practically below soil-level.
Sometimes it feels like there should be a disclaimer whenever raised beds are mentioned!
 
Leila Rich
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Oh, and a friend who's into the more 'purple' end of the permie spectrum asked if she could do a 'pendulum test' to compare energy in the soils.
Why not.
If it doesn't do what I think it should, I'll say "I never believed in that stuff anyway".
If it does, I'll say "cool", and keep digging
She looped a hair through her wedding band (I think the ring's supposed to be gold) and held it over the commercial soil, then native clay.
From what I understand, if the ring makes a weak anticlockwise circle, the energy is low. Strong clockwise, high.
Well, pathetic left-hand swinging over the 'soil' and lots of wild clockwise action over the clay.
I said "cool", and kept digging...

 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Leila Rich wrote: So I guess my main whine is that some new gardeners hear/read about the awesomness of raised beds everywhere, but don't realise it's a way of gardening that works very well in some climates, but not where I am. I made the same mistake when I was a new gardener, and now my gardens are practically below soil-level. Sometimes it feels like there should be a disclaimer whenever raised beds are mentioned!



This. Exactly!!

Raised beds = DEATH in the hot drylands and a MASSIVE waste of water. And yet people continue to implement them here along with herb spirals. Spiral-of-death is more like it!
 
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