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discussing the different raised bed techniques, advantages and disadvantages

 
Victor Dordonne
Posts: 6
Location: Martinique
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I am actually doing a 3000 square metter raised bed garden with a family in Martinique. We have triyed different type of raised bed and I would like to share it with you and discuss wheter or not they are efficient, what are the advantages and the disadvantages of these techniques.
first, raised bed with cutted wood at the center, covered with compost then mulch with inoculated wood chips .
the mulch was not thick enough to retain moisture nor to shade the microorganism from the direct sunlight plus the wood chips absorbed a lot of nitrogen from the soil which led to a deficiency for the plant.
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Cristo Balete
Posts: 414
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Interesting, Victor. I'm glad you are posting this, because bark chips are popular, but until they break down plants have to have access to soil, manure and compost. And what kind of bark chips makes a big difference. Some trees will really inhibit growth.

Bark beetles will be happy, but until that wood breaks down, and even then, it can only contribute a limited amount of nutrition for plants and for us. And when you think about it, bark chips got popular as an attractive cover around landscape that suppressed weeds. But that means suppression for everything. We are trying to create an environment where varieties of soil bacteria and soil fungi can thrive.

Even a Hugelkultur bed takes time for wood to break down, but that wood is surrounded by soil, the wood is soaked, maybe even manure around it too, so the plants have a variety of things to take from.

I wouldn't use more than an inch of bark chips at a time. If you thin out and bury those bark chips it will help a lot. Soak them in natural nitrogen first

My favorite kind of raised bed is layering as many different kinds of organic matter as you can get, wheat and oat straw, leaves, weeds, manure, rock powders, compost in thin, mixed layers, especially over clay soil.



 
Victor Dordonne
Posts: 6
Location: Martinique
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here is another type of raised bed for a bigger scale. We tilled lightly only to put the weed under the surface then we putted cardboard on it. then we take the same soil without the weed and we putted it over the cardborad.
about 20-30cm. we had bagasse(5cm) and chicken manure on the top. we done the same thing with wood chips only for doing a comparison. we dig 30cm large and 50cm deep swale between each bed
advantages : No weeding, No erosion, good water retention.
disadvantages : a lot of earthworks, needs for a lot of inputs (bagasse, wood chips, manure), destroy the top soil and the soil life if not done properly.
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Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Dear Victor,

I really like what you're doing. It looks just fine to me. I think when we add large quantities of organic matter it's easy for a crop or two to come up nitrogen short. I have to say though. your crops look good. Everyone likes the deep green corn... If that is what you want, you could add some sort of N source...

Your project looks great. Good luck. Keep us posted!

Best, TM
 
Victor Dordonne
Posts: 6
Location: Martinique
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But I feel like we should add some tree as if we were building a forest to harvest the more sunlight as we can. With various type of tree with different eight in the path way to keep high humidity and enough moisture and shade. It will promote the development of microorganism as nitrogen fixing bacteria. I will try to convince the other involved in this project to do so. I want to create pathway as shown in the photo
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