I'm mew on here and to gardening so would like some advice to get going.
This summer I have grown a few veggies in containers and would like to build a raised bed for next season.
We have a small patch of rocky soil out the front of our house. It faces easts so gets lots of morning sun and goes in the shade by 5pm. Its also very exposed to high winds.
I was planning on buildinng a raised bed approx 5ft x 4ft. I'm am deciding between strawbales surrounded by wood for the first year, then as they decompose over the first year or two add compost and manure on top to slowly create a no dig bed layer system.
Or should i just start with building the layers of newspaper, fertiliser, straw, compost) and not use strawbales.
The strawbales was mainly to save on money for the initial set. Is it ok to let strawbales rot in place and add layers on top each year? I do not have space for a seperate compost area. From what i've read people using strawbales put them on the compost after and start with new bales.
Any advice on this or facotrs i have not considered would be appreciated.
I think I might be more helpful if you said more about your climate and the shade\sun in your area. about raised beds... are you folowing a specific method? because that might be more dificult if you live in a hot and dry climate. are you trying to grow fruit or veg or staples (or all of them together) or just getting something in the ground to see how it goes? Any way I have only ever had a garden in a cooler wet climate where i had no need for irrigation but if thats not your situation i might be able point you to a book or website or you tube channel that suits you better.
posted 1 year ago
Thanks for your reply.
I live in New Zealand in a temperate maritime climate. Mild winters which rarely get to freezing and also mild summers averaging low to mid 20's c. The most extreme aspect of the weather here is the wind which often reaches 35+kmph and can be 100+ kmph. The raised bed would have a wind break around which has really helped with my container growing this year. It is also a very humid climate.
I would be planning to grow mostly veg. Tomato, capsicum, courgette, aubergine, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, beans, peas, onion, garlic, herbs and lettuce.
My main question really is if straw bales can be left in a raised bed to decompose the 2nd and 3rd year with new annual veggies growing on top in a fresh layer of compost over the first year straw bales. Everything i read about spent bales advises removing them for putting into a designated compost bin. Could i not just let them compost in place with new veg growing on top?
The no dig system i was looking at was newspaper-lucerne-manure/compost-straw-manure/compost-straw.
If i put down newspaper and lucerne, added straw bales on top with planting pockets of compost for the first year, then as the bales break down add a layer of manure/ compost on top and a layer of straw and plant in these new top layers the 2nd year. Would this be too much straw? Or would the composting straw underneath negatively (or positively) affect the growth of 2nd year veggies?
Sorry for the long explanations, i'm sure i'll pick up the lingo to explain myself better as i go
the straw bales work in place for lots of people and in southland? its wet enought that by the second year the straw is mostly compost already like a fast hugelculture, keep layering it on any really wet anerobic spots will break down quickly i reckon. I was in dunedin six years and had a straw potato tower that got a rat in it but it left my garden alone but maybe break them up a bit if you see any. I never had luck with more than greens in the ground and had my plants in fast food mayo buckets that i moved around to catch the sun. BUT THEN i tried grafting tomatoes and eggplants to the native solanum aviculare. I grew it outside in the ground for three years and had perennial tomatoes and eggplants with a bag over it in winter and it grew woody i got more than fruit than in my container garden. i didn´t try peppers. cape goosberry physalis peruviana went dormant and i put it in the garage over winter and myrtus ugnii (NZ cranberry) grew really well too in a fair bit of shade under pines. I used to move my containers around to keep the possums out of them too, so onto the balcony overnight. do you have that issue? i could see trying to build a fortress to keep them off your greens lol. oh and the scarlet runner beans, i planted them under all the trees in the garden and they grew well under the manuka and palm trees. they came back every year with a few more vines they are perennial there.
Heres a link to the solanum plant. it can get big, about small car size down south and sprouts from cuttings in the ground and seeds and grew conveniently as fast as my tomatoes grew. i used a saddle graft. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_aviculare.