And so to bed

Only you definitely wouldn’t want to take a nap in this one!

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.56.56 pmIt’s been a cool, pleasant day, and I seized the opportunity to get done a job I’ve been longing to start. Today, I built three raised beds, lined the bottoms with wet cardboard, topped that off with 6″ (15cm) thick flakes of lucerne (alfalfa) hay, and watered the lot down. There’s a trailer load of good quality compost waiting to be shovelled into the three beds tomorrow.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.57.16 pmCardboard stops the contents of the bed escaping out the bottom, and helps to suppress grass and weeds that might be tempted to invade and enjoy the tastiness going on in there. Plus it’s an excellent way of recycling and saves space in the recycling bin. But there’s a downside. Cardboard is mostly carbon, and the process of rotting it down draws nitrogen out of the surrounding soil. This is where the lucerne comes in. It’s nitrogen rich as well as providing biomass, and helps to replace the nitrogen robbed out of the soil by the cardboard. It rots down over time and reduces in volume, but meanwhile, helps with drainage.

The compost is made here in Mackay using plant material collected from all over town and from a wide variety of sources. It’s like rich black moist crumbs of chocolate cake, and smells nearly as good! Once I’ve shovelled it all into the beds, I’ll lay down an irrigation hose before I plant to avoid disrupting the future seedlings, and I have a bale of shredded sugarcane mulch to tuck everything up in once I’ve planted.

And finally, there’ll be a top dressing of Garden Tea, but that’s a post for another day.

I’ve learned a few things about what will and won’t work in this climate. My planting will reflect this, but one thing’s for sure. There will be tomatoes, capsicums, beans, spinach and herbs. I’ve got to plant twice what I think I need, so I can retrieve a reasonable amount once the plagues of insects have  taken their share. I’m also going to build up the existing bed which housed beans last year, which will contain potatoes this year.

It feels great to have soil under my fingernails again, and muddy knees, and a stiff back and a peaceful mind.  I’m back where I belong. Out in the garden.


24 thoughts on “And so to bed

  1. You only belong there 50% of the time. The other 50% is in your sewing room, remember!!! Hope you’re feeling better, which your gardening activity would suggest 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.

    • katechiconi says:

      True, but I’ve had to stay out of the garden so long because it’s been such a boiling hot summer, that now I can spend hours out there I’m really taking advantage. And yes, the side effects of the flu shot have worn off and the headache and shivers have passed, thank you!

      • Good, pleased to hear. I used to have a flu shot every year, with no side effects, until one time. It was just for a single hour, but it was like all the flues I’d ever had came at once in a terrible concentrate. Never again.

      • katechiconi says:

        I have to have one every year. My immune system is not what it used to be since cancer and chemo… it’s not fun, but it works.

  2. tialys says:

    Looks too much like hard work to me – I leave all that stuff to the OH and then float around with a basket picking the results 😉
    Glad you’re feeling better x

    • katechiconi says:

      I am the gardener of the household. The Husband agrees that he’s good at the heavy lifting and taking directions, but doesn’t know one end of a green thing from the other. But he definitely enjoys eating the results!

  3. Lovely to read about how you make your garden such a wonderful place to be!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m glad you enjoy that bit too. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if the gardening followers get a bored with all the sewing, and the sewing followers bored with the gardening…

  4. I’m glad you’re feeling better, and able to work at creating your garden again – the other side of the sewing creativity coin.

    My OH is that kind of gardener who believes in seeing lots of bare soil with neat edges, so although I miss growing veg and flowers, I don’t regret that we don’t have a garden any more, just a small oblong of grass which is home to a mole! At least we have lovely open views.

    Happy gardening.

  5. claire93 says:

    I’m not at all keen on gardening or getting my hands dirty with soil ^^ I leave that up to my husband, and just enjoy the fruits of his labour, so to speak. But well done on all your lovely compost.

  6. Magpie Sue says:

    {happy sigh} What a lovely day’s work. I think I’m going to share your raised bed process with my DH. Maybe it will inspire him to action in our yard. ;- )

  7. How wonderful and eally interesting to hear about what you are doing and why!

  8. NICE BEDS!!! Can’t wait till you show us what you plant there in time. Glad you are getting dirty!

  9. Carole says:

    They look very professional 🙂
    I’m just about to start making some raised beds for our little garden. I’m hoping to get a nice crop of veggies too. Nothing like it, is there 🙂

  10. […] Source: And so to bed | talltalesfromchiconia […]

  11. Jen Gardener says:

    Wow, very sleek! They look great Kate!

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