Monday, June 25, 2012

Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden (Part 3 - Preparing the Garden Bed)

The seeds for our vegetable garden are starting to sprout, so I figured it was time we started working on getting the garden beds ready. Matty built us a set of three raised garden beds a couple of weeks ago when he was on holidays:

They are nothing too fancy, just made using a couple of sleepers, but they'll do the job perfectly!

Below is the method we used to fill them up.

You will need:

Lucerne Hay
A jar of Molasses
Animal Poop
A wheelbarrow
A hose or water supply.
Compost Mix (though that will not be needed for a week or two)

Here is how to do it:

Fill your wheelbarrow up with water (I used warm water so my hands wouldn't get cold), before adding in a couple of tablespoons of molasses. Add a couple of pages of newspaper in to soak, before laying it in the bottom of your raised garden bed:

The idea of the newspaper is to kill of the weeds and grass growing underneath your vegetable patch, so you want it to be a fairly thick layer:

Next is the fun part. For our three vegetable beds, I got 2 bales of lucerne hay and 3 bales of compressed straw. If you are like me and had no idea what the difference between the two is, well hay is for the animals to eat and straw is for their bedding:

First you will use the lucerne hay. When you cut open the bale, you will see that the hay is layered in 'pads', like so:

This makes it much easier to work with. I separated each of the pads in half and then laid it in the vegetable bed, on top of the newspaper:

Next, pour a little bit of molasses along the length of the garden bed. The molasses acts as a fertiliser and will make your vegetables grow nice and big:

Next comes the poop. We used alpaca poop, which we picked up for $3 a bag on the side of the road. Spread a nice even layer over the top:

Then you will want to open up your straw bales and spread that over the top. The straw is in 'pads' too, so it's easy to throw around:

Put a little more poop on the top:

Then water it well. We watered ours a little, but since we're expecting rain overnight we thought we would let nature take care of that task.

Over the next week or two we will go out every couple of nights and turn it over with a pitchfork, just to help break it up a little. Once our seedlings are ready for planting, we will top the garden beds up with some organic compost mix.

I will be sure to show you what we do when we plant the seedlings in a couple of weeks!

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