November 3, 2009

Digging over my raised bed

Raised bed dug over 3 Nov 09

All the tomatoes were harvested a long time ago and the peppers weren’t growing anymore, so it was time for clearing the bed. I’d left the two squash on the plants for as long as possible to see if they would ripen. You can see the results here.

I’d been putting off clearing the raised bed for ages, but I finally got around to pulling up all the old plants and digging over the soil. I picked out all the big roots, but I wasn’t sure if I needed to pick out every tiny little root. Steve reckoned it should be fine as they weren’t weed roots – growing in the raised bed meant that I didn’t have hardly any weeds! But I wanted to be sure, so I posted my question on a gardening forum and a very nice man called David said:

As long as it’s veg roots, don’t worry about it. Just make sure you get any weed roots out.

So that will save me loads of time and effort!

I just used a hand fork to turn the soil over. It looked in pretty good condition to me, as it was mostly shop-bought compost. Early next Spring I will top up the bed with some fresh compost and slow release fertiliser so the plants will have the nutrients they need. I would love to have my own compost heap (to save money as I won’t have to keep buying compost and also it’s more eco-friendly!) but Steve’s Mum thinks they smell really bad, so it’s a no-go.

I did chuck some cleaned, crushed egg shells into the soil, as I read they will add valuable nutrients to the soil because they are a high source of calcium.

Raised bed 3 Nov 09I’ve just covered the bed with a piece of plastic to stop any falling leaves and other bits and pieces getting into the soil. This should also help the soil warm up faster next year.

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