The ultimate raised garden
There are two ways to start a new garden plot. The first is to dig one. The ideal time to dig up an area of lawn or ground is heading into winter. Mound up the soil leaving a two spade depth trench around the perimeter. Leave the clods whole as they landed.
Scatter a good dose of garden lime over the clods and let winter frosts do the rest. The harder the frosts the better.
In spring the clods crumble to a fine tilth at the touch of hoe or rake.
Prior to planting, scatter animal manure, chicken manure, and blood & bone about and fork it in. Hardier plants can go in early, with the main planting over Labour Weekend.
The other is to create a raised garden, sitting on lawn or concrete.
The cheapest way is to take three new sheets of galvanised iron, 1.8 metres long and two 100 x 100 fence posts.
Cut the fence posts in half and apply a couple of coats of acrylic paint to seal in the chemicals.
Lay the two painted posts on the ground and place one sheet of iron so it completely covers the them. Check to make sure its square, and then drill holes in the gully, not the ridge, for roofing screws. Screws at each end of the sheet make the garden easy to disassemble, move or extend.
Repeat on the other long length of iron. There’s the two sides, so for the ends, cut the remaining sheet in half to 90cm long. The posts are going to be inside the bed, and it is best to assemble where its going to sit. Ideally, one long side should be facing north.
Site it as far away from trees or shrubs as possible. Near a tree or close to a drip line, feeder roots will find a way up and in and take all the goodness out.
Or sit the garden on thick black builders plastic to prevent roots invading.
Screw the two ends to the fence posts and it’s ready to fill.
On soil or grass, place a few sheets of cardboard at the bottom to stop weeds and attract earthworms.
Add tree and shrub trimmings, any organic material – non herbicide sprayed grass clippings, sawdust, newspaper, spent compost, old potting mixes and even some top soil.
Fill and tamp it down to about half its depth.
Add several layers of newspaper. Cover with purchased compost not made from green waste (Daltons, Oderings, mushroom compost) to 35cm from the top.
Spread blood & bone, sheep manure pellets, Neem Tree Granules, Rock Solid, Ocean Solids, and chicken manure. Cover this with 5cm of purchased compost so it’s 20 to 30 cm from the top, ready for planting.
After planting, stretch and secure netting or crop cover across the bed to stop insects, birds and cats.
The long north facing side will help heat up the mix; the gap between the mix and the top creates a wind-break and micro-climate. Plants respond by growing twice as fast as those in open ground.
Problems? Ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606) Email email@example.com Web site www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards demonstrates the features of his galvanised iron no-need-tobend, raised garden. The hoops for netting or crop cover give larger leafy plants room to grow.