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Re: [fukuoka_farming] raised beds and potatos

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  • Alan Sloan
    You re probably aware of the traditional Irish Lazy Bed where the sod from each side of the new bed is turned inwards and onto a layer of manure. The
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 8, 2009
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      You're probably aware of the traditional Irish "Lazy Bed" where the sod
      from each side of the new bed is turned inwards and onto a layer of
      manure. The resulting dung sandwich worked well for me when starting
      up, or rather worked for my vegetables, and the vegetables worked for me.

      I can vouch for the cardboard mulch as well, when there is sufficient
      mulching material around. I found that a bed mulched in a wet UK July
      choked off even couch grass by October, I think it helped to get it
      while it was green. (Couch is a perennial grass with roots that regrow
      even from the smallest fragments - you probably have it in BC though has
      it the same name?).

      I've never used woody material in that way, but have a woody compost
      pile working at the moment, so may set up a trench in a year or two.

      Alan

      michael hollihn wrote:
      >
      >
      > this is what i've learned about raised beds:
      >
      > if there is sod in the way, i don't double dig until the second
      > year...the first year i cover sod with cardboard and smother grass,
      > then throw potatoes onto cardboard (make sure cardboard is not covered
      > in inks/dyes/tapes) and cover with straw/grass
      > clippings/leaves/compost/mulch (one or all will work)...keep
      > moist....as potatoes grow through straw, keep covering with mulch of
      > choice....by the end of the year you will have a potato harvest and
      > the following spring a beautifully sod free bed to double dig and turn
      > into raised beds.....
      >
      > i now turn my raised beds into huegel beds (sepp holzer) or swales
      > (permaculture)....i'm still experimenting but this is the jist of it:
      > dig a trench down one side of your soon to be raised bed (or right
      > down the middle, unsure which method is better at this time)....dig as
      > deep of a one shovel width trench as possible...fill trench with
      > coarse organic material (i use old wood, prunings, dry mullein stems,
      > dry jerusalem artichoke stalks, etc.).....once the trench is full, i
      > then fill in all the cracks and air space with wood chips that i get
      > from the local urban chippers that chip trees in the nearby village (i
      > have a pile beside the garden with a soaker hose on it creating
      > mycrorhizal bacteria) and/or with wood dust and shavings from my
      > workshop, basically whatever coarse carbon material that can fill the
      > voids....
      >
      > these trenches of coarse organic matter are two very valuable things
      > to a raised bed...one they, over time, get wet and saturated with
      > moisture, and during the drought times of summer, the roots of the
      > plants in the raised bed will get valuable moisture from these
      > trenches AND two they are storehouses of possibly the most valuable
      > part of the soil chemistry known as mycrorhizal
      > bacteria/fungus....google this bacteria and research is showing it to
      > be the catalyst of all nutrient uptake...
      >
      > all the soil that was dug from the trench can now be put back over the
      > coarse organic material to make the first swale/huegelbed...i then do
      > the same thing 3' away from the first swale....this creates about a
      > 4'-6' wide row of two swales with a valley/hollow in between the
      > two....i decided to plant potatoes in between these two swales and
      > they are currently loving the microclimate i've created...as the
      > spring and summer progress i will keep covering the potato growth with
      > straw and i am curious to see how many pounds of potatoes this
      > "trough" will produce...
      >
      > the peak and valley profile of these beds also creates microclimates
      > that prevent the drying winds of late summer from evaporating moisture
      > wholesale as it does on a flat garden profile...
      >
      > one 4' wide bed i did was a trench down the middle and i then built a
      > basic bed overtop of the trench with two rows of a mixture of all my
      > seeds.....the watering trough is in the middle of each row (about
      > 5"-6" above the coarse organic material)....the plants seems to be
      > thriving
      >
      > --
      > michael hollihn,
      > british columbia,
      > www.michaelhollihn.wordpress.com (bioregional timber frames)
      > www.kettleriverfood.ning.com (building food security in the kettle
      > River watershed)
      > 'Be the change that you want to see' ghandi
      >
      >
    • michael hollihn
      yes, couch grass is probably the most aggressive plant here, with jerusalem artichoke and lambsquarters a distant 2 and 3....there are medicinal uses for couch
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 9, 2009
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        yes, couch grass is probably the most aggressive plant here, with
        jerusalem artichoke and lambsquarters a distant 2 and 3....there are
        medicinal uses for couch grass and thankfully the cardboard wins every
        time....

        --
        michael hollihn,
        british columbia,
        www.michaelhollihn.wordpress.com (bioregional timber frames)
        www.kettleriverfood.ning.com (building food security in the kettle
        River watershed)
        'Be the change that you want to see' ghandi
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