27 March 2009

Filling raised beds

In wet weather, the greenhouse raised beds sit in a puddle of water. To make sure that drainage in the beds wouldn't be a problem I thought it might be a good idea to put sand in the bottom of them. We still had a fairly large heap of sand left behind after the channel from the barn to the house was dug for the backup-power supply, so we didn't need to buy any. Thinking of the way you are supposed to put crocks into containers, I also decided to recycle the large pile of stones that I extracted from the vegetable garden in our first summer here. The pile didn't look that big, but became six (very heavy) barrow-loads.

After tipping in the stones and three tractor-loads of sand the beds had about an inch of material in the base:

Mike has been digging another channel for the stream on the western side of the property, which has given us some topsoil. Here he is with the front-loader of the tractor full of soil for the first bed:

I don't think he had enough opportunity to make mud-pies as a child. Here's a close-up of the contents:

After tipping in six loads, the first bed is now about half-full. The tractor had churned up the path so much that making any more trips seemed unwise today. We've left everything to dry out a bit before doing a bit more, perhaps tomorrow.

While I was away the spinach, lettuce and leeks I sowed in the greenhouse have germinated, but the peas I carefully sowed in the gutters seem to have vanished altogether. Hm, mice maybe? Will have to re-think and re-sow those.

Indoors I've sown peppers and aubergine seeds into trays in the electric propagator. I wasn't too impressed with the Hungarian Hot Wax chilli peppers last year, so this time I've gone for Cayenne and Tomato peppers. I'm also trying again with the Corno di Toro Rosso sweet peppers, despite a lack of any peppers managing to reach maturity last year. I'm hoping that a slightly drier summer and a better location in the garden (one that won't get waterlogged) will do the trick.


Anonymous said...

Lots of work but looks like it will pay off. Very well done.

Anna said...

Good luck with the peppers this year. I have just had to buy another packet as not a single one of my Corno di Toro has germinated a month on from sowing. They are in a heated propagator with some small baby peppers, sown on the same day and long since up. The raised bed looks great.

easygardener said...

I have trouble getting sweet peppers to mature and ripen outside. The weather cools just when they should be making most of their growth and they go into suspended animation. Even in the greenhouse they rarely ripen, unlike chilli peppers.
I'm just growing chillies this year including Apache - a dwarf chilli that I can bring into the conservatory when summer (what that!) ends.