Sunday, March 15, 2009

Building Raised Garden Beds With Tunnels

Goal: to eat tomatoes off the vine before August and not have 30lbs of green tomatoes in late September. To have corn and perhpas some watermellon this year, and extend the growing season into early winter so we can continue to get good salads and goodies for hearty soups.

OK, I think you get it, the goal is to have raised beds that we can cover with plastic to keep in the heat and extend the growing season. We got the lunber at a discount by asking for the pieces no one would take and they gave it to us for $2 a board, then just said what the hell and gave us the rest of the stack since they were all cupped or twisted and no one was buying lumber anyway. We also purchased the hoops (pvc pipe), clamps, and 10x25 sheets of plastic.

We started with the 4 beds we made last year (which is when we used the back hoe to 'double dig' the hard pan and work in some composted barn cleanings, and other organic soil augmentations like limestone, bloodmeal, and bonemeal).

We dug in the cover crops (ok its really weeds but they compost well when turned into the soil), then built the boxes with the clamps for the PVC pipes and then filled them up with more composted barn cleanings and 2 year old compost mixed with soil and more of the soil augmentations that we put in last year.

In this shot you can see the inside of the board next to John's & Lindsey's feet has 4 pipes fitted to the board with clamps, these pipes are larger in diameter so we can easily slide the white pipes in them to form the tops of the plastic tunnels.

Next is to cover the hoops with plastic and start planting! The problem is that the following day we got snow!!! We went from sunny and warm to snowy! Crazy weather!

Our plan is to plant early spring crops that do well in cool weather, and as it warms up the tunnels will come off to let the sun do it's thing with out assistance.
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