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First Time Organic Gardener - Deep Bed

Posted by zintman 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 30, 06 at 14:10

First post here!

I started my first garden this year, a deep bed 5' x 20'. I dug it 18" deep, sifted the soil with 1/2" hardware cloth and added 5 cu/yds of well rotted horse manure to build up a medium about 3' thick. I plan on digging another bed next spring, using this one to get used to the method.

I understand you are supposed to crowd your plants in this kind of garden. I have no doubt done so! Trying to center on heirloom varieites, I have over 30 varieties of vegetables, including 6 different tomato, 4 different pole bean, 5 summer squash, 4 winter, 2 eggplant, 5 sweet pepper, 5 melon, 3 cucumber, 2 beet, and a host of others including radish, lettuce, spinach, carrot, corn, red butter potato, and a few other vegetables and flowers.

I am trying as much as I can to vertical garden and have constructed a bamboo structure 8' high. Already, I am running out of vertical space!

I am utterly amazed at how vigorous, weed free, disease and pest free this garden is after just two months! I have a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash that has a vine 14' long; my Matina and Giant Belgium tomatoes are already over 5 feet high. My pole beans have tendrils over 10' long and my summer and winter squash, and melons, are prolific, multi-vined masses that are long even though crowded.

I also started a great compost heap with a starter of horse manure. This heap, only 4' x 4', produces a large volume of dark, moist, soil that I use to mulch and fertilize. I have done NO fertilization of this soil othen than horse manure / compost and I started out with sandy and acidic soil (I live in the CA Sierra Nevada Foothills. As I understand this deep bed method, I must keep adding and mixing compost as I go throughout the years, and the soil should never need to be dug again :)

Anyway, wanted to share my experience with folks. If I can do this, anyone can, and I hope to encourage others to give this method a try.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: First Time Organic Gardener - Deep Bed

Thought I would post a picture of what my garden has become. Those are 8' bamboo poles ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden picture

RE: First Time Organic Gardener - Deep Bed

Great post! I am also jumping into deep beds this planting season. Question: how did you mix in the manure? Did you screen the dirt and then put the manure on top? Thanks.

RE: First Time Organic Gardener - Deep Bed

I dug a 4' x 12' bed 30" deep this year. Refilled about 18" with last years leaves, some rotting limbs from our woods (at the very bottom), then all the topsoil I had saved. Since our ground is rock and clay (chirt we call it in Mid-TN) when you get about 12" down, I had to buy a truckload of "Earth Mix" from a local nursery. Planted sweet corn and pole beans in a 12" grid pattern. No harvest yet but all is growing very well. Next year I plan to rotate tomatoes into this spot and dig another.

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