Saturday, March 23, 2013

God's Plan - Expanding the garden area

I have never had this much land and space to garden. Hence, I have no clue, really, just how many plants to grow for a full harvest. I know from past gardens that one raised bed will grow quite a few strawberries - plenty for fresh eating but not enough to put up as jam or freeze for smoothies.

Last fall, I created five raised beds for veggie beds. It was simply the beginning. One has to start somewhere. These are the beds before I put soil and compost in them.

Cardboard lining the bottom.

Last week, I watched a wonderful movie, "Back To Eden," which is about God's plan for managing the soil. The author of the video discusses scripture where humans were cursed to till the soil and work hard. However, he also discusses his observations of how God manages the soil. Where nature is allowed to work as designed, there is a natural composting that occurs. The video calls it a covering. The Back To Eden garden is one designed to maximize natural composting and covering using God's plan, not man's.

I have been inspired by this movie to attempt a larger scale of composting beds. I had thought to till my yard, but I have changed my mind.

I still have lots of cardboard boxes from our move. I put those down to kill the grass. I am layering topsoil, manure, leaves and straw. These will compost in place. The goal is to essentially convert a whole side yard of lawn and weeds (mostly weeds) into a large garden. The area is about 50 x 100 so 5,000 sq. ft.

Here you can see the expansion. This is only about one-fifth of the area that will eventually become the garden. I have laid out cardboard. On that, I will dump the bags of topsoil (which has peat moss in it). I bought bags of manure to add to the topsoil. I will add leaves, as well as straw and chicken poop from my coop.As I expand the garden area, I will remove the framing for the raised beds. Right now, I need a "place holder" for the existing beds while the other area composts in place. The space between the beds is about the size of another bed.

Laying out the cardboard and bags took about an hour. When I made my first raised beds, mixing the topsoil and compost materials took about an hour per bed. It really doesn't take much time at all.


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