April 17, 2018
Raised Beds, 2013
We have been raising vegetables here on Muskrat Road for some years now. This picture was taken in May of 2013, before we added drip tape irrigation when we were watering by hand (dumb idea). The ground between the beds was covered in pine needles to slow weed growth and we still use them. One year we even invited neighbors to dump their needles and instantly became the darlings of the block.
We compost almost everything organic . . . salad cuttings, egg shells, coffee grounds . . . in what they call “cold” beds. That’s where you pile things up over several months and just let it sit. In “hot” composting, the more popular method, you turn it every so often and check to see that it is heating up and breaking down the ingredients. Cold takes much longer and we don’t harvest a bed until it is two or three years’ old.
This year we’re putting it about 2″ thick on all the beds after first mixing in 2 cups of 15-15-15 (called “Triple 15” that comes in 50lb bags at D L Cowley in Grenada for around $18. Because the beds are raised and scattered we bought a light two-stroke cultivator that we can lift easily and it works well to move this enriched compost into the already amended but used soil from the previous years.
(If not already mentioned the volcanic ash that makes up some areas here is not worth planting without SOME kind of amending. Sierra Pacific Industries between Yreka and Montague sells a good soil mix which you can pick up or have delivered, and there are several landscaping companies that can provide topsoil as well.)
I’ll try to post another story soon about irrigating with drip tape, protecting berries from birds, and a few other things we’ve learned (mostly the hard way). Here’s a teaser about Yankee irrigation: