Monday, August 26, 2013

A Raised Bed and a Surprise!

In July of this year, after the bulk of the back fence project was done, I decided it was finally time to start putting in raised garden beds. I have a fair amount of yard space that can be given over to planting vegetables and fruits, but in the interests of keeping Jasmine (not to mention Missy) out of my food supply, I determined that putting in raised beds would be a Very Good Idea.

I picked up four 12’ rough cut cedar planks (I went with 1”x8” but in retrospect I should have gone with 2”x8” instead) and once home set up my portable saw horses and got to work.
The spot where the new bed would go
Portable saw-horse reporting for duty - and behind it
is the pile of dirt left over from digging post holes
Boards cut and ready to assemble

I decided that the bed I was putting in should be two foot deep by 10 foot long and so measured and cut my boards to suit this.  A number of years ago now Mum & Dad started replacing their raised beds (that were made with wood) with concrete poured raised beds – where they are they have to combat the roots of cedar trees and so concrete is a better fit for them. To that end, they gave me the corner connectors that they had bought from Lee Valley Tools (the BEST store on earth ha ha ha) and I took out 8 of them (and the screws) because this particular bed was going to end up being 2 feet wide by 10 feet long by 16 inches deep. Boards cut I got things into place and connected all of the pieces and then stacked the two “boxes” to make one very deep one. This should end up being PLENTY of space to grow whatever I end up planting in there (on purpose) in.

MORE than deep enough!
Bed in place, I next took on the compost bin move project. Before re-claiming all of the compost material, I lined the very bottom of the new garden bed with newspaper.  This will eventually help keep down any serious weeds that may be already in the ground… Next up I took apart the two-bin compost I built at the beginning of last summer and moved all of the material in that over into the bottom of the new raised bed.  On top of that I put another thick layer of newspaper and then on the very top I put the soil that had been initially displaced when Dad and Rob (my brother) dug out the fence post holes.

New bed in, filled with compost material
and left-over post hole dirt
I will need to top dress the bed with sea soil and more potting soil, and I’ll need to over seed that through the winter with something like fall rye (which can be dug under in the spring and rots down into a lovely green manure) but for now… It’ll do just fine!

About a week after I got the new bed in place and all the dirt moved in I noticed a plant… kind of a large leaf plant – that had self-started in the new bed.  I know it is a member of the squash family – I have checked the leaves and now that it is flowering, looked at the flowers and have confirmed it is definitely a member of the squash family.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t know exactly WHAT it really is.  It might be a pumpkin – I did try to sprout some Crown Prince pumpkin, but thought that all of the seeds were not viable and so gave up on them and chucked them into the compost bin. It may also be a butternut squash… or a regular orange pumpkin – I have had a number of those throughout the year and when I was preparing them I just threw all of the seeds and guts into my compost without thinking.

Female flower

Male flowers

Whatever it is, it may not have enough time to ripen before the frosts come.  I actually hope it does though – I’m curious to see what it is, and I would LOVE to have some of my own squash or pumpkin for winter consumption!

With love across the waters,

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