Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

November 3, 2008

Liberate Your Lawn - one new bed DONE!

You may remember back a couple of months ago when I laid out our plans for how we wanted to liberate some of our lawn for new garden beds. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I started digging and working on getting our new garden bed in the backyard started. This weekend I really dug in...pun intended... and got the new bed finished. We were expecting, and received I might add, foul weather on Sunday so I really wanted to get the new bed finished up before that got here. As a part of this process I had been working also to eradicate our bindweed problem, at least in this part of the yard. All that work came to fruition this weekend.

I decided to build this bed as an experimental type of bed. Experimental for me at least. I am trying a Lasagna Bed. This isn't a garden bed where I will focus on growing the ingredients for homemade lasagna, but rather is a garden bed that will be made with multiple layers of compostable materials put down right in the prepared bedding area and allowed to compost right there. Check out the video below to get an idea of what I'm talking about in case you aren't sure.

After I covered the entire bedding area with cardboard, I spread a thin (1-2 inch) layer of soil over it to hold it down. The first image in the movie shows the first layer I put down on top of the soil which was the old bedding from the chicken coop which was part sawdust, part straw, and of course the girls "outputs" as well. Next layers in order were: straw, grass clippings (free from two of my neighbors and free of chemical herbicides.), mowed over garden waste, four bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks, straw, homemade compost, grass clippings, straw and peat moss.

Fall is really the optimal time to do this kind of bedding. For the obvious reason of course that there are so many available greens and browns to add to a pile like this in the fall, but also, because it will allow the materials to sit over the next 4-5 months and get snow melt and rain down into it, breaking it down into a soft humus for planting in, or at least that's the plan. I will be adding to the top of this pile, one last think layer of materials, leaves. I recently acquired a lot of them, but I'll cover that in another post in a couple of days, but leaves are truly a great composter.

I can't say I enjoyed making this bed, it was a lot of hard work. I had to move, break and set all the concrete "urbanite" stones for the bed hardscaping, break up the ground below the cardboard, remove the bindweed, and load all the greens and browns into the beds. I think it will be a good bed for us though. It is on the north side of our southern fence line, so it will be the last bed in the yard to get full sun in the summer, and the first to lose it in the fall, but what I'm planning to do is to maximize that micro climate for a lot of the cool season things that won't normally grown here in the summer to see how much I can extend their seasons. As always, we'll see.
Hope you all had a great weekend. More coming soon.


Anonymous said...

I just turned over some new dirt this fall also. It was a lot of work but it really is satisfying to see something that I accomplished. My desk job doesn't allow such visible victories.

I have also heard of confining chickens over an area and letting them dig the bed from their natural scratching.

1curlydoc said...

I'm planning a bed like this too. I've just recently learned about lasagne gardening and it sounds great. I was going to do it in the Spring, but reading your post makes me think I should try to get it done this Fall (if I can beat the snow!). Then it would have all winter to be nice and moist under all that snow. Thanks for the inspiration!

wyogardener (Annette)

Eva said...

I bet it was hard work! You should be proud, you accomplish so much. This blog continues to inspire me. Thanks for writing... I can't wait to see what it looks like with the new crop planted.

Robbyn said...

Wow, great job, P! that's a lot of hard work...just think of the bounty it'll be producing before long!