Friday, April 19, 2013

Sometimes you just have to start over...

Re-dug bed with Olla pot
My friend Vanessa helped me install a raised bed last fall.  All was good, it looked great - everything came up.  Then it just stopped.  Things began to turn yellow, and growth was stunted.  The only thing that seemed to make it were the peas that I planted (which are still doing well - I ate some today!)

I did everything I could think to get the garden to grow - I used freshly brewed worm wine to add biologicals, as well as fresh worm castings.  I added some alfalfa on top, along with some chicken manure and compost for nitrogen.  I mulched to maintain moisture.  Then after about eight weeks, I gave up.

Sometimes when you purchase soil, it just doesn't have any life in it.  You can add all the ingredients you want, but it just needs time.  I mulched that that bed and let it sit from November to March, when I finally checked it and found earthworms.  I planted an Olla Pot in the middle, and replanted some of the veggies.  They were coming along slowly, but better than before.

Cucumbers peeking out
Then Sunday I just had to do it.  I was so tired of watching this bed do nothing, I got some manure, and turned my composted leaf pile.  I took the plants from the bed and replanted them in another 4x4 and in a pallet garden, and then emptied the bed.  It took 4 hours to add 6 inches of composted leaves on the bottom and a new mix of manure, compost, and some of the old soil.  I've replanted with radish, carrot, pole bean and cucumber seeds, which are already up, as well as a few pepper and asparagus bean plants.

This was the first bed I've done without adding leaves, simply because the day we installed it I didn't have a bag handy.  That won't happen again!  We need to remember that without the microorganisms the nutrients in the soil don't get broken down into a form the plants can absorb.  I'll let you know how this one does!

No comments: