The Raised Bed Diaries 2017

When I first started this blog, it was about two things: Dickie, my little blue Subaru, and gardening. I was never much into gardening when I was young – always much more interested in reading and writing and that sort of thing. But when we moved to the farm, I decided I wanted to try my hand at vegetable growing. So my dad made me a pair of raised beds out of old railway sleepers and got me a little greenhouse that every time a storm struck, all the glass blew out of. True to my bookworm roots I bought loads of books on veg growing and started out. The first year was quite successful, the second year somewhat so, and then the third year I had moved into my house and my weekends seemed to get filled up doing other things. Mum kept the beds going, but I hadn’t manured either of them since the beginning and our land is sandy, hungry land that doesn’t do much on its own.

This year I’m intending to fully embrace this country living! We’ll be lambing soon, I’ve done some solo shepherding and even done some cattle work on my own. I’ve been told I’m going to be taught how to drive the tractor and might get a go at something called “chain-arrowing” which to me sounds like something the Vikings might have done to their enemies but probably isn’t. I want to get back into gardening, especially as we have a bigger garden to soon look after in the other house.

So the other week I took an afternoon to go down to my Mum and Dad’s and think how to tackle these bad boys.

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As you can see, they weren’t in the best of states. Littered with old growth from last year, being taken over by grass and weeds, they were ready for a good clean up. So I dug all the rubbish up and had a good go at turning over the soil. We do have a problem with trees, as you can see from the photos, in that there are lots of them around and their roots go as far as under my beds. So if you dig down about a foot or less, you run into these never ending spindly roots which have already claimed one fork as a victim.

Nightmare!

But I persevered. Once everything was dug out, I went with my wheelbarrow into one of the fields where Scott and I had dumped a load of muck from the cow sheds and lambing sheds earlier on in the year. I got one barrow load and that did one bed. I dug it nicely in and turned over my soil, then levelled it all out and gave it a good watering as it had been a fairly long dry spell.

And now one bed looks like this!

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Much better! The soil is a little bit stony though I got most of the big bits out, and as you can see I still have a bit of an issue with invading grass. Not sure how to pull that bit out in the bottom right corner yet. But this bed is ready!

I hope to claim another afternoon to sort the other bed out, and my Mum very kindly got me two more barrow loads of muck before the farmer who currently works the land ploughed it all in. Then I can get to work on my greenhouse, which needs a good clean! Depending on how busy we are with lambing, I might be able to start a few seedlings off inside on windowsills – which is what I do for squashes, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The idea is to try and be self-sufficient, to as much of an extent as I can, and anything we have a surplus of to sell, either alongside our eggs from the farm or at the bottom of my Mum and Dad’s road end.

Some of you might know I’ve been finding it a bit difficult of late. There’s been a lot of things going on, things that are all new to me and over which I have little control, something which I do find hard to deal with. While I sacrificed writing time to concentrate on my garden, I have to say I really enjoyed this afternoon, and it really perked my spirits up. It is so important to take time for ourselves, and I really feel that doing this for my vegetable garden was time well spent, even if I had an aching back and screaming arms afterwards!

How are you guys getting on with your gardening? Have you started anything yet? Let me know!

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One thought on “The Raised Bed Diaries 2017

  1. The seedlings are growing, transplanting is on schedule…but the weathr isn’t. Hopefully this coming week will allow some real work to occur. Just keep moving forward, Katy, and let your garden work its magic. Things always seem brighter after some time there. Maybe because you are thinking about the welfare of your plants, or the contact with the soil, or seeing the progress of cleaned beds and growing things, but whatever happens, really does happen and the human spirit responds.

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