Building the bed by the back door

There wasn’t a lot of soil left from excavating the hole for my pond in the winter of 2018, once I’d spread it round the garden. Thus, the bed by the back door

had ended up with but a thin layer over the sand, where the patio slabs had previously lain.

It had therefore always been on my mind to work on this area. So, on Sunday/Monday I moved the strawberries in the bed to the compost bin, put down newspaper over the soil and then covered it with manure.

The final layer for now is cardboard, the idea in the short term being

that it will reduce the chance of pigeons nabbing the straw for nests. Then I will cover the cardboard with manure/compost in due course.

One of the other volunteers at Old Sleningford earlier in the month told me that, contrary to received wisdom, she had been successfully growing in manure which was still quite raw. My experiment with beans grown in this way has not been as successful as I would have liked but this may be because of dry weather or bird activity rather than anything to do with the manure. In any case, I don’t have much to lose – the soil everywhere in the garden is too poor for a fantastic crop of garlic, and at least the soil in the new bed will be enriched.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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12 Responses to Building the bed by the back door

  1. Over Soil says:

    Your bed doesn’t look very comfortable, but each to their own. I recall hearing of the magic trick of sleeping on a bed of nails, but that I think we best leave that to the beauticians. 🤪

  2. Your title had me hoping you would be able to get it indoors

  3. New manure becomes well rotted quite quickly! Good luck with the improvements – even if this year the results are not fantastic the bed will be better for your efforts and there is always next year.

  4. I did something similar to do away with the lawn and improve the soil. It was amazing how a season improved the soil. I also used dried leaves, along with cardboard. It smelled wonderful as it turned. Best of luck.

  5. nanacathy2 says:

    I knew exactly what you meant from the title, as we are bed making too! I’ll be interested to see if your cardboard rots down with manure on top.

    • Helen says:

      The cardboard will rot, anyway, once it gets wet from the rain. I’ve often put cardboard down on soil to kill off weeds and I put it in my compost to add the necessary carbon. In the case of this bed, I’m hoping to up the water-retentiveness of the soil as much as the nutrients.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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