How I Set Up Raised Beds for the Garden

Sunday, February 9, 2020

To get us through February, we're about to have one zillion posts about gardening. So, so green! In cold, cold February!

Raised Bed Garden (Pseudo-hugelkultur)
Now that we're firmly into winter, all the seed catalogs are out and garden planning has begun! This is how we get through winter and mud season. This post documents my approach to raised bed gardening. I take a pseudo hugelkultur approach in which I fill much of a traditional raised bed with tree limbs and other organic matter that will decompose over time. This varies a bit from my wildflower stump garden as the beds have walls.

  1. Build raised beds, staple-gun hardware cloth to the bottom (keeps the moles, voles, etc. out).
    Attaching Hardware Cloth to the Bottom of the Raised Beds
  2. Ensure raised bed surface is even. My land is sloped, so I have to dig into the slope.
    Raising the Raised Bed's Ditch a Bit with Yard Debris
  3. Mix organic matter in with the dirt for the raised bed foundation. It'll rot over time and improve the soil.
    Filling in a Raised Bed Ditch a Bit for Better Drainage
  4. Place raised beds in their hole, put in a layer of sticks mixed with dirt.
    1 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  5. Tree limbs or a few logs come next.
    2 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  6. Another layer of sticks and native dirt.
    4 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  7. More tree limbs.
    5 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  8. Decomposing organic matter (leaves).
    6 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  9. The top 12" is the Joe Gardener Perfect Soil Recipe: 50% topsoil + 30% compost + 20% mixed organic matter.
    7 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  10. I like to mix the soil ingredients as I go along, rather than doing some complicated tarp-mixing approach.
    8 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  11. Keep mixing up the perfect soil recipe until the raised bed is full.
    9 - Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  12. Top off with some leaf mulch or softwood mulch.
    10- Pseudo-Hugelkultur in a Raised Bed
  13. Plant!
    Raised Bed Garden (Pseudo-hugelkultur)
  14. At the end of the season, the dirt should have settled down a few inches, top with a few inches of leaf mulch or compost. (Do this as needed, as the tree limbs break down).
    Asian Greens in a Low Tunnel

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