Today I started filling my 6 foot square raised bed with compost materials. Just stuff I have laying around. Started with water-soaked deadwood on the bottom, then tumbleweeds that had accumulated again, a pile of dead wildflowers, then some wet cardboard boxes to squash it down. I added 4 pieces of dead sod with a good clay soil. Then I added 3 bags of leafy material that I got from a friend’s house in town. All that filled the bed up for composting.
Went off to the chicken coop and scooped up all feces, old alfalfa, and scattered seeds and scattered it over the top. Now I can lay fresh alfalfa down for the girls.
The chickens scattered around the yard while I was cleaning up their 10×12 abode, seeing what might be edible.
The adventurous one that likes hanging with me and pestering the dog jumped into the garden bed and did a good job rearranging it and packing it down for helpful (free to me) labor. By the time I was finished with her place, she had settled down like she had a clutch of eggs to hatch. I had to bring fresh chopped vegetable parings to get them back in their house. Only the thought of losing out on groceries got her moving.
Tomorrow I will top the bed off with soil from the cutout. It is still pretty damp so may not trickle through the loose material right away. No matter, plenty of time.
It will snow again this coming weekend, keeping the compost wet. It will settle and I will fill it again with whatever is at hand. Everything but the chicken waste was already wet, so I didn’t bother to add water. I expect soil by May, so I can plant.
I have another raised bed planned about 4 feet away, and put a few blocks down to show the edge. I am making a gravel pathway starting between the beds and that curves around and meets the front path. Now I could see where it needed to start and used some of the old carpet from the trailerstead. Got some of those carpet pieces out from under the carport. More to come.
I will probably buy more concrete block this week or next. Then I can add the third row to the 6 foot bed. I want to finish the new 2×10 foot bed sooner than later so I can get it composting. It will add a 10 foot concrete/earth berm to the trailerstead, a good thing going into this cold winter.
These two beds will remain after the trailerstead is gone and the land under it becomes half greenhouse and half orchard. I decided to put the cistern inside the greenhouse and slightly downhill from the house. Safer. Inside the greenhouse it should not freeze and will help keep the greenhouse warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Every baby step forward increases my food security and turns this concrete and gravel waste into raised beds that are easy to work. No digging! Little weeding. No kneeling on the ground with old knees.