Just finished putting the 57 concrete blocks up for raised bed 4. Its inside dimension is 2’8″ by 8’8″ and 2′ deep. The concrete weighs about 1596 pounds and once it is full, also functions as an earth berm for the trailerstead, which makes a big difference through winter cold. I was more comfortable this winter for half the expense with the berms and block I dry stacked around the skirting.
In the photo you can see bed 4’s relationship to bed 3. The path is about 4 feet wide between them. Once the trailerstead is gone, it will get afternoon sun, but until then it will only get morning sun, probably not more than 4 hours. Enough to grow many things with strong high altitude sun. Well protected from harsh west winds, for now.
The soil to the right of bed 4 is where I planted a Red Maple and it will eventually shade both beds. The shadow is from the pinyon pine next to the square bed.
This curved sidewalk connects beds 3 and 4 behind me to the patio and raised beds 1 and 2. The Red Maple seedling is on the left. This about 8’x8’area had heavy black plastic with red lava rock on top. It blocked drainage and turned into puddles after rains. Since most of the lava rock had turned to soil, it grew a fair crop of native wildflowers, mostly purple asters. I am still pulling chunks of black plastic out, it is about 4 inches underground. All the digging is killing my purple asters, which are a nice native perennial; however, I say the spot is well seeded with purple asters and I will get a new crop. Once I finish digging out the plastic, I will seed shorter wildflowers under the 3 foot tall purple asters. Drainage has already improved and the Red Maple looks happy enough. By the time the Red Maple outgrows that 8’x8′ space, the trailerstead should be gone.
The narrow curved area to the right has not been planted yet. It is about 4’x6′ and I will plant Aronia melanocarpa, a native fruiting shrub, there. It also needs black plastic dug out, not my favorite chore.
At the lower left I am test driving rock to edge the Red Oak bed and keep the dirt off the sidewalk. I think it looks fine and will start collecting rock from uphill in this size.
I am pleased with the four raised beds and I will get these two filled and planted. Still haven’t ordered delivery of the concrete caps to give them a finished look. It will happen once they are built and I know how many I will need. For now I am focused on 6 raised beds and hugelkultur fill for my spring garden.