What can you do this fall to transition from raised beds to mostly conventional growing? Well, you could just follow my lead. It's hard to believe next year will be our third gardening season here. The first season, we went with a small, conventional, in ground garden. It worked quite well and I worked quite hard. So, the next year, we tried raised beds. While they were easier to tend (and reach) they gave us much less growing space. Next year, we're going all out with a full sized conventional garden. Here's how we'll begin our transition with fall prep.
The raised beds have to be moved and re-done.
We need the area where the raised beds sit for next year's veggie garden. We'll be removing the soil and saving it. We'll re-use the raised beds for flowers and herbs. Some are already planted with garlic and onions. We may leave those beds sitting as they are, tilling around them to plant more edibles. We'll have to carefully uproot the other herbs and perennials, re-planting them once the beds have been moved to their new locale.
The empty raised beds will be stacked for more depth.
We plan on using them for white and sweet potatoes. We'll likely build another for carrots and beets, two of our favorites. The nice loose composted soil we used last year will serve well for all the root vegetables. The rest of the garden will be done conventionally to make room for a wider variety of vegetables.
We'll need to clear and till a large plot.
The center of our back yard receives the most sun. It's an ideal spot for our new conventional garden. We've decide clearing and tilling in the fall will save us a lot of spring prep. The back yard is mostly weeds. We'll scrape the yard before tilling to cut down on weed growth. We'll wait until spring to till in fresh compost.
Fall prep for us includes building a compost bin.
Up until now, we've just used a small compost pile for our raised beds. A bigger garden will necessitate the use of much more compost. We'll use wire fencing around wood poles to form a 4 foot square. This should provide plenty of compost to supplement the free stuff we get from our local hospital each spring. Constructing the bin in fall insures we'll have plenty of brown matter (leaves) and plenty of kitchen scraps to throw in throughout the winter.
If this sounds like a lot of work, it is.
That's why I've made a rule this year. Anyone who eats from the garden has to help with it. That means, the fall garden prep isn't just up to me this year. Nor is the weeding, watering and other maintenance next gardening season. Yup, enforcing this new rule is likely the most important garden prep I'll be doing this fall as we transition from mostly raised beds to a big conventional garden.
Note: This article was written last year. This fall, we're keeping some of the traditional garden and adding more raised beds for diversity. Never a dull moment in the garden!
This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.