First Time Organic Gardener - Deep Bed
First post here!
I started my first garden this year, a deep bed 5' x 20'. I dug it 18" deep, sifted the soil with 1/2" hardware cloth and added 5 cu/yds of well rotted horse manure to build up a medium about 3' thick. I plan on digging another bed next spring, using this one to get used to the method.
I understand you are supposed to crowd your plants in this kind of garden. I have no doubt done so! Trying to center on heirloom varieites, I have over 30 varieties of vegetables, including 6 different tomato, 4 different pole bean, 5 summer squash, 4 winter, 2 eggplant, 5 sweet pepper, 5 melon, 3 cucumber, 2 beet, and a host of others including radish, lettuce, spinach, carrot, corn, red butter potato, and a few other vegetables and flowers.
I am trying as much as I can to vertical garden and have constructed a bamboo structure 8' high. Already, I am running out of vertical space!
I am utterly amazed at how vigorous, weed free, disease and pest free this garden is after just two months! I have a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash that has a vine 14' long; my Matina and Giant Belgium tomatoes are already over 5 feet high. My pole beans have tendrils over 10' long and my summer and winter squash, and melons, are prolific, multi-vined masses that are long even though crowded.
I also started a great compost heap with a starter of horse manure. This heap, only 4' x 4', produces a large volume of dark, moist, soil that I use to mulch and fertilize. I have done NO fertilization of this soil othen than horse manure / compost and I started out with sandy and acidic soil (I live in the CA Sierra Nevada Foothills. As I understand this deep bed method, I must keep adding and mixing compost as I go throughout the years, and the soil should never need to be dug again :)
Anyway, wanted to share my experience with folks. If I can do this, anyone can, and I hope to encourage others to give this method a try.