Building a bed in ground to garden in can be done two ways: Rushed, or you take the time to let it be done right. Since we moved to our land here I have done both methods. And yes, I had to re-do the first rushed beds, that first summer (2018) so we could grow some food. This new bed I started about a year ago, in May of 2020.
We covered the space I selected in a small sileage tarp, and then walked away for the spring/summer, and let the heat kill the grass and weeds (such as thistles and the nasty ground choking blackberry vines). In the photo, you can see on the left field we are in two stages there, killing grass, and a lush cover crop coming up (it’s buried yet again under a tarp).
Using the BCS in early April we broke the land, and turned it under.
And this is a truth….when you live on an island in the PNW, you have to till it the first time. Most likely it won’t ever be tilled again. But you must break open the hard surface.
Then the hard work starts. That is…rocking. Bucket after bucket. One chore I pay the kids to do. Here the first rows are being formed. In this bed we formed them by hand, using a shovel. In other beds we have used the BCS to form them. However, this bed sits on a hill.
We do the rocking before forming the beds, and then again. Then you wait for awhile, and let the next set of rocks appear. Because they will! All it takes is a good rain, and the rock potatoes surface.
The wooden stakes are there to measure out the lanes.
The beds mostly shaped. They will be smoothed out using a landscape rake. And more rocks picked. The chickens love when we open up land, and are on it constantly, till it is fenced. I let them scratch and make dust baths, it doesn’t take much to fix their damage at this point.
T posts in.
Outside fabric laid, to help suppress weeds and grass on the edges. T post knocked over by my neighbor on accident with his mower’s trailer. Oops. He and I got a good laugh at least.
At this point we carved out walk pathways, the black plastic deer fencing is in, and the chicken wire laid down low to keep rabbits out.
Compost added to the beds.
After that I built a gate and installed it at the top, and we started laying down rocks along the chicken wire (to keep it laying flat).
And with that….it was done and ready for planting. We will add in wood chips in the walkways this week. And for in the PNW, on our island, this is the week for getting the warm weather crops in the ground! Done just in time.