New Fall Garden Raised Bed
Here is our new raised bed. I have 43 Georgia Collard plants, 25 cabbage, 10 Romaine lettuce, 10 hybrid broccoli and 3 basil plants. In addition, I planted 12 coffee tree seedlings, one variegated turmeric, 4 Chinese water chestnut plants and one tea shrub in pots.
One of the terrible problems with this property is that it is covered in Coggon Grass also know as Japanese blood grass. It is a horrible invasive species found throughout the South. It has very sharp pointed ends to its roots and shoots and penetrates weed block cloth without any problem. It is extremely difficult to control. We set out a few tomato plants back in the spring, and dug out all of the grass and roots and laid down multiple layers of weed block cloth. The grass has taken over what is left of the tomato plants.
So my brilliant idea was to cover the ground with the heaviest plastic sheeting I could find at Home Depot, then construct the raised bed out of 106 light-weight concrete blocks. The bed was then filled with about 4 tons of compost from the local landfill. Our landfill charges $25 a ton for really nice compost. The compost is very light and fluffy. We filled the cells of the concrete blocks as well to increase the growing area and to further stabilize the bed as it is only held together by gravity. We are composting some of the manure from the livestock to use as fertilizer on the raised bed as well.
Despite the fact that we get lots of rain here, it doesn't always come when you need or want it. We added a soaker hose with a timer, so that we can water the bed when needed. The timer actually works very well. You just turn the dial to the amount of time you want, and it ticks and counts down the time and shuts off the water when it is complete, sort of like an old fashion kitchen timer. We kept forgetting to turn the water off.
In addition we added an inline water filter like you see used on RVs. I'd rather use rain water on the garden, but we haven't set up a pump to water the garden from the rain water we collect. The chlorine in the county water is detrimental to the beneficial bacteria in the soil, so filtered water is better than plain county water. Any one who has owned goldfish or tropical fish knows that the Chlorine in tap water will kill them. It can't be good for anything living. I haven't drank tap water in at least 15 years. I am a firm believer in the Pure 3-stage water filter. The third stage is dolomite which restores the natural flavor to the water that the mechanical and activated charcoal filters have removed.