- Category: General gardening tips
- Published on Tuesday, 10 March 2009 15:59
- Written by Graham
- Hits: 313
- Mark-out the perimeter of the bed with strings, canes or a hosepipe for a curvy shape. Remember not to make the curves too tight since this doesn't look good and is more difficult to mow around. I use canes to define the shape since I found that rabbits bite through stretched strings. Remember too to leave sufficient space between beds to be able to pass through with the mower. I'd recommend leaving the marked-out beds a few days to ensure that you are really happy with the shape and location, which is easier to visualize with the beds marked out.
- Kill off the grass and weeds with "glyphosate", sprayed on a calm day within the marked-out area. It's worthwhile making up the dilution recommended for difficult weeds on the pack, since you really want to clean the area as much as possible.
- Wait for three to four weeks for the vegetation to die off - it should turn brown.
- Now mark-out the perimeter accurately using string and pegs. Using the lines as guide, cut two parallel lines - one along the string and the other about 1 1/2 to 2 spades' distance - cutting right down to the bedrock.
- Again using the spade cut "horizontals" down to the bedrock to give roughly square shaped sections.
- Get the spade under each cut "cube" of soil at the level of the bedrock, then lift and turn. The idea is to use these blocks to build a low wall around the perimeter of the bed. If you've made all the cuts at a slight angle from the vetical, which is the natural way of cutting, you'll find that these block lock together in a very stable way.
- Fill the interior with topsoil, compost or even better a mixture of the two, up the the height of the wall.
I have created most of our beds this way, though it will only work well if your conditions are similar to ours. The method is both quick and easy and has a few benefits over the traditional digging method:
- The "moat" created around the bed is easy to maintain weed-free since nothing much will grow on the exposed rock.
- The depth of soil in the bed is increased.
- Any latent weed seeds are not brought to the surface with digging, thus will mostly not germinate.