Raised Beds


Have you ever seen a raised bed in a forest? raised beds become irrelevant with the Shredded Woody Mulch (along with vermiculture, soil-testing, compost tea, most composting setups, swales ).  actually, they were always irrelevant to micro-organisms as their homes were always being disturbed. and there are other disadvantages, one being that raised beds require ongoing maintenance several times a year.

this evening i was having a conversation with a grower. a long term growers. she was saying, well here in this part of the world, you have to have raised beds because it is so wet, the plants drown in the high rainfall.  yes i would have agreed with her any time over the last 20 years.  but that was because i was forever “building soil”.  with woody mulch, the soil does not become water-logged. nor do the nutrients leech out.

do you want easy, maintenance free OR do you want a rod for your back?  Most growers will agree that raised beds are a good idea, if you like that sort of thing – personal choice. Yet there were sound reasons for raising beds, before you got up-to-date with Woody Mulch Method. Once upon a time,  I  also recommended raised beds, along with Colby-Smith. He says:

Raising beds is a simple way to prevent diseases that can affect plants during prolonged wet weather. Low lying ground, clay soils and high water tables all risk water-logging. Raised beds drain freely and assist air percolate into the soil. Conversely, poor drainage increases the risk of roots becoming weakened in saturated, airless soil and vulnerable to disease. Installing drainage is another solution. However well prepared soil is, it’s essential to limit the time it remains saturated. Even moisture-loving plants benefit from drainage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Raised Beds LINKS – i have not yet read





Soil Analysis

soil_compositionOnce you know your soil, analysis and tests  become unnecessary. Until then, they can be your best friend. See the original and full article here.

All Soil Tests are Not Created Equal. Getting the Right Test is Critical!

The health and beauty of a plant or the productivity of a crop is directly related to the health and vitality of the soil in which it grows.

  • When the pH is wrong, nothing works right – not fertilizers, not weed killers, and especially not the biological components within the soil.
  • When the Organic Matter content is low…the soil is unproductive, and crops, trees or turf lack the energy sources to help them grow.
  • When soluble salts and chlorides are too high, the microbes that live in the soil and help aerate and digest dead plant material (turning them into organic material) are killed, thereby increasing soil compaction.
  • When the soil is compacted, not enough air, water or nutrients can enter the root zone, so the plants suffer greatly.
  • When the soluble salts and chlorides are too high, the roots gets burned, significantly
  • reducing the amount of water and nutrients the plant can absorb.
  • When nutrients are out of balance with each other, in either short or excessive supply, or not available for the plant’s use, the plant is not as healthy and therefore more susceptible to disease and insect attacks.
  • When secondary & micro nutrients are lacking, plants are weak and damaged more easily by wear & tear, drought conditions and insect/disease problems.

These conditions cannot be determined accurately unless a comprehensive soil test is taken.

The soil test will determine what unhealthy conditions exist and what corrective actions are required. If corrections are not made:

For Turf – thatch, weed, insect and disease problems will inevitably develop resulting in additional chemical usage, mechanical intervention and unnecessary costs.

For Trees & Shrubs – fewer/smaller blossoms, reduced leaf size and vigor, slower growth and greater likelihood for disease.

For Agriculture – lower yields, increased N-P-K requirements (more expense) reduced nutrient levels, and less drought and disease tolerance.

For Gardens – Whether flowers or vegetables, quantity, quality, shelf life and, in the case of food crops, nutritional content are all impacted by poor soil quality and nutrient imbalance.

When the soil is healthy, all plant life is healthier and more productive, better withstanding climatic and environmental stresses, and insect/disease attacks.