Since we started growing food on Veg Hill, we’ve struggled with weeds. In particular, our practice of organic no-till horticulture using 4-foot rows and 2-foot aisles has left us vulnerable to weeds encroaching from the aisles into the rows. Add to that a summer like the one now ending (mercifully), during which a vexing series of family emergencies and health crises has kept us from spending the time we needed to on Veg Hill, and we’ve basically just lost control of the weeds.
Our first plan was simply to do a “reboot,” pulling the trellises and drip tape to mow down the weeds, disking to uproot them, and then re-establishing the same rows and aisles. We changed our plan, though, after a suggestion from our friend and fellow Master Gardener Mary McCroan that we use raised beds. We agreed almost instantly.
Raised beds will give us a clear division between the turf where we walk (and that I mow) and the soil in which Amanda plants, tends, and harvests vegetables. Raised beds will also, we hope, give Veg Hill a spiffier, more organized look. An extra bonus for me is that we’re laying out the beds with enough room between them so I can mow everything on Veg Hill with my walk-behind Quick Dually. No more need to maintain or use a narrower mower just for Veg Hill!
- Here’s the Organic Moments video showing the construction of the raised beds we built for our friend Jean. Our prototype bed will be 4 ft by 16 feet, the same width as the ones in the video but twice as long.
- Here’s the ACES pamphlet on raised bed gardening in Alabama.