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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Our new salad bed

We just got done building raised beds for our spring mix. Being in a new place means our market garden beds will be weedy and one thing we cannot have in the spring mix beds is a lot of weeds. Been there, done that and got a lot of low quality salad that I had to spend a great deal of time picking out grass and other weedy material such as thistle.

I have been worried we would not be able to grow any spring mix this spring because of the weeds but I did not want to face several more months of no Boulder Belt spring mix. It is one of my favorite things to grow and eat. Oh sure I could go to the store and buy over priced tasteless organic mix but every time I do I go away terribly disappointed. I end up tossing out at least 1/3 of the bag and, as I already mentioned, compared to the stuff we grow it is tasteless greens.

So 3 days ago I was outside thinking about how to go about growing some salad and thought why not a couple of small raised beds filled with out soil block mix? I told Eugene my idea and at first he did not get what I was talking about-skinny beds filled with clean growing medium. he asked how he would till such narrow beds (they are 22" wide) beds and I said there would be no need to till them. We would build frames, line them with something to block weeds from coming up through the bottom of the beds and fill them with a clean growing medium. Once he understood what I was talking about he was on board.

We happen to have a pile of some very clean compost and a bale of peat moss as well as two huge bags of perlite for the growing medium. we also have a lot of junk lumber sitting around waiting to either rot or be burned. So at 11am this morning we started building the beds. We put together some old siding to make the sides of the beds, lined the beds with tar paper and filled them with compost peat, perlite and some minerals. At 5pm the beds were ready to be planted and I put in the brassica part of the mix. the lettuces will be planted in 4 or 5 days as they take less time to grow than the mizuna, tat soi, red mustard and arugula and we want all the greens to be ready to cut at the same time. Because we do not anticipate any weeds we scattered seed all over the bed so we will have a thick mat of greens covering the entire bed.

With a bit of luck we should be cutting our first salads the first week of May. I can hardly wait, we have not had any spring mix since last spring.

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