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Allotment-scale ridge & furrow?

 
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NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 8:33 pm    Post subject: Allotment-scale ridge & furrow?  Reply with quote    

Thoughts?

I don't have resources for raised beds, so after considering digging some drainage ditches (that don't really have anywhere to drain to?) I am now wondering about a crude form of ridge/furrow, where the furrows are also the paths, and yes will get flooded, compacted, and trashed. The ridges would be the beds, probably 3-4 feet wide, running the whole length of the allotment. They would be further raised by mulching (I'm doing a basically-no-dig thing, lots of organic matter piled up on top)

Anyone done anything like this?

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 18993
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thats sort of what if do but across the plot.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Any reason for going across rather than longways? It just seems to slope slightly that way so presumably would drain better?

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was always too tight to pay for the shuttering needed to created raised beds on my allotment. So, I pretended, only walking on the 15" wide carpeted bits between my beds.

For a heretical view: http://simonsallotment.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/how-i-garden.html

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yeah, I'm not forking out time and effort to provide slug habitat

The no-dig and mulching is certainly massively increasing the earthworm population though, and anything raised will need to be well-mulched over summer to stop it setting like concrete. Did I mention it was clay?

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 18993
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
Any reason for going across rather than longways? It just seems to slope slightly that way so presumably would drain better?


less of a hike to the middle of the bed. not so far to walk around.

Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

IIRC Bob Flowerdew makes raised beds by shoveling soil into a pile and mulching paths with straw. Then when the straw rots shovels that on top of the bed and so on.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Behemoth wrote:
NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
Any reason for going across rather than longways? It just seems to slope slightly that way so presumably would drain better?


less of a hike to the middle of the bed. not so far to walk around.


sensible.

Maybe I could channel my artistic side and do diagonal stripes?

Mr Flowerdew's methods sound like my kind of style.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41719
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Some sort of plaid?

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 14 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you look at where I've dug out docks and thistle, it's more of a Pollock at the moment.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33018
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 14 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

ahhh splendid

cheap rotting straw is well useful

i have had good results by digging drain/heap bits of land

plant marrows,pumpkin etc in the ditch bits and beans ,toms etc etc in the dry bits

the three sisters method can be adapted to stuff that is good in the uk

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 3977
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 14 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If the ground does slope slightly longway`s,then drainage would serve purpose,
Of ease of access crossways would benefit,

Compromise with a Herringbone,drainage and ease of access.

kGarden



Joined: 01 Dec 2014
Posts: 178
Location: Suffolk, UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 14 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I started with what I know as "lazed raised beds" - no formal retaining sides.

I dug out the paths, a spit's depth, and piled that soil onto the beds and that was that. Manure then added on top annually, some digging took place but not routinely.

Heavy clay here, only any use for modelling!, the plot was land that had been rough grass for 50 years at least. The beds drained well from the get-go and have improved as the soil structure has improved. We never walk on the beds which are 4' wide (touted as maximum easy reach when worked from either side). The plot is flat so the paths don't drain downhill, as such, but seemed to work to drain the beds by virtue of being a few inches lower.

I let grass grow on the, lowered, paths which I mow once in a while as I find that works better for me than having any path coating that will pick up on muddy boots in winter (when I leave the grass fairly long to act as an absorbing layer).

Only downsides are that the shoulders of the bed collapse into the paths, a bit, over a couple of years and need striping and piling back onto the beds; it is hard-ish to plant ON the shoulders so some space wasted; and no break-line between bed and path, so the grass from path tends to creep back into the edges of the beds.

I came-across some timber a year or two back, so I've tarted mine up now, but they were fine for the half dozen years before that.


Lazy raised beds


Tarting up


NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 14 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks good!

I have just remembered that running along the far side of a long edge there is a (relatively v. small) field drainage ditch, I'll have to see if that goes anywhere but if so it seems an obvious place to drain in to.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4287
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 14 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What do we think about a dip in the top of each ridge to take kitchen waste? It is bokashi-ed, so already starting to break down, and I create a lot of veg peelings etc that refuse to stay neatly in the actual compost heap

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