Tuesday, December 8, 2015

COVERING RAISED BEDS FOR WINTER

OK, so the bee incident took part of my day, but Saturday I was finally able to get the raised beds covered and put to sleep for Winter.  We are going to try a different method.  We thought about using hay, thought about plastic sheeting with staples, etc, but decided to do something different...and hopefully reusable, season after season.  It cost a bit more, each panel was about $11 and we needed sixteen but hopefully it will be a great investment for the future. 





First I put down some kraft paper that I had on a roll (it''s thick and acts like a cardboard layer might). Then I topped that with some good compost. 

Then I put another layer of kraft paper on top of the compost (missed that photo but it looks the same as above, ha) and then topped that with a bag of soil blend made for raised beds.  All that was left was to smooth it out with a rake.

Now here is where I decided to do something a little different.  I bought an 8' long corrugated plastic panel.  It's the kind that people make awnings and covered patios with.  I cut it in half (easier said than done, more on that in another post).




By cutting the panel in half, I ended up with two 4' long pieces and since they are about 26" wide, they overlap and fit perfectly from edge to edge of the beds.



Hey, I finally found a use for a few of the bricks we have laying around the property...I put some on each corner to keep the panels from blowing off during some future windstorm.
Corrugated plastic panel on raised bed
Because they don't form a flat seal against the sides of the bed, it will still allow for air circulation.  Hopefully this will keep the soil healthy while it's not in use for possibly several months at a time.

Raised beds covered for Winter with corrugated plastic
Here is one side of the garden all covered and ready to go.  Of course, the other side looks the same.  Grass is creeping back but with the first freezes coming soon, that will be taken care of naturally.  Then next Spring we can work on getting mulch down again.

Corrugated Plastic Panels
If this works, these panels will be great because, as you see in the photo below, this is all of them stacked up.  They don't take up much room at all, and so we can just remove them when growing season starts (as many or as few as we need), stack them together and put them up in the barn until needed again.  

16 comments:

  1. Looks great. Don't use hay or you'll never get all the weeds/seeds out. Only straw. You are going to reap much from those beds.

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  2. Looking great :) Hopefully you open them up to weed free (or less) beds next Spring.

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  3. Looking good and the beds are all put to bed for the winter. :}Great idea on use of them panels.
    If you have a loft in one of your sheds, you can just slide the panels up above and out of the way till next time.
    Them panels will also come handy when planting young seedlings to keep critters from digging in the soil plus the seedlings will still be able to receive light through the panels as well as moisture. Kinda like a mini greenhouse effect. Panels will be helpful in warming up the soil as well.
    Once the seedlings get well established and start to grow you can remove the panels and put back in storage.

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  4. wow...i need you in my gardens! you are so much neater than i am!

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  5. what a great job you did,, very impressive!

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  6. If this works out well, but you get tired of messing with the bricks... or if they don't hold the panels in place in high winds, might try flip latches ... like old style screens had to hold them in place on the outside of window frame ... Very cool .... and like that you can use them for starting seeds etc too ... good job!!! And all this after the bee episode too!! I'd have had to retire to the front porch with drink in hand!!!

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  7. Looks wonderful but I'd get some black plastic sheeting under those covers. You've created a lovely greenhouse and those weeds will absolutely come through the brown paper. Trust me, I've done paper, many layers of paper, and temporarily it works, but the only thing that will keep weeds out and weaken the ones that do come up around the edges of your boxes is that heavy black plastic. It comes in a huge roll and you can cut little X's to plant your seedlings then mulch around the opening in the spring.

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    1. I agree that you may have created a greenhouse effect. I have used clear plastic and weeds definitely came up.

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  8. Sorry to hear about your beehive problem. Hopefully, the Queen is okay to keep the hive going. Not sure I'd use kraft paper, as I've used newspaper in between garden rows and it worked until the paper disintegrated. I use grass clippings and shredded maple leaves anymore, as they can be tilled into the soil in spring. Now, on the your great news, Congrats!!! Hope your offers get you what you want. Have a great week. M

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  9. You were VERY busy over the weekend! The garden looks so neat and tidy - and ready for its' long winter nap!

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  10. Is that clear plastic panels? If so, the weeds will thank you for a nice warm place to germinate--a baby weed nursery! It does look neat!

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  11. I love your idea, but please tell me how you cut the plastic panels without breaking them?

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    1. It's funny you ask, I have a post coming up on that next week, but I used tin snips. I'll put the post up either Monday or Tuesday with details. Thx!!

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