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.