|Planted side-beds in a previous greenhouse that Chris built and managed.|
|Creating raised beds with salvaged lumber.|
Step 2: With leaves that people have donated, we lay down a layer about 4" thick, the full length of the beds.
Step 3: Next we added a layer of rabbit manure. One five-pound bucket per six-feet of bed, spread evenly (Sometimes it clumps so you have to break it up with a spade fork or your hands.) We are fortunate to have a rabbitry in our neighborhood (Julia Sunkler - "My Pharm") where we can go shovel large quantities of manure for use in our gardens. Rabbit manure is preferable because grass seeds do not survive their digestive tracts. If you don't have access to rabbit manure, cow, llama and chicken are also excellent (for the same reason). Horse manure is the least desirable as, unless it has been well-composted, weed seeds are still viable and can be a major problem in your garden. (Update: Since writing this post in 2011, we have almost phased out using animal manures entirely and are using coffee grounds and wood-ashes to build soil fertility. Coffee grounds are available for free from most coffee-shops and can be applied liberally in garden-beds and compost piles; worms love them!).
Step 4: Using a hand-held pump sprayer, or one of those hose attachments that allows you to spray a mist, spray evenly a strong solution of fish emulsion, liquid seaweed and water on your garden beds.
Step 5: If you have a small tiller, that you can easily run in your beds, mix everything together at this time. We don't have a small tiller so we are using something called a broad fork. This is an indestructible hand tool that is excellent for breaking up new soil. It is also great for harvesting potatoes. If you don't have a broad fork, you can loosen the soil with a spade fork instead. It will just take you a lot longer. If you have heavy, clay soil, be sure to wait until it has drained a bit or you will end up with heavy, brick-like clumps.
|A broad fork in action.|
|"Red Wigglers", our micro-livestock.|
|Finished job (for now!)|