I am trying my own version of raised bed, square foot, compost gardening. I have so far made three raised beds 53 inches wide by 100 or so inches long. They have first been lined with card board. On top of this I have piled to the hight of the edging brick, uncomposted rabbit manure. On top of this I will pile leaves which are free for the taking. Usually already bagged. The idea here is to only till in the fall when we start the whole process again, cardboard, manure, leaves.

Planting will be as simple as pushing the rotted leaves to the side and dropping in the seeds. Weeding should be easy as the cardboard will have taken care of most of the weeds that were there already. I will just have to watch for new ones. I plan to use the square foot gardening idea when it comes to planting. This way I wont have the possiblity to over plant which I am seriously guilty of. Ok here’s the questions? Do you think this will work? What are the pit falls? In digging the rabbit manure I uncovered worms the size of my first finger and twice as long as any I have ever seen. This is a good sign!

I’ve done many of the same things getting mybeds up and running, only using sheep manure rather than rabbit, but with the worms also oming on strong. Depending upon the leaf type, you may have to watch and adjust pH. The oak leaves here in CT tend to acidify a garden. I woud watch the leaf source though, just o be sure youdon;t get anything that was sprayed with an undesirable chemical. My town did leaf composting, and more than leaves crept in to the pile. If you have enough grass clippings, they can be a boon as well, both blocking weeds and adding nutrition and tilth.

Have just bought a house with a massive yard that I’d like to convert into gardens, raised beds, walkways, etc…Starting with a raised bed…here is what I’ve done so far: Put down newspaper on the grass, topsoil/manure on top of thaat, and mulch on that. I will be collecting leaves and grass clippings also…will this suffice for planting next spring? Will I need to till this area next year?

I wouldn’t till it. The less tilling the better with bed gardening. It’s the way Mother Nature herself makes soil richer. When you till, you chop up worms and other soil life that helps enrich the soil. Some tilling is needed at times. But for your basic beds, you don’t have to till. Sounds like you’ve added most of the nutrients plants need to survive. I’d suggest you just punch a hole thru your covering after you pull back your mulch, plant into the soil, tuck the newspaper or whatever your basic ground cover is, back around the plant, then leave off the mulch until the ground warms, at which time you will pull the mulch back around the plants, and keep adding more mulch. In the fall, don’t pull the plants up, cut them off level with the ground and leave the roots in the earth to add their nutrients back to the soil, and leave little tunnels for water to trickle down into.

There is a technique called Lasagna Composting that, in effect, builds compost in place in a raised bed and you just plant right into it. You might check lumber yards for sawdust to add to your compost as well as grass clippings, kitchen scraps (no meat or grease), and anything else you can think of. I use this method with great success, have no weeds in the raised areas and HUGE tomato plants still producing.

We laid down cardboard – then a high ash content soil with lottsa worms then some paper over that then a 50/50 of soil and ash then mulch, we raised the tomatoes and other vegies in pots to about 1 Ft then planted them in the newly formed garden, everything grew way beyond what would be considered normal, all organic and yery easy to maintain.