Our land is beautiful, however the soil is clay. There is no rich, dark brown, worm lively soil here!
We had two options (well three actually but not growing food was discounted)...
1. Change the soil we had with lots of digging and adding drainage
2. Make new raised garden beds with no digging
Our backs are pleased we decided on option number 2. It also means the water that flows down our land when it rains won't wash our produce away, we don't have to bend over so much when picking produce and most importantly we will know what exactly is in the soil we are growing our food in.
After reading around about the "no dig" garden bed idea I was inspired by Nicola Chatham , a local lovely lady who happens to have a recipe for an organic no dig bed.
We followed it fairly closely however we were not as accurate with quantities (oops). We couldn't find the rock minerals (since found at Diggers) so added a chook poop & minerals blend, which must be delicious because the dog can't get enough of it! Also we had fewer worm castings but quite a few worms. The molassis was sourced from a stock feed shop cheap and we had plenty of cardboard boxes from the move. We had been building up leaf and green waste piles for a few weeks so we added some of that on the bottom too.
The frame was built with the steel walls taken from our house (an entry room removed) by one talented and handsome husband and will be filled in with some bamboo soon. All was watered in by tank water and we waited a week or two, checking it stayed moist.
I have planted the Nasturtium (great for veg gardens) and Kale and the boys popped in their beans and corn because we had these in pots ready to go and so far they are loving it.
I have started reading up on Permaculture ideas and on companion planting, but this is a work in progress and we will just start growing some things and learn as we go.
I also planted the cut off bottom of a bunch of celery and it is growing more celery from the middle.
I ordered some seeds from Green Harvest, randomly selected things that we like to eat or would like to try growing, so in the next few weeks we will start some seed sowing, once I work out which ones sow direct and which ones in seed trays.
We also had a few fruit trees we wanted to plant and heaps of passionfruit that we want to use to hide the large monster of a shed, so we used the same no dig recipe and some of the bamboo we thinned out. It is a race to see which one reaches the top first ,"survival of the fittest".
Trying to use everything we have is quite interesting and challenging sometimes, but rewarding in the end.
Three more beds have been set out, placed on angles because of the natural water flow, it can get quite soggy down here and the citrus won't like that, although I am told they don't mind a bit of clay. We have a lemon, lime, blood orange and hopefully some berry trees to go in this area and whatever else tickles our fancy in the future.