In the three months ending April, we have grown and eaten 8 types of vegetables totalling 50kg. Not a great achievement to report you might think until you recall that this has been a land barren of trees and plants- let alone, vegetables- for as long as anyone can remember. There is a sense of having wrought this modest success, with limited water, manpower and biomass resources. It has been possible because great knowledge came from the late Emilia Hazelip and tremendous energy and commitment from young Karpagam and Sriram.
Emilia began studying Fukuoka’s method of growing food. She stated his fundamental principles of natural agriculture to be these four: no tilling, no weeding, no artificial fertiliser or pesticide. Do read her insightful statement How does one practice this on a large scale? One doesn’t; one begins with a small area that is manageable consistent with the above four principles. [Scaling up is ideally achieved with a large number of small-scale practitioners -everyone, if possible- instead of a few at industrial scale ‘modern’ agriculture, as now.] Holding the four principles firmly in view, Emilia came upon the idea of growing vegetables on raised beds.
In early January, 2010 I built the first two raised beds at pointReturn. There were a few surplus arecanut slats left over from the pavilion construction. I used these for raising the sides of the bed. The bed was located at the head of a slope. Each bed is 4′ wide and 7′ feet long. The width enables reaching from either side without stepping on the bed. Walkways between the beds are provided for the same reason. The walkway is mulched to prevent weed growth.
4 thoughts on “Raised bed vegetable growing”
good to have you notice this article and comment on it. you have been my unseen companion on this project since 2007 and i hope you show up one day to see it in person.
in the meantime, despite knowing your inventive, imaginative, colour inspired skills from your mails to me, i was not prepared for this breathtaking raised bed, art installation! but then, you never cease to surprise me!
There is a wonderful thing about raised beds, in the creative realm too. I have made them in California and in South Florida where much of the peninsula is coral rock under 8-9″ of topsoil. The exterior panels that hold in the earth, can be made as a beautiful set of frames, visually surrounding the planting. I made some with timbers holding the soil and then tree branches lashed in cris-cross pattern around the outside of the stained boards. I used cobalt blue stain on the boards, that looked beautiful in a month after it faded into a denim color. Then the branches were stripped and blonde in color. The contrast between the materials was wonderful. Artistic choices nurture the soul don’t they? So happy you have your wonderful crops! You are the crown royalty of dried earth invention DV, and Karpagam and Sriram!
Well, the raised beds should do well in the rain compared to anything at ground level. The soil inside the raised bed will drain out much better than anything at ground level!
I have been following the activities at pointReturn for about two years now and it always cheers me up to think of people doing such wonderful work. Hope some day I can implement some of this at whatever scale possible!!!