Raised bed vegetable growing


The beds are filled with fluffy good soil, enriched with compost and leafy matter. Once filled it is never again turned over unless absolutely necessary[-such as when heavy rain compacts it]. Left to itself, the bed gains fertility by the interaction of soil animals, leafy matter, moisture, air and light. The top of the soil is heavily mulched. After vegetables are harvested, plant remnants are returned to the bed.Thus you have an area that can abide by the four principles and thrive.

January was a good month to build the beds. The rains had been copious and our storage tank was surplusing. I rigged out a way to lead the overflow to a pot and thence to a shallow ditch I dug upslope of the bed.The idea was to make the water flow underneath the bed and let capillary action suck the water up. The weather was cool, tomato and chilli saplings throve.

However the best thing by far about January was that Karpagam and Sriram came over to pointReturn as long term volunteers. For months before moving in, they had been reading up and apprenticing themselves in ongoing vegetable growing projects. Knowledge and conviction make a heady mix; they were unstoppable once they arrived. Within days, they focused on gathering biomass, quick compostinng them with cowdung and urine, and building more raised beds. Most of all, they took on the responsibility for what they began. For the first time, pointReturn has been manned 24×7 since they arrived. I could see how that care and commitment is acknowledged by the land.

4 thoughts on “Raised bed vegetable growing

  1. hello carolyn…
    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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!!

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