Raised bed vegetable growing

We grew and ate potatos [-a small token crop, really], tomatoes, radish, chillis, radish, flat beans, okra and cow pea. We ate bottle-gourd and pumpkins discovered in the bushes. Yes it was a good growing achievement considering the total raised bed area does not exceed 200 sq.ft. [See their reports and photos here]

But January was also a bad time to get started on vegetable growing. Cool weather lulls you. It can make you forget that generally we have a stifling hot weather most months of the year. To temper their cheer, I did caution Karpagam and Sriram that the following months would try them,

And they do now. The sun is fierce. The subterranean flow under the beds is just not enough. We spend a lot of time hand watering the beds. Yield is declining. But none of that invalidate the raised bed idea. It was merely time to reexamine our approach. We are now discussing corrections we must make:

  • Vegetables’ relationship with seasons matter. Gourds and cucurbits are doing well in the heat; tomato and radish are not
  • Should we try growing under shade-cloth, to foil the sun?
  • Should we try sprinklers or drippers for cooling down the plants,besides watering them?
  • What safeguards have we against pounding rains?
  • Did we crowd the beds? What is the best spacing?
  • What of companion planting?
  • Does the stiff, reedy mulch needs to be shredded?

What remains unchanged is the conviction that Fukuoka’s four principles are the keys to growing quality food in good quantities.

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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