Re: [gardeners] Raised beds and rototilling???

Victoria Okeef (
Sat, 19 Sep 1998 12:22:20 -0700 (PDT)

> This fall as soon as I have harvested all my veggies I am going to take
> down my raised beds on the south side of the house.  I plan on taking
> all the beds down then adding compost and leaves and rototilling the
> heck out of it - get a real good fluffly mix.  My question is this: 
> Should I build my new beds this fall after I have rototilled or should I
> wait until spring?  The beds are located on the south side and it is
> quite dry on that side of the house.

 I'm kind of curious (as Barbara is) why you are taking down the raised
beds. I have 40 sq. feet of raised boxes (24" deep in varying sizes from
2'x3', 1'x3', 1'x8', to 2'x4', etc. with used brick walks around them.
Each fall, I harvest all the vegies or cut flowers I grow there, dig in
(to a depth of about 1') compost and aged steer manure, and then plant a
cover crop like cereal rye. I turn the latter over in early spring. This
adds more organic matter to the soil as it rots and is usually ready to
plant in late March to early April. There is one 1'x8' box where I don't
do this other than the compost and steer manure 'cause I plant my hard
neck garlic there in Oct. And some years I leave one of the smaller boxes
to plant lettuce in for the Thanksgiving salad. Your climate is probably
too cold to do that. 

 Anyway, I'd think if you are going to tear down the beds and do all the
rototilling, it would be a good idea to plant a cover crop for the soil,
but you'd need to rototill the cover crop in come spring. I'm not sure,
though, that there is much you could do to prevent the soil from
compacting some, considering the snow that Calgary gets. 

Vicki in Seattle, who's spending the day trying to sort through 25 years
worth of amassed stuff in anticipation of moving to Texas and remembering
a time long, long ago when everything I owned would fit in the back of my
VW bug.