I’ve been reading up on everything permaculture for a while and slowly drip feeding the principles into the design and construction of our vegetable garden.
One of our biggest challenges has been couch grass – it is persistent, deep rooted and in the way. We used the first set of pigs to move a lot of it but since I’ve discovered No Dig gardening I’ve been looking for other ways to reclaim patch of ground for vegetables. Which is where I came upon the idea of the circle bed.
The idea is simple and I constructed one and planted it up inside an hour – so time efficient when you are grabbing gardening time when the baby goes for a nap
I started with a circle of cardboard roughly 1 meter in diameter. Simply made using a drawing pin, a little over 1/2 a metre of string and a pencil. I tied the pencil to one end of the string, attached the other to the centre of my piece of cardboard and then keeping the string taught, sketched out a circle.
Then I soaked the cardboard in water and popped it straight on the grass in the location I picked out – near the other vegetable bed but with plenty of room to move around.
Then I piled up 1 wheelbarrow of well rotted horse manure and then a layer of 60 litres of compost.
After that it was easy to shape with a bit of watering and I patted it down like a giant sandcastle. I made little terraces for the seeds and then smoothed them over.
Because the circle bed is only 1 metre in diameter and heaped in the centre you never have to walk on it (and so avoid compacting the soil). The mound creates 3 growing areas, near the base for shorter rooted plants like lettuce, 6-8 inches up the side for longer rooted things (I’ve chose Mooli and Carrots) and the very top where I’ll probably plant a Cavelo Nero, or maybe a squash plant, or maybe a cucumber – who knows!
In the end it was a squash plant…
The first bed I made I used a straw mulch as suggested in the book. Then I realised that the book was for Australian gardeners who use the straw to reflect sunlight (less of a concern in the UK!). Therefore I’ve pulled it to one side to let more light and warmth in and I’m hoping it will create a slug obstacle course. When I made the second bed I skipped the straw layer entirely.
The second bed has nasturtiums plants in the top which I am hoping will cascade down the mound creating ground cover and making it look beautiful. Cross your fingers this all works!