I have started "carving" beds for this years onion and
shallot planting. Not to ask too stupid a question, but
how deep should I make the beds? Would 10" be enough?
(It has to accommodate all kinds of vegetable scraps at
And since I will be putting vegetable scraps at the bottom,
how long should I wait before planing the bulbs? Can I
do it the same day?
I missed that!
"... depth of at least 8 in., preferably 12 in."
I am about 8 inches down. The rocks have become
pretty big and take about 20 minutes of work to
I tell myself I will only have to do this once.
The other part of me says, but you will continue
to expand and have to do this over and over and
over. I am reminded of farms I have seen with
rock walls made from rocks they dug out. I must
have taken them years!
To answer your question, it is because this endless recession has
hit me so hard that I can not afford it. I can barely buy food
for the family. Manual labor: I have in good supply.
And if I don't push the envelope, I will never learn anything.
This group has good teachers.
After doing it this way, I agree with Songbird's assessment
on raised beds. So, it was a blessing in disguise.
As for small containers, my manual labor substitute is to "carve"
out holes (I call them ground pots) and beds in my rocks/dirt
(I would not call it soil). Ground pots are cheap and they don't
blow over. They also have good drainage. And, I am not
prepping places I don't use.
I pile the bottom full of weeds and vegetable table scraps.
Then I mix in my high Ph dirt with organic fertilizer and
peat moss (a form of vegi table scraps plus a few 100,000
So, far, it is working marvelously. I got decent peppers
and egg plant this year. The zukes are still a bit
slow on producing, but I hae so many that I have been
freezing about have what I cook up now for about three weeks.
As I said, this group has good teachers.
Hopefully, the recession's back will be broken here in a
few months with the coming change of power in our government.
8 is probably plenty (i don't ever see onion
roots going down that far when i pull ours). maybe
that extra depth is for the garlic...
yes, remember, to start with, all was molten rock,
without wind/water and plate techtonics we'd not
use the rocks to make wind blocks. your plants
won't have to struggle so hard and the area will
hold more moisture longer.
all of our rocks were brought here by trucks
and cars (and once in a while a cement mixer as they
can chute crushed limestone nicely :) ).
there may be rocks down deeper but they are covered
by layers of coal, salt, sand, clay, etc. the glaciers
left a few here or there.
since i didn't answer this part and haven't seen
it addressed elsewheres...
when you use veggie scraps it depends upon what
type they are as to how far and how much time you
would give it.
the wetter and more fungi or other questionable
things going on the further away and more time you
want to put them from your bulbs. how much stuff
you putting down there? an inch or less?
because i worm compost the veggie scraps here
they can be planted right into directly (worm poo
is dominated by bacterial species which will die
off as the worm poo ages -- similar to how human
poo bacteria will also die off as the poo ages, but
i would never plant human food directly into human
so given that information and further thoughts
i generally only isolate things that are going to
actively ferment and rot (green stuff, fruit scraps,
spoiling meats, fungi laden stuff) from the plants
and seeds by about four to six inches of dirt.
as the stuff rots the dirt settles, so i also leave
some extra up top to compensate for that.
oh, meat stuff i would bury deeper so that the
critters/flies don't smell it or dig it up.
this all reminds me, i have a bucket of tomato
trimmings to bury. :)
I chop it up with a shovel. It comes out to about
1 to 3 inches loose packed when I am done. Then I
cover it up with dirt mixed with peat. (I don't have
leftover extra dirt, as at least half of the dirt is
The vegi scraps consist of avocado skins and seeds (which
I whack with the back of my ax), jicama skins, tomato
rinds, failed zuke fruit, lettuce trimmings, parsley
stalks, garlic wrappers, ends of carrots, ends of
cucumbers, purslane stems, bolted purslane (whole plant),
pepper ends, melon rinds, and so and and so forth. Plus
any weed that was foolish enough to invade my garden (not
dandelions as I am afraid they will sprout). I
keep a bag I fill with vegi scraps as I cook.
And, I plant about 4" above the scraps. The idea is that
when the root get long enough to reach the scraps, they
will be broken down.
The one time I have to dig up one of my holes to make
it deeper, I only found one onion skin that had not
decomposed. The rest had vanished. The hole was about
two weeks old.
I really do not know what the effect of a new plant
would be sitting on top of a bunch of vegi scraps. I
would like to not wait so long that nutrients get washed
away before the plants above it can take advantage.
But then again, I do not know what I am doing.
leave the dandelions out on the surface. in
your climate they'll dry out soon enough, then
they can be buried.
yeah. probably ok as long as it doesn't
overheat or the gases or liquids from fermenting
don't mess up germination or get a fungi
going too close to the surface (before the
seeds can sprout).
melon rinds go really quick. in the worm
buckets here they're gone within three days
most of the time. other items persist longer
(carrot ends or potato pieces can persist for
quite some time if the ground is cool and damp)
pretty much any root crop if it isn't cooked,
frozen, dried or ground up may persist a while
until the fungi or other soil critters break
it down a bit. worms may nibble a little at
some things, but generally they don't eat
live plant material (some worm species will
drag leaves/grasses into their burrows, but it
is primarily food for the bacteria in their
there is a huge amount of energy in food
scraps for other animals/bacteria/fungi. even
after it is fermented or digested by something
else, what remains can often fuel another few
rounds of various creatures/etc finishing up.
when you look at what happens when plants
photosynthesize and what the various chemical
compounds are created and all that energy gets
stored in one way or another. even the hard
to digest stuff like cellulose has a lot of
potential energy/chemical compounds useful to
My main concern was for my onion and shallot beds.
The nights are in the 40's F now and the days in the 70
to 80's F, I do not know how much heat I will be creating
in the beds. I am racing to make sure I am ready when my
order of bulbs arrives. I won't back fill until they do.
I also am including tomatillo wrappers too. They have
FINALLY started to ripen. (I shake the bushes and
pick up whatever falls off.) We eat them like cherry
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