Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Importance of Making Your Bed

According to Steve Quirt's wife, he cannot make his bed at home. (Note to mothers: do not promote learned helplessness by making your sons' beds for them)

Fortunately, Steve makes his farm beds expertly. Here he is in action:

Steve's advice:

- Make your bed somewhere about three feet wide (Wendy Johnson promotes wide beds - at least 4 feet wide because, she says,they narrow over time.) Steve says the key is to make them a width that allows you to reach across as you plant.

- Leave only 12 inches of space between your rows. We're going for maximum fertility and productivity so you don't want too much space on the pathways

- add a few inches of lovely finished compost to the bed (organic matter!)

- "edge" the bed and fortify it, using a shovel to firm up the soil on the sides of the bed

- Use a rake and smooth out the top of the bed. The back of the rake is good for this as well. In Steve's opinion, it is better to make the top of the bed flat, or even slightly concave, than mounded.

- Now, carefully make your way across the bed "typewriter style" with a fork, lightly turning the compost into the top of the soil.

- You are reading to plant your starts. In this case, we were planting lettuce. Steve tucked them in approximately four inches, or a hands width apart. We're aiming to cover the entire surface of the bed. (And the good news with lettuce is that Baby Lettuce leaves are highly desirable, so you are using the produce as you thin)


The Beds of Indian Valley Organic Farm

Turning Buckwheat (cover crop) in

Adding a middle line to a bed

THANK YOU Pam Scott and Lynn Tomkins for the photos

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