Episode-2384- Building Soil Fertility, Biology and Structure in the Garden — 14 Comments

  1. Question: what are the advantages of building an enclosed growing bed inside a square wooden frame as shown in the photo verses just having the plants all growing on a flat level ground (similar to how crops are planted in a field) ?

    Maybe the question is answered in the podcast which I will get a chance to listen to uninterrupted on my next day off work.

    • Yes I cover it.  Let me say if you have really good soil it may not make sense to do a raised bed.

      Raised beds let you bring in a LOT of additional soil and to me anyway they are easier to keep weeded with a clear boundary.

      My grandfather’s garden was almost a quarter acre and we had good PA soil.  We would have never done a raised bed there.

      • Excellent answer, I hadn’t thought about the weed aspect.

        Also I’m guesding it is a little easier to do sowing, weeding and harvesting on a raised bed because one does not have to stoop down as low.

        I would also imagine that the clay in the raised bed does not pack as much because it does not get walked on.

        Also, when the wood eventually rots, it will turn into organic matter and help the soil.

        I am going to build a few of these this year from old scaffolding planks.

        • “I would also imagine that the clay in the raised bed does not pack as much because it does not get walked on.”

          Great point and one I forgot to mention.  You may never walk in your beds but your friends, visitors, kids, kids friends will.  Funny thing though you define that space and only total assholes will walk in it and you simply then  know to toss them from your property.

          It is even far easier to train dogs to stay out of raised beds.  I did train my Britney when I was a kid to not go into garden beds.  He was great he’d walk the paths between the beds perfectly, but it was a lot of work to get there.  And this dog was exceptional.

          With raised beds it takes very little to teach a dog, don’t go to this spot.

          Cats are another matter.  I recommend this,

  2. A small defense for Paul Gatschi’s back to eden stuff that I think is misrepresented in the film. I don’t think his opinion is that the wood chips “miraculously” maintain a good moisture level or do any of the other good stuff they do. The impression I have gotten from watching a number of different farm tours of his property is that ad a Christian he believes that an omniscient, loving and logical God designed the world and hydrodynamics and trees cellular structure in such a way to promote continuing life in highly complex ecosystems. I personally am also a Christian and I do view the way that Sylviculture, farmed or maintained forest, environments are nearly self maintaining seems miraculous and points to an intelligent designer. I will agree that some follow back to eden gardening in a cult like way but I think this is not due to Paul Gautschi and I doubt he approves of the border line worship he personally receives. I really appreciate what he has done to publicize permaculture practices and I think he gets a bad rap as someone who says everything is a miracle.

    • You are welcome to your opinion, but when someone says that osmosis is a God thing that can’t be explained I am done.

      • That is reasonable and I certainly won’t turn this into a theological debate. I have found that those sorts of conversations never go well unless done in person. I have a large amount of respect for all this that you have put together and am a nearly daily listener. Thank you for what you do.

        • I have learned to not get offended by Jack’s sometimes slightly blund replies.

          For me Jack’s knowledge, research and genius and good advise far outweighs everything else.

          The thing about Jack is you have to learn how to ‘take him’.

          After a few years you learn to understand that Jack is a rare one of a kind but very useful to have around.


        • FWIW I think and have said I find all of this to be miracles of creation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t explain them.  I also think that people who talk to god are sane.  I think people that talk to god and hear an inner voice they know is there own but feel it is a way god helps them are sane.  But I think people that actually think they audibly hear god speaking to them, well, ya know, may need some counseling.

          I agree it is a good thing also that he brought so many to gardening.  I don’t really think he brought most to permaculture but it is  dang good start.  I am still back to when you call mulch and compost a special method it makes that which is simple confusing to the average person.

  3. For those of you that are doing (or have done) raised beds, and would like to try something a little more durable than wooden boxes, I just came across this: – Concrete garden box panels

    Could be a nice little project while you wait for spring. =)

  4. Im in Aussie, not sure whether I can get all the products mentioned, but can get equivalent hopefully. Where does blood and bone, chicken manure come into picture? My garden consists of soil from chook pen, and composted leaves with worm castings every now and then, has lots of biological activity but I’ve never fine tuned, just added the blood and bone every so often, haven’t had great bumper crops, so am going to go all the way this time. Coming into winter here, but I am in temperate climate.

    • Blood and bone is a GREAT organic fertilizer, I have nothing bad to say about it, frankly I used it all the time until I found Dr. Earth which is a more holistic product.

      Again don’t pay stupid prices for my products find local available stuff and go with it.

  5. Cannot find green sand, lava sand locally.

    1 Gallon : Dr. Earth Pot of Gold All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 1 Gallon
    $577.50 from Amazon Australia

    Wow – that’s alot! Must have gold in it.

    Liquinox 7128 Fish Emulsion 5-1-1 Fertilizer, 1-Gallon

    Do you recommend all things to be organic?

    Is it just as good to get seaweed from ocean for biological and mineral boost?
    Thanks Jack.

    • Gonna say you need to find a similar product available where you are. Don’t pay that much the stuff is good it isn’t that good.

      Yes always organic as a minimum standard.

      Check what is available to you where you are. Improvise, adapt, overcome.