Monthly Archives: January 2015

Raised bed workshop – CASAdelDRAGON

The colour of garden of the artist residence CASAdelDRAGON is – above all social aspects – a place of research. The goal is the utilization of a derelict garden. Different strategies for recovery of soil – quality and fertility – will be experimentally investigated simultaneously.

As part of this research, a raised bed was designed. 20 years ago a big fire devastated large tracts of land (more than 600 ha in the region). There are still many tree trunks (olive, carob, walnut). The partially charred trunks are little rot and not suitable to heat up as firewood. In conjunction with other bio mass (thorny creepers that grew on the fringes of the garden) these woods are a good basis for a raised bed.

raised bed - step 1

raised bed – step 1

In a first step we collected the organic material in a bigger quantity. We applied a trench and laid the excavation of soil aside.

raised bed - step 2

raised bed – step 2

In a third step we filled up the open trench with the bigger pieces of wood.

raised bed - step 3

raised bed – step 3

We continued to fill the gaps between the bigger wood pieces with little organic material.

raised bed - step 4

raised bed – step 4

Then we coated a layer of humus from the Moorish water channel and better soils over the wood.

raised bed - step 5

raised bed – step 5

We placed the organic material on top and filled up the gaps between the layers with bigger pieces of wood.

raised bed - step 6

raised bed – step 6

In the last step we covered the mix of organic material with the soil of the excavation. The little hole in front of the raised bed will be used as a window to monitor the condition of the wood inside.

The raised bed offer zones with different moisture levels. The top of the bed is more dry, at the edge of the bed it is more damp. The wood will store the rain water and this water is very very slowly submitted to its surroundings. The organic stuffing is working like a giant sponge which release large amounts of moisture very slowly to the bed and the plants.

At the same time stuffing provides useful tools (fungi, insects) in an interesting area of settlement. The material will decay slowly over years and gives the garden a large amount of humus.

We placed different plants in different areas of the raised bed and we will document in the future condition and evolution of this strategy.