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Raised Bed into Fruit Garden Ground Cover


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I have an old raised bed that was in the bottom of our garden put in by the builders when we moved in. 
its about 10ft long, 4ft wide and 3ft deep, it was filled with horrible back fill clay and rubble laden backfill. 
 

I have tried growing some veg and such - strawberries,  corn and lettuce seem to grow ok everything else stalls or dies. 
 

I have tried clay breaker but it has no effect. 
 

Removing that amount of soil and dumping a couple of ton of clean fertile soil will probably cost a small fortune. 
 

I was thinking of making a fruit garden with some miniature fruit trees and some strawberry plants. 
could I cover the soil with some membrane, plant the trees and fruit bushes then cover with chipping just to neaten it up a bit? 

Edited by ph5172
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If you're not in a huge hurry and have access to a decent amount of grass cuttings you could easily "grow" your own soil in it once emptied.

A layer of brash/sticks/thin boughs on the bottom (no membrane), then a layer of straw, then 6 inches of manure. Then heap in as much cut grass as you can and keep topping up with more as it packs down.  Keeping it covered with an old carpet will help.  A lot of people pee on their raised beds (no comment). Others pour on cheap tomato feed and even full fat cola as it boosts the composting process.  After a year you'll have incredibly rich and fertile soil.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the idea. 
 

The cost of hiring a skip to dispose of the soil that’s taken out is the prohibitive part. 
Clean soil delivered  and bagged over the wall isn’t actually that expensive in real terms. 
 

the picture below is September time and gives an idea of size and location

F5374D53-8165-4010-A16F-BC98B115D937.jpeg

Edited by ph5172
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Firstly dig it all out and remove the bricks and rubble. Do a bit each year, say a 1/3rd and then refill with rotted farm uck and clean soil.  I don't get my muck straight from the farm these days, to much weeds. I buy it in by the bag along with any soil I need.  Replacing any tubs I put a mix of a bag of farmyard manure, bag of all purpose and a bag of soil.  Mix it all together and that is what I would do with that bed.   Looks like it is backed up against the house wall which is not good either.

Hah!!  stupid me, that is an adjoining wall.

Edited by Walker570
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If you dont want to dig it out and replace you need to mix as much organic matter into it as possible.

Grass clippings  straw, compost, manure - get it in there to break that clay up. Sharp sand wouldn't go amiss either. Also, dig it up in chunks over winter and let the frost break it up.

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6 hours ago, ph5172 said:

 

could I cover the soil with some membrane, plant the trees and fruit bushes then cover with chipping just to neaten it up a bit? 

Yes you could. When you say back fill clay I'm presuming you mean clay from the garden they have dumped with rubble? 

If so, try and remove some rubber but bear in mind clay is not free draining and the rubble may not hurt. The fruit trees won't mind too much, you may have to feed once or twice a year. 

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Sorry but you are going to have to bite the bullet while it is full of carp you will never grow anything to your satisfaction, dig it out and put some proper drainage and good soil in 

I speak from experience so save your time and money. 

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