Final stages for the new raised beds

Finally the new raised veg beds are nearing completion but the remaining work is probably some of the hardest. The timber for the outside edges on the paths is still to be delivered at some point but in the meantime yesterday was another exciting delivery day.

After much deliberation and indecision, I decided to use slate chips rather than trying wood chip first as a short-term solution. Although it’s more expensive in the early stages it will definitely last a lot longer and hopefully look nicer as well.

I may have ordered too much though despite careful consideration but I’m sure I can find a use elsewhere in the garden for any leftovers. So here you have it – 4 tonnes of the finest slate chippings from Honister Slate Mine in the Lake District.

Lake District slate chips
Lake District slate chips

The delivery was a minor nightmare though mostly because the driver decided to reverse all the way down the track. This meant he couldn’t negotiate the corner at the end of the field without wiping out a row of willow trees so the delivery couldn’t get to the courtyard as originally planned.

In the end it all worked out okay though. We managed to offload all 4 pallets but the last one was the most fun – the dumpy bag had a split so the contents were shovelled off the side of the lorry into a spare bag I had lying about.

At least it’s still fairly close to the raised beds so all I need to do now is shift all 4 tonnes by hand with a spade and a barrow!

Update on the raised beds

Raised veg bed with cabbages

Here are a couple of quick pictures as an update on the raised beds I added over the winter. To my inexperienced eye they look pretty impressive but then what do I know! 🙂
Last autumn I planted a few cabbage seedlings out (an impulse buy at B&Q) but they haven’t done a lot so far… At least the wood chip path along one side is looking nice and the bluebells which are everywhere should add a nice bit of colour eventually.

The other raised bed just next door is also looking good and when I took this picture the plan was to keep it covered for a while to keep it protected from any cold weather. I soon realised that the forecast is looking good for this week so I might as well leave it uncovered and get some rain on it!

Covered raised veg bed

Wood chip is the way forward

I can’t believe I’ve never used wood/bark chips in the garden before! After setting up the 3 veg beds it very quickly became clear that I didn’t have enough old paving slabs to reuse when making the paths around them.

My first reaction was to leave the unpaved areas as compressed soil and hope that regular use would mean that weeds did not take over. It wasn’t long before I realised that wasn’t going to work as a permanent solution for weed suppression.

Instead I added 3 bags of bark chips to a recent online order of compost (from Creative Garden Ideas) and threw a couple of them down (after clearing any obvious weeds of course). The result was a major transformation quite out of proportion to the amount of time and effort I had put in.

There was an added bonus as a result of using pine bark chips, my veg beds now small a little like a pine fresh toilet!