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in Fruit & veg
Over the weekend I assembled two veg beds - 6x3 and 8" deep for my first serious venture into veg growing. I'm aiming to get two further beds of the same size. But, what to fill them with? I've looked online at places like compostdirect and other similar sites as they all do 900l and 450l bags of compost. Has anyone ever used these companies? I don't think the axle on my car would cope with being loaded up with great quantities of 60l compost bags from the local DIY store !!
I put 10 40 litre bags in the boot of a 1 litre corsa not a problem it could cope with more. I don't really see any advantage in mail order compost the delivery charges would make it a pricy option at least with smaller bags they are easier to stack store and use.
The first thing to do is thoroughly dig the soil over, preferably by double digging: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_digging1.shtml. obviously remove any stones/ rubbish you come across. Depending on how many stones you remove, the soil will probably be much higher in the bed, because it's no longer compacted. Fill it up with any good quality multipurpose compost, and mix it in well. I wouldn't worry too much about brand, and if you get too much you can always use it later in other beds or even next year. Hope this helps!
Usually the cost of courier is prohibitive. If you are worrying about the weight in your car, think like this, a 120litre bag (provided it's not sopping wet) probably weighs a third of an average adult. Well that's what I find when lifting them. So if you have a 4 seater, then should carry 6 or 8 bags easily. When creating raised beds it's important to dig down maybe 6 inches, I also sift this through a half inch size sieve. Then start filling the bed up, I start with compost/manure first, a few inches, then a couple inches thick of soil. It is important to mix soil with the compost otherwise when the compost dries, it's difficult to wet again, also the soil gives the mix 'weight' meaning when dry it won't be blown away!.
When you are about halfway full, tramp lightly over the whole bed, then fill to a couple of inches from the top. I always tramp down at half full otherwise after a few weeks when the soil settles with watering, your level will drop by 3 inches! Good luck.
Thanks for all your advice-its much appreciated. I will go with the 120l bags and a lot of digging !! I'm working most of this weekend so I'll start the hard work next week - perhaps the weather will have warmed up by then !
I've got a Mazda 2 and got 16x 60L bags in it to do exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, I had to go back and buy another 16!!
I also asked in my local nursery and they gave me details of a local farmer who delivered 1 tonne of topsoil for £50! He probably also did compost and I wish I'd called to ask, to save a fortune and my car!
Our local nursery closed recently so I just got a load of compost online - from Creativegardens. Service was efficient and prompt and you got decent discounts for buying in bulk.
Do you know anyone with a van? Or a land rover? Ours will take a payload of 750kg in the boot. For anything more serious than that, OH digs out ex-mod missile trailer, that will take 3 tonnes. Has more than paid for itself with the number of times we've bought massive amounts of limestone chippings to do our drive and sister-in-law's drive (she's moved 3 times in about 10 years and done the front garden in them each time). Trouble is, we go to the builder's merchants in the next village, and he has a mini-digger that holds 750kg, he'll pick up a scoop, deposit in the trailer, and as it's a big trailer, he shakes his head and gives us another half scoop for free.
Will be in use again soon for bark chippings, I won't be bothering with lawn with two small children and one big dog. Not until small children are a lot bigger, and dog has gone to chase rabbits in the sky.
thanks for the timely info carrottop! I also had been looking online for compost sellers so will take note.