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compost filled raised bed

484 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Paquebot
Last spring / summer / fall, it was so wet, the only things that thrived were the weeds. I've got pretty heavy clay soil. So, this fall in an effort to create an environment with a little more drainage, I created a raised bed out of cement blocks. I filled it with composted cow manure. The manure has been sitting in a pile for a year so far, some for 2 yrs. I plan on covering it with black plastic in the spring to kill any weed seeds, then keep it heavily mulched. Can I plant directly in this next spring, or should I plan on tilling in some dirt?
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Plant in it. I did the same with duck and rabbit the past couple years. Monster veggies! The ones that perfomed best were leaf crops, then tomatoes and beans. Squash/pumpkins grow well in that mixture also.
Probably because I had to steer an old front tine Briggs and Stratton anchor as a child, I am anti tilling. This year Bill insisted on tilling his garden with his Horse; watching him walk alongside only occasionally touching the handlebars to guide its course made me jealous but didn't change my mind. I've never had the luxury of using manure in my city garden; how I envy you! 25 years ago I dumped composted leaves over top of white clay raised beds and planted; every few years I added more leaves I stirred in a bit. I've never used fertilizer of any kind (unless you count the year I got snookered into buying a pound of green sand I never used up) yet always had wonderful yields.

I probably don't have the right answer but if I were in your shoes I'd let it rest, stir it up in spring and plant. Then mulch, mulch, mulch!
Yup, I agree....plant it in the Spring. I did this with my berry bed, worked wonderfully....didn't add any dirt at all, it was all just aged manure...

You're planning on planting in at least 8" of aged cow manure. The pH of that manure is going to be quite high and the salt content at least 5%. As long as the tap roots have regular soil to penetrate after escaping from that, you'll be OK.

Skip the plastic. If the manure was indeed composted, there wouldn't be many viable seeds. The heat would also kill off the bacteria needed to further break down that stuff.

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