Raised veg. bed problems
Please can you advise on following: In spring of this year I put up two adjacent 4 ft.by 4ft by ift. deep raised bed frames where previously lawn on clay soil. Turf was removed and soil beneath forked over. Beds filled with topsoil (from garden centre) with multi-purpose compost mixed in. One bed to 8 inches and one to 4 inches because I ran out of money and energy! I tried second early potatoes in the deep one which made lots of above ground growth but very few potatoes. After the potatoes I tried some radishes. In the shallower bed I planted out runner beans in fibre pots in a wigwam and some lettuce in the corners. Everything grew really slowly with the lettuces refusing to fill out and only a few radishes came to anything. I decided to take the beans out because, although the plants made growth and flowered only a few beans grew big enough to pick.
I thought at least the removal of the beans would be easy in the uncompacted soil mix so imagine my horror when I could hardly move the fork and when I did there was a tearing sound of roots. The whole filling of the frame was infested with very fine roots - to the extent that I felt I could almost lift out the whole filling as a mould if I were strong enough. The roots did not seem to be attempting to put up shoots but I found some slightly thicker roots going down into the original soil beneath. I had found similar masses of roots in flower beds but had put them down to old pot compost which had clearly been emptied over the beds.
What on earth is this stuff and, more to the point, how can I get rid of it - preferably without too much physical effort since I'm not as fit as I was.
Another thing I found was that the bean roots had pigeon egg sized growths and I think the roots from them were growing horizontally. I wonder if that is because the roots did not want to or could not penetrate the clay beneath?
Sorry question so long but putting the story into words is alnost as much a challenge as trying to grow stuff in this garden. (I have grown all the above plants with reasonable results in other gardens). I would be really grateful for any advice. Thanks Richard
- 25 Sep, 2008
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