Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

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Colin2016
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Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Colin2016 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:45 pm

So raised beds now built, filled it in with stone/weed free soil mixture and covered it with compost.

Wondering if I should I leave this open during the winter or cover it over?
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Pawty » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:59 pm

Hi Colin,

Personally, if you're not going to plant anything in it, I would cover it - 1) it'll get warmer earlier for planting in the spring 2) will stop weeds taking over.

Glad it's going well!

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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Primrose » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:31 pm

Yes I'd cover it too. If we have a mild winter you could be surprised how many weeds start making an appearance. However, if you have any other plants nearby bear in mind the underside of the cover could make a cosy hiding place for snails, etc.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Pa Snip » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:32 pm

By all means cover them , if you are a slug preservationist.
If you are not then leave them open to the winter elements, some of the weed seeds might well get killed off as well, unless of course you are a weed preservationist as well.
As soon as winter is over and the weather heads into spring your raised beds should get warmer sooner than ground level soil.

Covering the beds with fleece two or three weeks ahead of seeding them will soon bring the soil temperature up to that which it would have been if you had left them covered all winter without providing a nice winter home for slugs and snails.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Monika » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:51 pm

I would do like Pa Snip. Let the winter frosts get to it, even stirring it from time to time and then cover it in very early spring with fleece or CLEAR plastic to encourage the weed seeds to germinate before hoeing them off when you are ready to plant/sow.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Beryl » Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:28 pm

Noooooo. Let the weather do it's job, feed the birds etc, Cover it and any weed seeds still in the soil will germinate quicker than you can sow once you take it off. Slugs and snails will be snug and warm underneath to and do their business to cause havoc in the spring.

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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby KG Steve » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:55 pm

There are pros and cons but personally I'd leave the soil exposed for the winter and then cover in early spring to warm for a month or so prior to sowing. I'd use black plastic to kill any germinating weeds and I usually scatter some animal friendly slug pellets very lightly over the surface before putting the plastic over in the hope of killing any of those pesky little black keeled slugs.

The big advantage of covering all winter might be that it helps prevent some of the nutrients, especially the nitrogen, from being ashed away by winter rains, but I think the advantages of leaving the soil open to the elements generally outweigh this.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Johnboy » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:06 am

Hi Colin,
If you have spread home made compost you have probably initiate worms into your new beds. If this is the case then allow the bed to be well rainsoaked and then cover with HD black polythene and the worms will over the coming months take that compost into the soil. When the light levels improve next spring uncover the bed and allow any weed seeds to germinate and then replace the polythene and the light exclusion will kill those off.
I have been doing this for many years and I have yet to have a slug or weed problem.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:53 am

Colin

By now have you thought of flipping a coin ?? :)
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby KG Steve » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:49 pm

Ask 100 gardeners and they will give you 100 different answers Colin. I think there is rarely a right or wrong way to do things in gardening. None of which helps you one bit! :lol:
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:25 pm

KG Steve wrote:Ask 100 gardeners and they will give you 100 different answers Colin. I think there is rarely a right or wrong way to do things in gardening. None of which helps you one bit! :lol:


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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Colin2016 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Yes loads of different answers all which have a benefit as it shows different ways of doing things. It all makes very interesting reading so I thank you all for taking the time to post your comments.

An update for those interested is I have left them uncovered.
I got one of those 2 pronged testers to see what was happening. Seems there is 100% water guess that’s due to the rain and I have between 4-7 ph in different parts of the beds.

I have brought bag of Blood, Fish & bone & tub of chicken manure fertilizer pellets. Need to research how and when to use this, would welcome you comments as well.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby KG Steve » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:19 pm

The pronged testers will give you a rough guide to the pH and I would imagine yours is broadly OK. If you wanted to double check you could use a different sort of tester which is supplied with a test tube and some reagent and they tend to be more accurate, but a precise measurement is rarely essential and I woudln't get too hung up on it.

I'd sprinkle over some Blood, Fish & Bone a month or so before sowing/planting and then add some chicken manure pellets a week before sowing/planting - all at the recommended rate on the pack. That will do most veg for the duration. Longer term crops could have an additional light top dressing of pellets in summer.
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Re: Cover Raised bed Yes/No?

Postby Pa Snip » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:15 pm

Colin

Watch out when using chicken pellets, be careful not to overdose, especially on potatoes.

Chicken pellets promote top growth and on spuds you can end up with a lot of greenery and very small crop of spuds
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