Old box gets redone

Today I'm going to stay in the general area where I planted bamboo recently (in two different posts) and redo a raised bed. Well, not so much redo, as "clear out". Mainly to get it ready for some new plants next year.

This is one of three identical "boxes" that I built several years ago, and it's the only one of the three that has not been redone yet. (I replanted one of them earlier this year.) It's got several problems, the main two being soil compaction and weeds.


This box contains a couple of different types of Achillea, or "yarrow": a yellow-flowering type called "Coronation Gold" and a red-flowering type called "Paprika". Both of these are pretty nice flowers, but once they're done flowering there's not much going on here. I really want something bolder back here, so I'm thinking about putting a banana in next year, maybe this one:

It kinda depends on what overwinters (in the garage) for me.

Anyway, this box is in good shape so no repairs needed:

There are some pieces of fencing that I was using as plant supports, but they stopped being effective a couple of years ago. Out they come:

I need to dig up the yarrow now. I do love it's feathery foliage, but no second thoughts -- it has to come out:

After I got it out I realized that it's not doing as well as it was a few years back, as the growth is pretty woody. So I'm just going to dig these and add them to the compost pile -- no sense in replanting somewhere else.

Now just scrape all of the violets out of here:

and start turning the hard, dry, compacted soil:

These boxes were once full of soil, but as the organic matter broke down and things settled, the soil level has dropped 7 inches or more. There are also mole/vole (or maybe chipmunk) tunnels in here:

Those aren't a big problem though. Once I had gotten half of the box turned and dug down a bit, I filled that dug-out side with new 60-40 mix (60% compost, 40% topsoil):

Then I moved the old, hard soil back on top, digging out the other half of the bed. Then I filled that side with 60-40 mix, broke up the remaining hard soil chunks, and smoothed it all out:

Beautiful! There is quite a bit of compost in here now, but since I'll be putting a banana plant (or some other tropical) here I'll add more compost in the spring, and will keep adding more compost every year.

The box is clean now and ready for a plant:

It really needs something right now, doesn't it? Don't think I can wait until next year...

That's better! I knew there was a reason I was growing extra Elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta) in pots on my driveway all summer. This plant will only be able to live out here for another 3 weeks or so, but during that time I'll get to enjoy the plant and see how it works in this area. Maybe I'll decide to plant this here again next year instead of the banana.

It may be a tough decision, but I'll have all winter to debate it.

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