More cultivating beds

Here are some more cultivating beds to choose from. Here is about the keyhole bed and the herb spiral which both are space-saving methods.

Keyhole bed

The keyhole bed, which in some forms is called a “Mandala” is a great cultivating bed. Planting in circles is also more effective than growing in straight lines. In a keyhole bed, you get a higher return per square meter.

The keyhole bed can either be a freestanding circle or combined into a series with several keyholes in a branch from the main path. The central path may well have a winding form as it increases the number of meters of easily accessible edges. How to choose your keyhole structure depends entirely on how much space you have available, as well as your mobility and the need for space. If space for wheelchairs is needed, the actual keyhole space is made slightly larger, while the height of the beds is adapted to suit a wheelchair. A variant of a smaller keyhole bed is one where you replace the hole in the middle with a compost, which provides the bed with nutrition.

The description that follows explains how to make a raised keyhole bed consisting of only one circle. When growing with cultivating beds, you need to remember to soak each layer during its construction.

⇾   Start by marking out a circle where the bed will be. Size and height are determined by several different things; space, access to materials, what to grow, and potential disabilities that you want to take into account. A good benchmark is a diameter of about two meters for a circle

⇾   Then mark out a smaller inner circle in the middle of the larger circle. If the bed is two meters in diameter, it is appropriate that the centre circle is 30–40 cm in diameter. Then, mark out a path, either straight or wedge-shaped, between the inner and outer rings. The width of the passage is again dermined by the space requirement you have. Even if you do not need to accommodate a wheelchair, you may want to be able to pass with a wheelbarrow

⇾   If you want to build tall beds, walls are needed to keep the bed material in place. Start by creating the outer wall. Most things will work; bricks, stones, wood, or metal. If the bed is going to be ower, logs also work as outer edges. Keep in mind that different materials create different microclimates where, for example, the stone retains more heat than what wood does. When the exterior walls are done, you continue with the rest of the walls

⇾   Then fill the cultivation bed as desired

⇾   If you do not have access to wall material or if you want a lower bed, you can still make a keyhole bed. Mix brown and green composting material in the ratio of three to one. The brown can consist of old leaves, straw, sawdust, newspapers, cardboard, and branches. The green can in addition to green plant material also include kitchen waste, composted manure, and grass clippings

⇾   As usual, the coarse material is laid in the bottom, finer in the middle, and soil on the top. The thickness of the different layers depends on how high you want the bed, and of course on what material is available. Keep in mind that the bed deflates quite a bit during the first year

Finally some planting tips specifically for keyhole beds. The fast-growing plants that are harvested are
often placed closest to the centre, such as lettuce. Next, the plants that take a little longer, and outermost those that take the longest time, such as potatoes and carrots. If there is any plant that needs extra wind protection, you can grow something taller next to it, on the side where the wind is harshest.

A herb spiral is one of more cultivating beds

Another functional and often used form when growing with cultivating beds is the so-called herb spiral.

Suppose you imagine a long bed with plants, which you then grab and wrap around yourself. Then; you have created a spiral where the starting point in the middle should also be the tallest, and then fall in step with the spiral turning counterclockwise around the centre point to come to a stop at ground level. Where the bed ends, you may have an itty bitty pond with water for insects and small animals.

This way of growing with more cultivating beds offers a lot of room for cultivation on a tiny surface compared to a single, long bed. The size of the herb spiral is determined by how far you can reach with your hand. It usually means a diameter of about 160 cm and a height of about 1 meter. The width of the cultivation surfaces should be around 30 cm. All in all, the herb spiral provides a varied cultivation climate from dry to wet, where it is also sufficient to only water the top.

The benefits of a herb spiral

The advantages of a herb spiral are many:

⇾   Aesthetically beautiful

⇾   More heat thanks to the stones

⇾   Smaller weeds, thanks to a smaller edge effect towards the surrounding environment

⇾   Harvesting the herbs is easier

⇾   Good working height

⇾   More cultivation on a smaller surface

⇾   Effective water use

⇾   Provides different microclimates with warm, sunny, and dry at the top of the south side – and more cooling and more humid at the bottom of the north side

At the top of the spiral, you grow the most sun-demanding and drought-resistant plants such as thyme, lavender, sage, and rosemary. The farther down you get, the more moisture-consuming plants thrive. At the bottom, plants such as parsley, coriander and various sorts of mint are suitable.