I started building our first raised bed last week. I mentioned in a previous post that I had purchased a hoop bender back in December, well I have officially put it to use. I had three sections of 1/2″ electrical metal tubing at the farm, so I bent them to get this project started. I have not used a hoop bender in the past so I have no experience here. I feel like I say that about most things involved in this farm. Anyway I have watched a few YouTube videos about using a hoop bender and it didn’t seem to be very difficult. Now I only bent three pieces so far, but there is an important factor to keep in mind as you are bending the tube. As you put an initial bend in the first section of the tubing you slide the tubing to continue this process. If you do not keep the bent section level with with unbent section, as you bend it the hoop will become distorted. That is, it will be semi circle but also warped along the horizontal aspect. What is desired is a semi circle along the vertical plane. So with that all said, bending a hoop isn’t difficult as long as you pay attention to what you are doing and take your time with getting a complete bend along the tool and maintain a straight line with the tube.
So the first raised bed in underway. This bed is six feet wide and about sixty feet long. I understand that the typical raised bed is anywhere from three feet wide to about four feet wide. In my situation I need to maximum my usable space. The amount of people that will be in this bed will be very minimal, more than likely just me. I am very aware of compaction in the bed so a wider bed should not be an issue. As far as the usage of this bed, initially I had thought about using it for potted plant production finishing. After thinking it through with positioning of the bed and the location of the high tunnel, it would probably be better used as a direct sow and transplant bed. So I will need to fill this bed with soil and compost and prepare the bed accordingly. More than likely you will see perennial and annual cut flower plants in this bed along with some gourds, and possibly some herbs.
I have plans to build additional raised beds on the property, this will not be the only one. The use of this bed could very well change as the farm continues to evolve. I would expect that eventually this bed would be exclusively used for presentation crops such as cut flower or possibly seasonal crops like pumpkins and gourds. Something that would look nice as you drive past the farm, presentation is very important. We are down to weeks now and we will be sowing seed, and potting up plants for Spring sales, so completion of this bed is important. In our other business we are preparing annual renewals for landscape services. This work also begins in Late February or early March depending on our weather, so it won’t be long and we will be very busy with landscape jobs and farm production and little time for construction projects.