The deep bed system is part of the history of agriculture. Formerly it was known as the Chinese method or the intensive French method and today it is still used as a technique to multiply the yield of our garden. If you want to know the principles of this ancient system and incorporate it into your garden, here we tell you how it works.
THE HISTORY OF THE DEEP BED
The deep terrace is a relived story, an ancient method sponsored by the French (intensive French method) or Chinese (Chinese method), who had no choice but to do so. We put you in situation. As John Seymour tells us in his book, the “Self-sufficient Horticulturist” was used in the outskirts of Paris, where the piece of land was very expensive and was distributed in many hands. Unlike today, they based their diet on what their small garden produced, that is why they needed the deep terrace to achieve maximum production and feed the whole family. For their part, they had no problem getting organic matter., manure in particular, since at that time the system to move was through horses.
HOW THIS SYSTEM WORKS
Rule # 1 of the deep bed is that you cannot step on top of the ground. Therefore, the recommended measures of the plot are 1.5 meters wide and the length you want. An area of 10 square meters is enough to produce a good amount of ecological products. We are going to go step by step commenting on what to do.
We need the following tools:
STEP 1: CHOOSING THE PLOT
The place where you are going to work doesn’t really matter. That is, we are going to modify the properties of the soil by adding organic matter so you can choose, if you want, the place where you placed the garden last year. We have already discussed the measures before. If this is your first time, you can try a deep bed 1.5 m wide by 6 m long , which gives a total area of 9-10 square meters.
STEP 2: APPLYING THE MANURE
When we already have our chosen and delimited deep bed (with a stake, for example), we must add a cover of manure or compost to the ground . You simply have to cover the ground, it does not matter the thickness since simply covering it is enough. Once this procedure is finished, we go to the next step.
STEP 3: DIG THE TRENCH. LET’S DO IT!
This is undoubtedly the most laborious step and we are going to go through it hard as the ground is hard, however, while we make the ditch of the deep bed we must think about the benefits of the orchard , and the task will become lighter for us. Mr. Seymour tells us that the depth to dig is that of a shovel. That in metric terms equates to about 30-40 cm. The exavation process is in parts. First a trench is dug lengthwise (width 40 cm also) and the extracted earth is saved. That land together with the manure will be incorporated into the second ditch that is dug and so on. That is, when we make the 3rd trench of the deep bed, it will be filled with the soil from the second. As many trenches as width will be dug. If we have a width of 1.5 meters, as recommended, we will make about 4 trenches. In this way, the deep bed will be constituted.
A reminder mentioned above. Once you have added the dirt and manure from the previous ditch, you can no longer step on it. This method consists of leaving the earth soft, if you step on it it becomes caked and all the work is lost.
WHERE DOES THE SUCCESS OF THE DEEP BED LIE?
The success of the deep bed method comes from creating a soil system with high nutrient content (manure or compost ) and a soft, moist and permeable soil. We remember that a caked soil prevents proper root development and inhibits growth. In addition, it is possible to grow vegetables with a much higher density than the traditional garden. Studies carried out at the University of Santa Cruz certify that with the deep bed method yields of 4 times higher than a normal bed are achieved.
IS THE BEDDING METHOD ONLY APPROPRIATE FOR HERBACEOUS PLANTS?
Of course not. Why is success for a plant going to mean failure for a tree? In this case, for fruit trees, mini deep terraces are created for each tree, or a grouped set of trees. You have to perform the same steps above, manure, digging trenches and covering, so if you have some trees to plant, do it through this system and tell us.
There is no author who can provide us with more information about the deep bed than John Seymour, in his guide to the self-sufficient gardener . We have the book and we highly recommend it. 😉