Last night my wife and I had a goal to plant the raised bed before sundown. We just made it.
But first, we had to prepare the raised bed. My wife had put the alfalfa and bedding straw in a month or two ago. We were worried because our instructions were to include blood and bone meal to start decomposition of the materials – and they weren't included when the straw was placed.
We lifted an area with our pitchfork and were pleasantly surprised at the apparent decomposition that's occurring underneath. While I lifted, my wife made a bit of a hole and added the blood meal and the bone meal, then two shovelfuls of compost. We did this for three holes.
We stapled chicken wire over the straw in the raised bed. Next, we cut out three holes over the compost. My wife planted them, I stepped around the plants to give the plants something dense to grow through and added tomato fertilizer. My wife watered them. I added tomato cages. My wife placed bricks around the tomato plants as the sun was nearly set.
All the extra work was done to hopefully keep out the animals from attacking the blood and bone meal concoction. The decomposable materials in the raised bed look real good – it almost acts like an 8 inch thick “turf” that you can lift.