Monday, April 27, 2009

Nice try Winter. I mean Mother Nature. I mean God! I better stop now.

The weather turned cold this week and we had a bit of frost this morning..... but not on the garden. Clint and I covered it with plastic last night just in case. I'm glad we did. Better safe than sorry. I don't want to replant if my plants can't handle it outside yet!

Here's some pictures of the uncovered garden. I've got most of the garden planted with plants and seeds. I'm waiting until mid May to plant tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. The soil temperature is still a bit cool right now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God makes dirt, I make SOIL.

I made my soil on Monday. This week the temperature is in the 70's and I can't wait any longer to get started! I used 1/3 (by volume) peat moss, 1/3 (by volume) coarse vermiculite, 1/3 (by volume) Gardner and Bloome Harvest Supreme compost.

A good way to mix this is to put all three ingredients in a large tarp. You need 3-4 people to help pick up the corners and mix it up good. Monday night I didn't have any help so I used my cement mixer. It worked good but I had to stop the mixer a couple of times on each batch to pull the back ingredients to the front. I guess a cement mixer works best mixing cement. Who knew? After about 10 batches I was done topping off last year's bed (needed to replenish some nutrients) and filling bed #2 (new this year!). By this time it is about 10:00 pm and I was working under some portable work lights. My neighbor came out to see what I was up to at all hours of the night. I told him I was making soil for my garden. He was mildly interested (doesn't garden) but quickly lost interest and went back inside. On his way back he called out "Have fun with your dirt!". I yelled back angrily,

"I'm making soil not dirt!"

After getting both beds filled and all my stuff put away it was time to wet my bed (what I was going to name this blog). Technically, beds. Since this soil is so dry to begin with and since it has the capacity to hold a lot of water it took me an hour of watering to get all 9 inches of soil wet! After it gets wet the first time it only takes a little bit more watering every day to keep it that way. The good thing about peat and vermiculite is that they hold water without promoting root rot. You can't over-water this soil! It will soak up what it can and the rest will go right down to the bottom of your bed and into the dirt.

I got to bed around midnight. I just had to separate my square foot garden into squares! Using a nice green twine from Target made a 12 inch grid. They are now ready for plants/seeds! I'm so exhausted that I'm asleep before my proverbial head hits my proverbial pillow.

Weed barrier is a MUST!

If you need a good reason to use a week barrier, here is a big one! I had one bed last year (this year I have two) and I made it, filled it with soil, and planted it with out knowing what I was doing. I forgot (or just plain didn't know better) to put a weed barrier down. It looks like the tree next door really loves my soil!

I had to remove all of my soil from last year and sift it by hand to remove as much of the roots as I could. I then dug as many roots out and put a 20 year weed barrier down. I was going to just use a 5 year barrier but I figured that these roots were pretty strong and hardy so I wouldn't skimp on my barrier.

Here's the pile of roots I pulled out.

Add Image I loathe them.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It'll give them character

I was talking to my grandfather Norris today. He is in his eighties and his garden still looks great every year!

I asked him if he had planted anything in his garden yet. Turns out he had already planted carrots, beets, and peas and they were starting to sprout. It is not yet mid April and we just had a week of light snow and freezing rainy days! I was curious and asked him how he had kept the plants warm through it all.

Norris looked at me and just said "Well, they have to look after themselves now. If they can't handle it then I'll replant new ones." Immediately the image of Norris out in the garden, as the temperatures start dropping, telling his young plants that the upcoming frost and snow will make them tougher and give them character!