20 Mar 2013 2 Comments
Put your “fun cap” on because it’s time to get your hands dirty! It’s time to break ground for your new spring garden! Already have a garden? Perfect, but you can still get in on the action as it’s a good idea to work your soil for a fresh start.
Now, while I’d like to say this is the easy part—that would be a lie. This is the part where you get your exercise. Stretch those cold stiff muscles and get limber again. Remember, we reap what we sow and we can’t sow if we don’t dig.
Are you smiling yet? Good. Now, one of the secrets to great plants is loose soil. Loose soil promotes strong, deep roots and encourages a healthy plant which means a productive plant. I learned this the hard way with carrots. Have you ever seen an “L” shaped carrot? I have. As a general rule, carrots will grow down as far as they can easily manage, until the going gets too tough, and then they grow sideways. Literally. Packed soil is not their friend. It’s not friendly to any plant, really, because it doesn’t promote good aeration which helps the plant take in the nutrients it needs.
So, big or small, you want loose fertile soil and it will help to amend it with compost, manure, and/or an organic fertilizer of your choice. And before you start digging, you’ll need to decide whether to go in-ground or above ground, as in raised beds. If you recall, Ashley chose the latter option.
To churn up the soil, you can use a till helps get the job done. That, and the big strong arms of your man to run the thing! I use a shovel and hoe which work fine, but you’ll need a warm bath afterward. I’m just sayin’… Whichever method you choose, get that dirt light and loose! For your beds, think about 2-3 feet wide and as long as you’d like. Mine are 40 feet but I’m the aggressive type.
And smooth those tops nice and level. While perfectly mounded rows will look nice, the water runs off them at an alarming rate. Never a good thing when you’re trying to absorb the stuff. And speaking of absorbing, my natural soil is sand which repels rather well, so amending my soil is done for moisture retention as well as nutrient-enhancing purposes. In between the rows, I used to lay straw for the walkways, but now I opt for heavy black paper. Weeds can grow through hay—they cannot grow through the paper.
Once you have your rows nicely tilled, you’ll be ready to sow those seeds! Check back next week for seed sowing with BloominThyme! We’re going peppers, beans, tomatoes (transplants) and perhaps some more potatoes? Mother Nature and the “negligent” weather forecast stole some of my early harvest. No good.