Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Making Your Beds - Garden Style

    We aren't this far along this year with our garden as of yet, but I had these pictures from last year, so thought I would talk about prepping your garden.
     We have an extremely small yard, but lots of enthusiasm, so we have this small garden in between our wood storage "shed" and our storage shed.  It's large enough for all our greens, some beans and whatever else I can think to put here.  
     Last year I grew several different types of basils.  Purple, Lettuce Leaf and Lemon to name a few.  
Todd, hard at work
     I always grow too much basil.  It just happens. I start it from seed IN the garden itself.  I've tried starting it in containers and transplanting it, buying plants from the store, etc...but the way it seems to work the best is to just plant it in the garden.
     I think if you wait until the soil really warms up well, it just takes off and always would catch up and look much healthier than any transplants.
      Todd is working hard with this amazing Honda rototiller.  A friend of ours who doesn't garden anymore is letting us use this as long as we garden.  It's a definite back saver! There are different theories about the usage of rototillers, some for them and some against their use, but it seems to work for us. We rototill leaves, grass clippings and whatever else right in so it will add to the soil.

     When we dig into the garden, we can actually see all the new "dirt" that has been made and the clay dirt mix of the original back yard....nice!  
     What helps with this is our compost bin.  I have a very lovely stainless kitchen bin that I empty into our large yard compost container.  Yes, all those veggie scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags (paper kind only), and eggshells all combine with leaf material to make a nice hummus-y mix.  It's a great way to recycle household waste, and use up yard waste to 
The robins love to go through the soil to find any stray worms!
actually make something that will benefit your garden.  We take all of the old flower stocks from the flower beds and place them in a big pile to work on breaking down.  This will become a nice bit of soil after awhile.

Why "make" dirt?  Have you seen the prices of dirt lately? It's crazy and if I can keep my garden waste out of landfill to make FREE dirt, then well, there you go!
Happiness shiny kitchen compost bin, found online.
So, the compost begins it's life in the kitchen in this most lovely of compost containers.  It was actually a birthday gift a few years back.  I kept asking my sister for one for my birthday and she finally broke down and against all her love of shopping, bought me this beauty! Ahhh!  I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I have to say that the birthday I received it is forever burned into my memory as a very happy day indeed!

This was the garden growing in mid-June.  The large pyramid in back is for my pole beans.  I have lettuce going on on the far left, mustard greens and turnip green, arugula and broccoli raab.  Notice the raise beds too. During a bad rainstorm, parts of our yard can get a little flooded.  The raised beds actually help keep the plants above the water line.  Raised beds also tend to warm up faster and provide good drainage.  We also place a thin layer of grass clippings on the walkways to keep down weeds and eventually enrich the soil.  It's important to go easy putting on a lot of green clippings as they tend to steal nitrogen from the soil around them which is needed to help them break down.  
This is the garden when it's still a baby.  We have one more bed to the right which is out of the picture because it wasn't planted yet but was waiting for basil.  So nice!
Well, here's to dreaming about your garden beds...can't wait until ours gets done!  Very soon we hope!  Be blessed!

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