Saturday, May 5, 2012

Garden Prep - ReMix 2012

Okay, this might feel like Groundhog Day because I am going to show our garden being rototilled AGAIN...but, as it is happening this year I couldn't resist taking some snapshots to watch how this garden evolves over the summer.  Besides, it will compel me to be a much neater gardener since I know it's going to be photographed.
With that said, here is a before picture of the garden with it's nice array of weeds and a few  plants interspersed. 
Actually the main weeds in this garden are Chickweed.  They're not such a pain when you realize how they can be used in a skin balm to help with eczema, insect bites, itchy skin, as well as a few other skin ailments.  I've not used it in an ointment myself, but I've identified it and made a mental note of its uses.  
Back to the garden...we could tackle it with a good old fashioned shovel, but why do this when we can bring in the "big guns" in the form of a very reliable rototiller? That's what we did!  I should say, that's what Todd did while I took the photos.  I used to shovel, but my back doesn't appreciate the hard labor and I think my gardening would not be nearly as much fun if I had to put all of the backbreaking effort into this part of it.
With that being said, Todd dug it out of our shed and proceeded to do whatever you do to a rototiller to get it ready for use.  It being a Honda, it lived up to its reputation and worked through the leaf mulch and sod in a jiffy.

Rescued from the garden before it was tilled was my Swiss Chard.  I have been using it all Spring and I am now rethinking the whole idea of waiting until late Spring to plant this leafy green.  I need to get myself in gear in Feb./March and start this plant inside on a sunny windowsill so it'll be ready to transplant outside once the temperatures are above freezing.  It has been invaluable and I felt like an early pioneer who would go out scavenging for early Spring greens to add to their dried food winter diet.  
RESCUED!! One Swiss Chard

Some volunteer Calendula flowers
The rototilling completed, the garden soil is all primed and ready.  We decided to extend the garden past the shed (pictured) in order to grow some tomatoes.  I haven't planted them in our yard since we started gardening in other friend's places or community garden, but wanted to give it a try this year.  We just haven't seemed to have luck with them year after year.  We've tried in three different locations, but have hardly gotten any good tomato crops.  One issue seems to be a tomato blight, and that's not an easy fix.  We'll see how this year goes in this garden.

Here's another rescued plant. It was actually growing at the edge of the garden in the lawn.  I managed to move it before the lawn mower nabbed it.  It looks like one of my summer lettuces I grew in years past.  I love to find these volunteer plants by surprise.
It's such a bonus; it makes me feel like I won some kind of prize... I guess a free salad IS a prize!

Rhubarb Swiss Chard

This is a picture of my French Mesclun Cutting Lettuces and greens.  I start them in a window box and cut the lettuce I will be using.  This mix has served me well for three years strong now.  I store the seed in a plastic bag inside a plastic box in the fridge.  I also throw in any of those silica packs that you find in purses and shoes to help absorb moisture.  This method of storing seems to really help as I have had some seed for quite a few years.  The germination goes down, but I still am able to get plants and that's what counts. 

Nicely edged and finished raised beds.  There are actually three of them here.  Oh and the green plant is a Swiss Chard that Todd so kindly left undisturbed for me.  :)  
I'm hoping to put the tomatoes to the front of the beds because they'll get the best light and air circulation.  It might make the garden look a little strange, with the taller plants in front, but we'll give it a go and see what happens.  
Stay tuned for more gardening fun...!

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