Friday, March 13, 2009

Preparing the Beds


This is one of our garden beds at the end of the growing season. We remove the drip work water hose and we will till the bed under to let it rest. It is best to sow a cover crop on the bed to add extra nutrients for next year's planting. However, this is the real life and we have never actually done that. We always intend to do just that, but by the end of the growing season we are tired and ready to be finished for a bit.

We do allow our chickens to come behind and help us to clean up the bed. While they are eating the leftover plants and bugs, they are also providing our beds with good manure.
We then let our beds set for the winter time. Next in the spring, it will be time to till them back up and add any extra dirt needed to them. We have a wonderful source of composted horse manure. By the time it gets to our farm, it looks like the prettiest dirt you have ever seen. The down side to it is that we have to drive almost 40 minutes to load it. Then once we are there, we have to shovel enough to fill the back of our truck. One truck load will fill one raised bed. We have 10 raised beds so that is a lot of shoveling! Last year we didn't add any of the new dirt into our beds at all. We were busy with baseball and Michael was working extra shifts. We just grew in what we had, and it was fine. We did add some amendments to our soil which included some green sand and mushroom compost. This does get expensive so we try not to get too carried away with all the extras. After all, we need food that doesn't cost us a lot of money in the end.
After adding any extras to our bed, we then till it again. We are then ready to add our drip works water hoses. This year I plan on using plastic to cover our beds. I will use a knife or bulb digger and cut out places for my plants. The soaker hoses will be under the plastic. This is suppose to help control weeds. I spent more hours than I care to admit weeding my garden last year. I will bite the bullet and spend a little extra for the plastic this growing season.
We would be busy getting our beds ready if our animals were out of our backyard. Instead we are busy trying to finish our fence so we can move our animals. There is still plenty of time so I am not hitting the panic button just yet. It doesn't hurt that the temps dropped again this past week. Remember, I am a fair weather farmer and I don't like to be out in the cold!
In our area, most gardeners plow up their garden in the month of February. This is suppose to help with weed control in the growing season as well as bug control. When you plow the ground, it causes many of the bugs to be turned over to the top of the soil. This exposes them to the cold weather and helps to kill them out before spring. We haven't plowed our potato garden. Our tractor isn't working and we haven't even decided for sure where we even want to plant our potatoes. I am sure we will need to make this decision in the next week because the potatoes will arrive sometime before the end of the month!!!
grace and peace,
julie


4 comments:

Brenda in SE Washington said...

My dad used to cover our garden beds with black plastic. Then he would use a small blow torch to melt holes for planting. It was quick and easy and made nice, neat holes. I bet you could even get your guys to do it cheerfully for you this way! =)

TnFullQuiver said...

Brenda,
My kids would love to do ANYTHING with a blow torch! Thanks for the great idea.
grace and peace,
julie

Andrea Cherie said...

Thanks so much for all the "hands on" gardening info you post! I feel like a learned a lot today!

TnFullQuiver said...

Andrea Cherie,
You are more than welcome. I hope it helps!
grace and peace,
julie