Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Making Progress

I'm checking things off my garden project list!  I've got new hardware on my fence gate that serves the garden (thanks to my hubbie and Little Man), the new beds are all stained to match the old ones, the new beds are all filled with garden soil, tomato and pepper seeds have been started and I cleaned up the apple tree area.  I feel so accomplished...till I look at all the stuff still left to do.  

Speaking of filling the beds with garden soil...

I have, historically, used Mel's mix to fill my beds.  It's wonderful and I have no complaints about its ability to grow great produce.  My complaint is, it is expensive.  Since I started with one bed and added one a season for the last year or two, it wasn't a huge hit to the wallet all at once.  The issue this year is that I added five 4'x8' beds and filling them all with Mel's mix was gonna cost a fortune.  A friend of mine started a garden two years ago and filled all of her beds with garden soil she had delivered.  I called and found I could get "good, black garden soil" for $18 a yard!  The woman on the phone assured me it was perfect for raised garden beds and growing vegetables.  I am not one to change something that's working great already, but for that price, I would be a fool not to try it.  It looks pretty nice; it's loose and rich and looks a lot like my compost.  No sand at all, which is great because all the bargain brand soils and compost I have purchased have contained a lot of sand.  My whole yard is sand so I don't need any more.  Since I had already purchased several bags of vermiculite and peat moss over the winter, I amended the garden soil with these.  I will add worm castings, Azomite and compost to each bed prior to planting to end up with a hybrid Mel's mix/black garden soil.  I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have similar results as I have previous years.  Friends of mine use garden soil exclusively and grow tons of produce so it should work well.  

Here is Little Man playing on the pile of garden soil.  It looks like a small pile in this picture, but I ordered six yards.  It was enough to fill all the beds, top off the existing ones, fill in all the area beneath the apple trees (I'm planting my garlic here this week-it gets a lot of sun and is supposed to be a great companion planting), fill my old fire pit (another garlic planting area) and still have a huge pile left over.

I used it to create a new landscaped area in my front yard.

First, I dug up the sod and covered the area with cardboard.  Then I watered the cardboard thoroughly and added the soil (and photo bombed my own photo with my shadow).

My daughter, the Girly Girl, usually could care less about helping in the yard or garden; my Little Man is the one who loves to help out.  I was surprised when she asked if she could help and then filled a full wheelbarrow full of dirt and spread out several loads after I dumped it.  I suspect it was an attempt to put off cleaning her room, but I will take it.  I love when she wants to hang out with me and I know that the time is coming soon when I won't be cool any more. (Let's face it, I was never cool, I'm a total nerd and kinda proud of it).

I ended up with what I affectionately call "Fish Island".

Its still not planted, but we have freeze watches for the next two days so it will be this weekend before I feel it's safe to add some plants.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but a storm was moving in and I was lucky to get the dirt covered with landscape fabric and my garden tools put away just as the rain started.

Well, that's it for today.  Stay warm!

1 comment:

  1. Your new soil should be just fine. My best garden was the year I filled all my raised beds with straight composted cow manure! I didn't think anything would grow well, but everything did. Now I just dump on anything handy....composted cow manure (by the yard, from a nursery), chopped leaves, kitchen scraps. I dig it all in a bit and it decomposes quickly. I do buy bagged potting mix for my tomato buckets, and that can get a bit pricey. I think this year I'll mix the cow compost with peat moss and vermiculite, then add in some garden soil to bulk it up a bit. That should be less expensive.