May 1, 2014

Raised Beds Prepped

Out back, I prepped the raised beds for spring. The dirt levels over the past few years have dwindled because of erosion, we needed more than a little compost this year. We thought about having some bulk mix delivered, but that would be a minimum of 3 cubic yards (which is A LOT of dirt). We went back and forth on the best option, in the end we realized we really only needed about 16 cubic feet. So when the Miracle Gro garden soil bags went on sale at Home Depot, we picked up 8 of them. 450 lbs of dirt.

To prep each bed, I pulled up the black plastic that was protecting and warming the soil (placed there in the fall when I pulled everything up). The dirt always becomes very compacted under heavy ice and snow, so the first thing I did was loosen and turn everything with the shovel. Then I added 2 bags of the garden soil to each bed, mixed it up with the shovel, then leveled everything out with a rake.

Afterwards the soil levels were much better and the dirt looked rich and healthy again. I put the black plastic back on again afterwards, since I leave that on all year as a weed blocker.

As for the plants that were already in the garden, I moved things around during the process. I dug up my lettuce seedlings very carefully, moved them and carefully put them back afterwards. I dug up and transplanted the thyme and oregano from the old bed to the new one (since we practice crop rotation). The spinach seeds never made it up, I planted them too late again this year (curse this confusingly cold but not cold enough spring weather!). I also set up the pea and bean trellis and planted a few peas in soil. Hopefully no critter discovers them before we have a chance to fix the fencing...

We’re planning on planting the summer garden either the weekend of May 10th-11th or the weekend of the 17th-18th. Of course I would like to get everything in as soon as possible, but it’s been a really weird late spring. We are still getting freeze/frost warnings which is rare in NJ this late in April. So we’ll just have to wait and watch the weather forecast and hope for the best.

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