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Garden Gleanings - bed preparation

Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008, at 12:35 PM

Last week was a long week out of town so my seedlings got away from me. All except the artichokes got leggy, so I have to see if I can pull them back.

The weekend was full of jobs but I was able to get some more garden beds prepared with compost and peat moss. One side of the first garden is almost complete, so here are some pictures from top and bottom. The top bed has already been planted with several types of carrots, beets and lettuce, plus new radishes, swiss chard, spinach and sugar snap peas.

The warm weather comes on so fast that I have to get these in as early as possible. It takes a little nursing during the spring cold-snaps but they usually pull through just fine. I also plant small quantities that will provide us with about a meal each harvesting. We have had a problem in the past with too much coming ready at one time.

As you see, it is on a slope so I have to terrace them in order to keep the soil surface relatively flat. Last year I did not have to worry about run-off washing away soil, but this also helps more rain soak in, which is GOOD!

I used two cinder blocks with holes up between the beds so I can plant some plowers in them. Then the block center is solid, so I can step on it to cross over. Just like greener grass, you always want to get to the other side of the bed.

The other side of the garden has not been set up yet. I believe I will have a 18-24" center walkway and similar width beds on the other side. On this side I have more of an angle sideways as well as down so I need to adjust both ways. I may not use any sides to the upper beds to allow more water to run in off the lawn.

This will be a constant fight with the grass. I have been thinning my daffodils and planting them along this side so I may make a flower bed the whole length of the garden on that side.

Speaking of daffodils, they are coming up all over the place. I am sure many of us are seeing that and it only adds to the excitement of spring!

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Children and dirt are magnetic together. Our daughter does not like to get dirty but if she is working on the garden, that is not dirt.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 1:56 PM

hummmmm....so I just stick the whole thing in the ground except the first couple of leaves?

That would be nice as they would have deep roots.

I have found that my three year old loves to help. I was tickled pink when he kept pulling little rocks, worms, and stuff out of the dirt asking what it was. He would pick up the clumps of dirt, squish it, and say, "EWwwww Mommy! Brenden needs a bath!" LoL

I normally don't let him get dirty. Can you tell?!

-- Posted by Mary on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 11:16 AM

Definitely start small. Keep those tomato plants in as much bright light as possible.

If they get leggy, all is not lost since the stem can be planted right up to the top few leaves. In fact, some do that purposely since roots will form along the stem underground.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 9:59 AM

I don't have a greenhouse, but I think I can juggle it around in the windows of my house for a while.

My onions are completly up now.

I'm starting to feel alittle overwelmed! LoL

Yes, it is a brand new graden from our lawn. We can not grow pine trees to save our life, so I'm guessing not enough acid?

I will have to find someone to test our soil.

I am tring to not put too much money into this.

-- Posted by Mary on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 9:27 AM

They should be fine. Wouldn't it be pretty if they bloomed against the snow background? Kind of a defiant act of spring.

I am glad all I put out was seed. I was temped to transplant some seedlings, but I would not have planned on snow weighing down the cloth covering. Rain it can take, but snow adds up.

Somehow I missed that we would get more than just a flurry. BUT it is a great day to talk gardening!!

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 8:52 AM

My buttercups are up about 3 inches and budding. They look healthy, and I'm happy to see that they have spread this year. I sure hope the cold and ice today doesn't affect them.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 7:57 AM

Tomato is a little early but if you have a green house, you can probably hold them without too much trouble.

Is this a brand new garden from a lawn area? It would be good to get a soil test done so you know what you are starting with. Maybe the Co-op or a garden center will help you with it. Peat moss is on the acidic side so you may use some lime, but best to test first.

In our climate, organic matter will break down quickly so I would consider starting a compost pile or finding a source.

Potting soil in bags will get cost prohibitive for using in your garden. Unless you have solid clay or solid sand, you will do fine with some compost, maybe peat moss and some fertilizer.

Rather than fertilize the whole garden, I would consider a more targeted approach and fertilize the plants. I am an organic gardener so I use compost, maybe some manure, fish emulsion, seaweed extract, bone meal, blood meal, cotton seed meal, etc.

For the other type of fertilizers you might try a good garden shop who knows veggies. It is not rocket science, but a good soil test would help them make suggestions.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 7:32 PM

I planted most of my seeds in our house last Thursday, and now have two inch tall tomatoe plants and four inch tall Marigolds.

My onions are already sprouting also. Everyone keeps telling me I planted too early, but this is my first time gardening, so I really have no idea what I am doing.

We are also in the process of preparing our garden area. I outlined a 12x12 area, but now I can tell it is going to have to be bigger!

I have about 25 tomatoe plants, and am going to have to give away half of them.

I have looked at gardening soil at Wal-Mart. They have Organic Gardening soil by Expert, and Miracle grow. Is there anything else out there I sould put in my garden? I see that you are putting peat moss. About how much of that do you put in a 20x20 space?

-- Posted by Mary on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 6:30 PM

Neat project on the NASA basil. Please keep us filled it too.

How long did they stay in space?

Did they do anything to them up there or just expose to 0 gravity?

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 5:40 PM

Beautiful!! I can't wait to get started. I usually don't get an early garden out because preparing for state testing takes my time to make sure my kids are ready. I did get out and get my patio containers out and on the patio. I had basketfulls of grape and plum tomatoes every few days last summer, so that's definitely a keeper. I started a pot of mint, but it fell off the back deck and shattered.

I entered a project at NASA and received 3 packs of cinnamon basil seeds that spent 14 days in space with Barbara Morgan. We will be planting them alongside seeds that stayed on Earth and noting differences!

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 2:44 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.