Lee got his new rototiller out and started breaking ground in the garden last weekend. It’s amazing how much more ground you can prepare when you aren’t turning the sod over by hand. Our garden hasn’t looked this good since the first year. In fact, if we keep this up, we will have to expand the garden area into the chicken pen to make room for warm season crops.
In the next picture, you can clearly see where the beds were last year. They tilled up super nice compared to the former walk paths. (Compaction in action.) Further to the left, the ground hasn’t been used in three years and will require considerably more passes to break up the soil to an appropriate depth.
Lee wanted to use raised beds this year. Raised beds increase the amount of loosened topsoil we have to work with, help the soil dry out sooner so they can be worked earlier in the year, and keep the growing areas well defined so we don’t step in the beds and compact the soil. That’s the theory anyway. We will see how we like them.
Three years ago we planted our first six blueberry bushes along the edge of the garden. We quickly realized they were in a bad location. We need to lower the soil pH for the blueberries but raise it in the garden, so having them right next to each other causes an unresolvable conflict of soil chemistry. They are also constantly in the way (especially when you are trying to turn a large tiller at the row end). Since then we’ve been planting blueberries along the northern garden fence, in an area we’ve set aside for perennial food crops. Lee moved two of the misplaced blueberries last year and is determined to move the rest this year. For the most recent move, he sliced out a cube of soil around the blueberry using a digging hoe and dug a square hole at the destination. Then he moved the clod of dirt in a carefully orchestrated debacle involving a piece of plywood, a shovel, a mallet, a hoe, and me. It was quite the project. Only three more to go…
I found most of the asparagus has returned. They were lost in a sea of weeds. I think we may actually get to harvest some this year if we can keep the weeds down. I’ve read that asparagus like salty soil. Has anyone tried salting their asparagus beds to reduce the weed load?
There has been a lot of weeding going on. Even though Lee has his new tiller toy he is still using his hoe for weeding and I’ve been getting dirty hands. The weeds are growing like crazy, but we are catching up.
One of my 2009 vintage seed rows sprouted with a vengeance. These turnips were the most successful row of old seed. Everything else is spotty. I think I may need to thin these a tiny bit …