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The garden plot, finally done

And planted.

I worked every day last week for this. Before I committed, I learned that in the beginning it would take about twenty hours a week. Well, that’s if you aren’t working with an old garden plot that needs to be weeded. I have probably spent about forty hours on this ground. We got a lot out last fall, but not the grasses. I hate grass in my beds.

Three east to west beds terraced above one north to south bed.

After that, time to compost. I had two bags of a compost mix I bought. I spread those on the far south and east beds. I then spread a mix of steer and chicken manure compost (ratio is steer:chicken – 5:2). Continuing to do a bit of yard clean up and making my own compost. But it’s hard. The compost keeps on shrinking. How can I make a 3′ x 3′ pile if it does that?

I’m trying the organic thing. Why organic? Because I believe in biology. I like the ‘first do no harm’ ideal. I think it’s smart to think of my garden soil as a living ecology that I can work with to help the plants. I feel like I’ll be able to grow vegetables that are tastier and healthier.

But I’m scared. I don’t really understand the soil well and not all plants are the same. I’m still at the ‘do what I’m told’ stage, and all the seed and transplants don’t assume organic. That’s a lot for a beginner gardener. Also, watering. In a desert. When, and how much? I’m putting all this work in, and what result will I get?

So, what have I planted so far? On April 7th, I planted carrots with a cardboard box over them so the soil won’t crust over. But went I checked it today, there was quite a bit of drying. Argh. Hope it’s okay this early in the game. I watered again and soaked the cardboard. That same day, I also planted peas (with innoculant), and the sweet onion sets. Today, April 9th, I started the plain onion sets and the green onion seeds. Then I spread the rest of the lettuce. My last lettuce, I kind of treated like weeds. Just scattered them about and left them. No watering or anything. Didn’t do well. These lettuces are on my freshly composted soil with fertilizer and I’ll make sure they get watered.

Two rows of peas, planted 1-2 inches apart. I'm not normally paying so much attention to row spacing, except I'll need a trellis for these. Cardboard in the corner is over the carrots. Hope that works.

I am using a fertilizer. It’s an overall organic one, with lots of micro-nutrients and starters for beneficial soil organisms. So, let’s hope.

Well, my seedlings are doing well, anyway. Their first leaves have shown, and I gave them a bit of fertilizer in my last watering. That isn’t organic. I figure it’s an artificial environment anyway, with the soil sterile. I raised the lights about an inch. Tomorrow I’ll be thinning them all out. I think it may be time to transplant them too.

These are the cherry tomatoes.

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2 comments

  1. Whoa Nellie! What a beautiful garden! I think you will do fine with organic. Our garden has always been semi-organic. I prefer organic…my gardening partner likes to spray things. I think they are still healthier than what we get in the store that is grown in the huge motofarms. I always cave on the organic part when squash bugs appear. They can wipe out a huge zucchini plant overnight. And they really really like to reproduce.

    A comment on transplanting your tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t like snow. They don’t like cold. 32 degrees will kill them. You’ve got about a month before they should be transplanted outdoors. Are you doing an intermediate transplant?

    Great job!!

  2. I know tomatoes, at least. It will be an intermediate transplant. I don’t want them having crowded roots. I just might purchase about three more mature plants though, and keep them sheltered so I have some earlier tomatoes. The grocery store has some with blossoms already on them! Crazy. I don’t want them that mature.

    Was just reading about squash bugs. I’ve never had them. But apparently you can help protect the plants by killing their eggs in early summer. Here is the link. http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/technique-organic-squash-bug-control?page=0,0

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