Friday, November 20, 2009

Preparing for Spring

So, you've read all about front-yard gardens and back-yard gardens in Rodgers Forge, and you're eager to start your own next year. Well, the time to start working on that garden is now. There is plenty of work you can do this fall to make your garden better next year.

Find a Place For the New Bed: Pick a sunny spot somewhere in your yard. Keep in mind that the sun is in a different spot now than it will be in June of next year. Make sure a water source is nearby. Also, make sure it is out of the way of any activity that might happen in the yard in warmer months.

Make Your Bed: We prefer raised beds, framed with two-by material -- usually 2x8 or 2x10. Make a box with no top or bottom (in other words, earth will be the bottom and the sky will be the top) that has a maximum width of three to four feet. (Your arms have to be able to reach the center to weed and pick.) The box can be as long as you like. Then dig that into your selected sunny spot.

Get Soil: You can get bagged stuff or bulk. Fill the box. You'll find it cheaper to get soil in bulk through, say, a compost operation.

You now have a garden bed that will hold plants next year. But you can do more to help the bed grow more vegetables come spring....

Set Up a Composter: You can set that up right on top of your new bed. Fill it with leaves and grass clippings and turn often. (See our brief guide to composting for more information.)

Dig In Leaves: It is absolutely insane that we bag up leaves and throw them away. The leaves are valuable soil amendments, filled with nutrients. Take a bagful, spread it on the soil, and dig it in. Take another bagful and use the leaves to cover the bed, insulating it from hard rains and cold snaps. When spring comes, you will pull those leaves off and compost them, and your garden bed will be ready to go.

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