A Springtime Garden

It is finally time to start planning our garden! I have been thinking a lot about what I would change from last year.The first thing to do is to get my raised garden beds prepared for this year’s growing season. I pulled everything out of the gardens in the greenhouse – I really should have done this a while ago, but it’s been pretty cold lately. As I was pulling the plants, I found a small amount of potatoes! I thought that there hadn’t been enough time for the potatoes to grow, but we had a few baby ones! I ended up pulling a small bowl’s worth of potatoes, that I then used to in a chicken and dumpling recipe.
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After clearing out the old and dying plants (and thrilled to do it, I must say!) I amended the soil in the raised gardens both inside the greenhouse and also beside the deck. To do this, I added compost from Harvest called Nutri-Fibre compost. I looked a while online to figure out a good brand of compost before buying several bags from Lowe’s. I wish the compost we have going in our compost barrel was ready, but I think it still needs a bit of work before adding it to the soil. We need to add some of the bacteria to help speed up breaking down the items we added into the compost barrel. Harvest gets really good reviews and is recommended by many gardeners online. This particular type can cover 90 square feet! That’s all of the raised gardens in my greenhouse 🙂 A little goes a long way. I added a little bit of the compost per raised garden bed and mixed it well with the garden rake. After mixing and tilling the soil, I watered each bed down to help deliver the goodies from the compost to the entire bed. The photographs below show both the bag of compost and the spreading of compost into the raised beds.

20150208_09333120150208_094244I then took the time to smooth out the gardens so that they are ready for planting! I did the same thing to the gardens next to the deck. The three-tiered raised garden needs more soil added before it will be ready for planting. The next warm weekend, I plan to go to Lowe’s to buy more of the soil necessary to make the Mel’s Mix 1:1:1.

20150208_094821 20150208_102348As you can see, we still plan to have a pond in the center of the greenhouse – we’re just working on the best way to get the liner in and squared away. The beauty of having a pond is that with the turtles living in there (and maybe some Koi?) we can use the water filled with nutrients to water the gardens. It will also help regulate the moisture and humidity inside the greenhouse. The biggest change we made to the greenhouse is that we took off the inner layer of lining! I love it with just one liner, I think that it’s 1) aesthetically pleasing, and 2) lets more light in for the plants!

20150208_102329 20150208_112015I can’t wait until we have the greenhouse gardens cranking! Hopefully, with the lessons learned from last year’s attempt and the reading I’ve been doing on gardening we’ll have more output this year. Oh, and I’m going to attend a gardening class at Durham Tech! I can’t wait to see what sustainable methods they teach us and how to implement that in my own gardening practices. It starts in mid-March and goes for 6 weeks.

With the raised beds prepared and ready to go, I started seeds this week so that the garden can begin growing the vegetables earlier. Thanks to my handy-dandy AeroGarden the seeds can be started at any time, once I know what vegetables to begin growing. I needed to do some research as to which vegetables can handle late winter/early spring weather conditions. Up first, two types of peas (sugar and regular bush), onions (sweet and bunching), carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. I set the AeroGarden up and added nutrients to the water and placed the light timer on the “herb” setting which allows for more light for faster growth. The plan is that in four weeks or so, to transplant these guys into the gardens in the greenhouse (just in case we get a freeze or something crazy in late March) and start another set of the same seeds/veggies to have a staggered growth. With this, we can have multiple plants of these vegetables growing that should be staggered enough, but growing early enough in the season, that we’ll get the most out of the gardens. Once April hits, I’ll have to be gung ho about getting the summer vegetables in. I may need to start those earlier to get them growing.  Green Thumbilina will keep you all posted!

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