So the season starts anew with sunshine and hope for a great spring and summer. Along with that I’ve looked forward to finding activities to steer me away from studying for the dreaded PE exam. Thus, it marks the perfect time to begin my 2014 gardening endeavors. Like every start to the season I get to start from scratch and that means I get to fix all of my mistakes from last season.
The first step in the process is planning what it is I want to grow and where (where, I’ve learned, is super key). This year I explored planning sites online. I found this one great free program that has already planned beds that you can select or you can make your own. I reviewed the planned beds and used that knowledge to plan my own two beds. This layout is for the two beds farthest east in my yard, those that line right up to our wooden fence. Last year I used the one that is partially shaded for all of my leafy greens (a good choice because they seem to do really well in shade) and my tomatoes (the worst choice I have ever made gardening). Last year my roommate used the other bed, that is fully sunlit, for her squashes and zucchinis, that did really well there.
So here is what those plans look like from the program. I can already tell that I am going to alter them a bit. For one reason, I have a lot of swiss chards and some spring greens popping up that never went away from last summer growing right in the dead center of the bed on the right. Of course I won’t get rid of these so I will be moving those lettuces over to the right. I am also not going to try planting hot peppers because from my reading, they just don’t grow well when they are not in the scorching heat and sun. I have seeds already for most of the rest of the plants from last year (hopefully they are still good) and then I will buy tomato starter plants a little later in the season.
The next step was to clear out and prepare the garden beds for planting. This I did on Sunday in a matter of an hour. It only took me an hour but it was a solid hour where I broke a good sweat and my back is still sore from the shoveling. I did use a shovel this time. I basically just went in and shaved off the entire layer of the soil to remove all of the weeds, grass and larger rocks. I shoveled that into our yard waste bin. Then I used the little rolling mixer tool to loosen the soil and remove any deeper roots or rocks and then raked all of that loose material up and removed that as well. Tada, pretty and clean garden beds.
My next plan is to go and actually buy some good potting soil. I removed a bunch of the old material and I would like to get a few bags to replenish the soil with necessary vitamins and minerals. I also have another bed that gets direct sunlight that I would like to use but is currently overrun by some small little purple flowers that my neighbor apparently (generously?) strewed their seeds all over at the end of last year. They are pretty flowers and now that our yard is so bare from Steve taking a giant hack at it I want to just move the flowers to other parts of the yard but I know that will take additional work. But that last step in the preparation of the beds will be my next move.