Friday, March 12, 2010

Turning over the soil, taking tools out of storage, and dusting off my blog

Yesterday was officially the first day of the 2010 gardening season at my house. The weather, for the first time, was sunny and a balmy 65 degrees. I want to do some improvements and expansions this year so it occurred to me I need to sit down and come up with a plan if I want to get everything ready before planting time. I gathered my materials around me: the new farmer's almanac, my sketch plan for the 2010 garden, several gardening books, my calendar, and some blank paper. I made a list of all the plants for this year's garden and looked up on the Purdue Extension Office website the recommended planting dates for each plant in our area. It shouldn't have surprised me, but the first planting dates are right around the corner (March 20 for peas and lettuce).

So I went outside into the garden and was pleased that the soil is fairly dried out (amazing considering the amount of snow we got in February this year). I had planted cover crops last fall: winter rye and hairy vetch. They are considered green manure which nourish the soil. So, as I'd read to do, I went out into the area I intend to plant with peas and lettuce and turned the soil. Literally. I turned it upside down so that the grasses are now underground where they can rot and send nutrients into the soil. I was thrilled to see the soil is in great shape. Very nice and healthy tilth and tons of earthworms (always a sign of healthy garden soil).

Then I got into the barn and dug out my pea trellises from last year. I had used plastic mesh stapled to the wood frames and that part was still in tact. But the twine I had used to secure the joints of the trellises had started rotting and I realized I'd used the last of our twine last fall. So I headed to Lowe's to buy some more twine. In the short time I was there, the clouds rolled in and it began to sprinkle. And then rain. Ah spring... So I never did get the chance to fix the trellises and get them set up. I am planning to do that on Saturday.

Also, I am planning to add 6 feet to the south end of my garden this year (6' X 20' = 120 sq. ft.). This will mean redoing our fencing and I haven't figured out how I am going to get rid of the grass that is there now. I'm going back and forth about a couple of different options. The truth of the matter is that it probably won't be really good garden soil until the 2011 garden, but that's okay. I'll do what I can this year.

I just love this time of year. I can't wait for the green to return.

Today's weather:
High temp: 60 F
Low temp: 42 F
Cloudy with drizzly rain.

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