Spring is already here! Today it was glorious outside and when the weather breaks, it’s hard for me to focus on indoor tasks.
My bulbs are starting to peek out and bloom. I’m babying my little seedlings in the greenhouse, prepping garden beds and dreaming of a bountiful harvest.
Last summer we worked on getting our garden fenced from the critters (especially our one year old Aussie named Blew) and laying out the garden beds.
I’ve been studying perma-culture also known as no dig gardening for the last couple of years in preparation for this spring. This method basically mimics what happens in a forest with new layers of compost material laid down each year but no tilling.
I’m in Texas Hill Country and that means rocks! Lots and lots of rocks. But the soil between them is black and rich and beautiful.
To create our garden beds, we removed the rocks about 6-8 inches below our beds. And when I say “we”, I really mean my sweet husband and a pick-axe. Then we created 6 inch raised beds on top and filled them with topsoil, compost and mulch. This was done late last summer so that we’d have the winter to let things settle and compost.
I’m also experimenting with hay bale gardening. It’s really clever. We found a farmer fairly close that doesn’t spray his hay with herbicide. This is very important because the weed killer will persist in the hay and kill your veggies. You put the bale so that the cut ends are facing up, sprinkle with high nitrogen fertilizer every other day and water every day. In about 5 days, a compost thermometer will show they are heating up and composting in place. After about 2 weeks, stop fertilizing and once they are down to 80 degrees, you just plant directly in the hay bales. Currently I have leeks and Kale growing and have planted carrots and beets. Because of the big rocks in our soil, I decided this was the best method for root veggies as we build soil in the rest of the garden. The bonus is that the hay bales will become lovely rich composted soil to add to the beds.
We’ve been composting since we got here and lucky for us, we have a neighbor kid with turkeys for his 4H project. Oh the wonders of turkey poo. We also save our kitchen scraps to compost. Because we use the “lasagna” method and there is only the two of us, we keep a bag in the freezer to put coffee grounds and vegetable trimmings. Then when it’s full, we have enough for a layer. I also leave a 5 gallon bucket with a local coffee shop and they call me when it’s full of coffee grounds. I currently have 4 compost piles in various stages.
To prepare the garden beds after winter, all we do is use a pitchfork to barely break the soil. This is just to allow more oxygen for the organisms. We then add a top dressing of compost to add nutrients and we’re ready to plant.
Last fall, I planted lots of hard-neck and soft-neck garlic, shallots and onions. They should be ready to harvest in about 60 days.
So, as I said last month, as the spring weather comes, my focus shifts to outdoor activities. I admit that I didn’t do much sewing or embroidery in February. I'm also in the midst of getting my sewing/craft room put together finally. I've ordered the parts for my new desk/storage solution and when it's done and presentable, I'll share photos.
Of course, I have a free design for y’all.
Hoping your March is the best!