07 June 2009

Garden Day 8

or "Where have you been?"

I have been mostly out in the garden.

If you are on Facebook, you may have seen some of the updates, but I haven't made much time for that, either. ;)

This is all taking a very long time, because I am starting fresh beds with the French Intensive method/permaculture/biodynamic.

(I have no idea what to call it -- it's inspired by all of those, but isn't really any of them.)

What that essentially means is that each row requires that I dig a trench, and then fill it with compost, amendments, and soil back to the surface -- and *then* I can plants my babies.

I'm not strong or persistent enough to dig along the entire row, so I dig side by side holes along the row and fill and plant them as I go. It takes longer, but I can take breaks every so often and plant -- and that's why I do this hard work -- to plant, not to dig!

It takes some time, especially since our sandy soil is essentially nutrient free.

I dig down...I don't know, half a shovel handle or so -- until I break through the sand, to the clay, and through the clay to the lighter, fluffier stuff.

Then I add alfalfa, manure, peat, and amendments (rock dust, lime, fish meal, kelp meal, fish bone meal, blood meal, bone meal, etc.) mix it all together, add more sand and clay and mix it in.

Once it's thoroughly mixed, I start again with more dirt, more alfalfa, more manure and peat, more amendments. That is repeated four or five levels, making sure that the soil and all the amendments are thoroughly mixed at every level.

It seems like a lot of work -- but this is basically starting new beds.

Once they're in, I will dig nutrient into the top foot or so with a spade as I plant next year. Maybe. We're thinking we might try "lasagna" or no till gardening Next year. We will cover the beds over with amendments and mulch in the fall.

In the spring, we would have to dig only enough to get through the mulch to the dirt and get the plants feet in nice black dirt. It sounds far easier on the back and a lot faster to get to the fun part ... and I may well still be double-digging new rows to make our 400 square feet come fall.

Anyway, so far I mostly have tomatoes, peppers and potatoes in. A new row of eggplant and horseradish will go in tomorrow between the potatoes and tomatoes, and then once the fence is complete, I can start putting in cabbage and three sisters. I also have an herbal row along the outside of the fence. It's part protection from insects and distraction for bunnies and it's part herb garden for us, if the furry neighbors leave us any.

Anyway, I have just been informed by my garden apprentice that it is way past my bedtime.

Good night all!

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