Spring 2015: Preparing the Soil For Another Season

GreenBee620

Well, its spring!  Yes, finally.  So its time to get as busy as the bees are going to be later when I give them some work to do with the new vegetable crop I’m going to plant this year.  And that means its time to think about preparing my soil again.  It’s time, also, to start some seedlings indoors (I’m a little late this year due to other projects) .  But am I worried?  Well, yes, I was.  But not after putting in my yearly call to the soil testing folks  today at A&L Great Lakes Labs.  These people are such a help!

You’ll remember that last year I started with a brand new plot with not so great soil.  But with help from the lab, the soil was improved and I got a bumper harvest of turnips, tomatoes and butternut squash.  I’m still eating on the squash which has made some absolutely delicious butternut squash soup this winter!  (I’m hoping to finally squeeze some butternut squash bread out of one of the gourds) I’ll post the recipes soon.

I also tried a winter garden this year and I have to admit the results were not as impressive.  The extreme temps, ice and the lack of mil thickness on the crop cover led to some crop damage.  Lesson learned.  I’ll be trying to invest in a stronger covering for next year.  There was also a bit of moss and mold that developed because of all the moisture. But my onions and garlic seem to have survived.  The food sustainability project lives and learns.

As I said, I called the folks at the lab today and they gave me 5 things to remember for this year.

  1. The soil report from the labs is good for 2-3 years.
  2. Put in the same NPK application measurements as last year.
  3. It won’t harm the existing plants.  Work into the soil around them.
  4. Turn the mold and moss under when you till the soil.
  5. Rotate the bed.  In other words, if you planted tomatoes on one end and squash on the other end – switch them.  Just don’t plant anything in the same spot.  This will help avoid pests.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  It’s time for me to get those seedlings started as well. Last year I recycled toilet paper rolls which worked great for transplanting!  This year I’ll be trying a cost saver by recycling the egg shells from my ducks and chickens as seed start containers.  Working my way slowly into total sustainability. Wash the egg shells first (mine are soaking as I write this) and then prick a tiny hole in the bottom for drainage.  Your seedlings get the added benefit of the calcium in the egg! When you are ready to plant them, just crush the egg shell bottom a little and it breaks down into the soil as well as providing some pest control.  Not a bad deal.

It’s Spring so its time to get growing!  Till next time…

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