We want tender delicious vegetables.
How do we get what we want?
We give the roots what they want. Crumbly brown nutrient rich soil.
If we had been smart, we would have applied and tilled in manure and composts over the years into a selected area and let nature do it's thing.
(SM spoke with a fellow here intown who has lived and gardened his plot for 20+ years and that is exactly what he does. Now he's got the good stuff.)
I want his good stuff and I want it now.
Immediate gratification. Gimmie gimmie gimmie!
Well, if you want it, you can have it....for a price. My price was $500.00
Every spring I get into a "project" mode. Last year we re-tiled a bathroom floor and replaced the grungy old carpet in SM's office since he was now "self-employed" and he needed a nice workspace.
$500 dollars is what I consider a "doable" for our budget. It's an "ouch" not a "yikes".
I started all my own veggie seeds and some flowers too. This helped my sanity through Febuary as everyone knows Febuary is the toughest month to get through. Just watching those seedlings sprout made me a proud mamma. "Go babies go!"
Along comes March with tons of rain. I make a Home Depot run. With raised beds on my mind, I start estimating wood and fencing. Dogs and bunnies to keep out. (Thank God no deer so far) I hit several $$$ without even touching the soil. This won't do. Where can I compromise? I decide against the wood for now.
I plan to "dig out" and "backfill" with the good stuff. I just couldn't see being sucessful with "raising" a bed on my hard concrete clay, but I thought we might do better digging in and (over the years) creating a deeper inground bed with wood frames (next year perhaps?) slowly raising the bed over time.
In 12 years I have never seen my backyard pond. We had so much rain in March that I was concerned we'd never get the garden started. I lucked out on one dry weekend and started the "big dig".
I managed 3 of the 4x4ish beds on my own. (think pottery clay, soaking wet and heavy) Once this stuff dries you'd need dynamite to loosen it up.
I was done. Pooped.
SM (who'd been up to his eyeballs in work came out to investigate.) He wanted lots of tomatoes and peppers and I wanted lots of beans and squash. "My holes, my plants! If you want more...get to work!"
So he did, God bless him. (Food is an amazing motivator...smile)
He finished out 2 more 4x4's and a "landing strip...a longish 4x10 strip where, he announces, "the tomatoes will go."
I managed to get two plots backfilled with "Mel's Mix". I planted Alaska peas, sugar peas, lettuces and onions and we barely got the fence around it and "here comes the rain again."
April has been drier and I've direct seeded and transplanted all my babies in the "good stuff". (Just transplanted the peppers tonight.)
I like to think the roots are dancing in the soil now. I notice lots of soil compression, so I'll be adding more compost to raise the beds when the spring garden is finished. I do plan on a summer replanting and hoping for a fall/winter garden too.
Here's the show...