Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

First day of Spring arrived in splendid fashion. Big full moon last night, clear skies today & it's starting to feel warm & looks like it's drying out (there's probably rain in the forecast now...)

I couldn't hold back any longer & started getting the veggie beds ready for true planting.

I had noticed that the deer prefer to walk through a raised veggie bed instead of around it - plus they had eaten the tops off all my onions back in February, so I threw some plastic sheeting over top & now that the weather is warming up, my husband very kindly build some frames for the plastic to be draped over. Later on we will remove the plastic & attached fish netting to keep the deer out, but for now this seems to be doing the trick.

Since I'm trying a 'new method' of gardening this year (the 'no-dig' method) I layered up my amendments. I sprinkled on some lime and then some alfalfa pellets. Realizing that the alfalfa pellets smell JUST LIKE DEER FOOD, I then put on a layer of steer manure & since that wasn't enough, I emptied my 2 totes of compost - pushing it through a screen first.
That last bit was stinky & messy - the totes allowed the compost to continue doing its thing & there was a bit too much moisture, so it started to smell bad. But it's now on 3 of my veggie beds, with the plastic draped back in place. The addition of a nice healthy population of earthworms should get things moving along & in a few weeks, I'll be seeding lots!

After I was finished with this project, I realized I had neglected to test my soil's pH - which I had wanted to do with a simple little kit I was given. (The 'giver' wasn't too impressed with the test kit, indicating it didn't work very well, so this was going to be a fun little experiment for me...forgot to do it!) But, I have another couple of beds that haven't been readied, so I will give it a shot with them. I already have a feeling that the results will indicate that the soil is too acidic - one bed is for potatoes this year, so that is right where it should be, and the other is a new bed from last year that didn't produce well. Can't wait to see what the kit shows.

And I found the first of the dandelions - in my yard. I know they've been popping up elsewhere, but since this is the year I take my revenge on weeds by eating as many of them as I can, it was nice to see their golden heads appearing. They are also a good sign that the bumble bees should be arriving in full force soon. Dandelions are one of the first & last blooms that are an important food source for bees - I try to leave a few around at all times just for them.

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