S-P-R-I-N-G…

Oh my sweet goodness gracious! Last weekend blessed us with some beautiful weather, so we were busy working on several different projects getting prepared for Spring!

However, it was just a teaser. The temps quickly dropped and the rain, rain, rain has been upon us. This afternoon did clear off and actually turn into a nice day. But, colder temps are still lingering and appears that they’ll be with us for another week. Hopefully, next weekend Spring will officially spring!

I originally started writing one big blog post about all the things we’re working on, but then realized it was going to be waaaaay too long. So, I’m dividing them into categories which I think will be much more pleasurable to follow.

Let me start with our garden prep…

2 weeks ago, I decided to plant green pea seeds. I was going through all my packets of seeds, saw that they like “the cooler weather”, so decided “what the hay!” I didn’t have my heart set on green peas, so, if they didn’t do well, then ok. But, if they do grow then that’s one more thing to add to our abundance. Well, lo and behold…they’ve sprouted!!! How awesome is that?!

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2 of our raised beds were dismantled, and their dirt moved to a “no till” plot we created. It’s very easy to do, and there are a few different ways to accomplish the same result. (Simply do a Google or Youtube search for “No Till Gardening” for suggestions and instructions to fit your liking. )

First, we laid down several layers of cardboard and newspaper, enough to cover the grass completely. We even used our brown paper chicken feed bags! (Gotta love a multi-purpose item!) Then we wet it all down. Next, we began layering the dirt from the raised boxes along with some of the dirt from our compost pile. (Ooooo…let me say that one more time. The dirt from our compost pile. Squeal!)

ImageThis is the area where the 2 raised beds were.

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 And here’s the 2 remaining beds and the no till plot.

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 We’ll be taking a trip to the landscape supply store on the next weather permitting Saturday to purchase a half cubic yard of Mushroom Compost to finish out the no till plot and help build it up to a deeper planting depth. We’ve had great success adding mushroom compost to our garden, but we’ve always purchased it by the cubic FOOT bag from our local nursery. I’ve since found that if we go to a landscape supply yard, we can purchase a half cubic YARD at a savings of over $28.00! Yes, it will be loaded loose into the back of our pick up, and yes, we will have to shovel it out and move it ourselves. It won’t come in a handy, dandy plastic bag to be easily moved into the back yard. But we don’t mind putting a little more sweat equity into the garden if it saves the wallet that kind of money! And the landscape supply yard is in our neighborhood, so we don’t have to travel any distance to get it. Why I never found this place before now, I’ve no idea. (Kicks self!)

When we removed the top layers of our compost, this is what we saw. The darkest, fluffiest, most earthy smelling black gold ever!

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 The picture does it no justice! AND…it was full of THESE…

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 That’s ALWAYS a good sign! 🙂 To make the most of it, after we finished getting all the cardboard covered of the no till area, we went ahead and topped off the 2 remaining raised beds with compost. I guess I should consider the rains we’ve had a true blessing. I’m sure they’ve helped to soak all the yummy microbial goodness down into the beds and help to get them ready for planting in. And the worms are now doing their happy dance, aerating and fertilizing.

I also started some flower seeds in pots (too boring of a picture to post – lol!). I’m trying to give them a     2 – 3 week head start on the vegetables. If I can have them established and blooming before the bad bugs arrive, hopefully I will have attracted enough predatory bugs and pollinators to give the veggies a fighting chance. That was a valuable lesson learned last year. We put everything out all at one time. And guess which bugs arrived FIRST? So, we’ll see if my experiment works this year.

Well, that’s all for now. Next time I’ll have to tell you about the newest members of our chicken flock, our new coop construction and the further plans we have for our backyard homestead this season!

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