Sunday, January 6, 2013
Garden Soil overhaul step 1.
Yesterday Chance and I picked up 6 bags of compost to get a start on overhauling the soil of our back garden.We also picked up 2- 20 pound bags of agricultural lime to mix in.
Here in Oregon it rains a lot, which can be an understatement to say the least. The rains leech out many minerals that are vital for healthy soil and vigorous gardens.Plants need both calcium and magnesium to be healthy.One of the best ways to fix this problem is to use agricultural lime.This kind of lime is usually a 50/50 mix of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.Pretty handy stuff,no mixing and figuring just spread it on.
There are various ratios for how much lime to use for how many square feet but Chance simply sprinkled a thick-ish layer all over so it was fairly even.He used half of one of the 20 pound bags over our big back garden and on some of our front garden beds.This seemed like a semi-educated guess to him.
If you live in the Willamette Valley like we do you may have problems with having too much clay in your soil as well. You can't live in an area that was once a giant lake and not have clay. This is where the importance of compost comes in.The compost will break up the clay in the soil and will slowly release the nutrients it holds into the soil.The compost also helps the soil retain water,makes it easier to dig and invites beneficial soil critters to move in and thrive.
This morning Chance laid out a 2 inch layer of compost over the lime on the back garden.He only got half way before he ran out but we still have time to finish.
This is only the first step in our soil overhaul.We will finish the layer of compost and then add a layer of new garden soil we will have dropped here.All of this will get mix together using a rented rototiller.
When plants are getting the nutrients they need to be happy and healthy they will actually pass on that good nutrition to you when you eat them.There is that circle of life thing in a not often thought of way-healthy soil,healthy plants leading to healthier you.I wonder if this point is also why homegrown veggies and fruits just taste so much better? Actually I think it may true because when you pick your veggies from out your backdoor they are at their peak of freshness.That freshness starts to fade the longer the time is from picking to eating.And if I remember right the nutrients start to fade too.
This past week I also looked around online to find out when the nurseries might have strawberry plants in.My Grandparents raised strawberries so I knew it was early in the Spring or very late Winter.I have chosen two varieties.I have chosen the Tri-Star's because they are "ever" bearing meaning we will get two crops and are great for jam.My second choice are the Rainier's,they produce only one crop but are also known for being excellent for making jam.Both will be available late March early February. I will call the nursery closer to that time to be sure of when they will be in.One year Chance and I were a week late on getting some onion sets we wanted badly,I don't want to miss out on berries!
Having a clearer idea of time will help us to know where exactly we need to put the building of the boxes on our "To Do " list. We will need to build and fill two raised beds for the berries,we would like to have one bed of each kind.I will be making a list of early planting seeds *** timed for this too.I am hoping we will make a small road trip an hour south to Albany to visit the Nichol's nursery,if we are going that far I might as well make a list for some one trip shopping.Yeah! A road trip to buy plants and seeds.Oh and one of our favorite coffee shops is right across the highway.Wow,that sure is going to suck..just kidding.
When I was looking at seeds online I came across a book that is coming out in March.
"The Drunken Botanist"written by Amy Stewart. I am going to be sure to check it out once it hits the stores.It might be fun to add in some plants and try some of her recipes.
We have been seeing that Spring chicks will be in soon at the local farm stores! We will be getting some of our own for sure.And Chance and I are working on timing a Chicken Butchering class for when some of those chicks will be of butchering age.We will keep all of you posted.
I would really love to hear what all of my readers are thinking about this time of year,have your input and feed back.It really does keep me motivated and I end up learning new things or meeting new friends.
*** After I posted this Chance and I were talking about seed needs for the coming year.We both realized that if we don't buy all of our seed in the early Spring there may be none to be had later for winter plantings.In the past we have not had enough seed to really see us through the winter months.Looks like that is trip to Nichol's is going to be a bigger shopping trip than I first thought.