It cuts like a knife…

(You’re welcome for putting that song into your head)

I was playing around in the dirt more today.  Since I’m taking on this garden plot I want to make sure I have some idea how the dirt should feel when I’m working it.  I don’t usually spend much time turning over the soil.  I much rather prefer the sheet mulching/lasagna method of gardening.  I don’t think I’ve ever turned over the soil in my beds.  But, I went out there tonight with my potato fork and turned over the soil a little to see how it felt.  A quick shove and the fork sunk all the way up to the handle.  6-8 inches easily.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m feeling pretty good about my ability to build up nice friable soils, at least at home.

I got a good feel for how the soil feels so when I’m working up the garden plot I’ll know when it’s getting into the same kind of condition.  You should have seen all the worms.  Dozens and dozens per forkful.  It’s amazing how nature works when you work with it instead of against it.

I also spent some time pulling up creeping charlie.  Personally I don’t have a problem with creeping charlie, but my wife and my mother in law do.  I’m trying to keep the chemicals off the lawn so I persist in pulling it up by hand.  Today I used a garden rake and then my scuffle hoe to dig up the roots.  Then I went around by hand and pulled up what I could find.  After that I threw down a bunch of grass seed, watered it and then covered it with dried leaves.  I hope the the grass will grow in and overcome the creeping charlie.  If I can get the grass to take I’m going to turn the chickens loose there this summer or next so they can dig and till up the soil.  Hopefully they will be able to eradicate the creeping charlie, if it’s still around.

I spent some time today drawing up a garden plan for the garden plot.  If I had a way to get a picture up here on the site I would.  I have a pdf copy of it and I don’t know how to get it on here for you all.  Anyway, it was quite a bit of fun to draft it.  I drew a 2 ft wide row down the middle of the plot and put a 1 ft wide row between each bed.  That means each bed worked out to 48 sq ft.  I really didn’t know what to do with all this space.

I’m planning to grow 4 different kinds of dried beans, along with regular green beans.  Since I finally have the space I’m going to do 3 beds of the 3 sisters garden.  I’m also going to do at least one bed of peanuts.  If I have enough I’m going to plant two beds, which would replace one bed of green beans.  (My mother in law brought me back some peanuts from Missouri to plant this year, but I didn’t think I would have space)  I also am planning to plant 4 beds of potatoes, about half a bed of sweet potatoes and a bed and a half of assorted greens and lettuces.  One bed is dedicated to carrots and one to winter squash.  Watermelon and cantaloupe are going to share a bed and I’m putting the tomatoes in a row between onions, marigolds and carrots to help with pest control.  Finally I have one bed dedicated to pumpkins.

There are 9 beds total so I can rotate the crops fairly easily.  I’m trying to proceed a heavy feeder with a legume where possible, and in some instances I’m also following the heavy feeder with a legume.

All this planning is forcing me to get a lot more organized with my garden planning.  That’s really good.  I’m still not planning much for my home space (I don’t know why frankly) but it’s nice having a plan for the other space.


7 responses to “It cuts like a knife…

  1. You need the home space for the chickens now! 🙂

  2. spread gluten on yard in fall before weeds start up–natural weed killer-may take couple years but will kill winter weeds- prob can get at greenhouse?- garden cntr. crops look good here PLENTY of rain–may plant some rice. lol…dad

  3. Hi –
    Nine vegetable beds? You must have half an acre where you live and garden.
    So tell us more about your sustainable garden/chicken farm.
    Are you growing from seed or buying seedlings?
    Why grow beans to dry when they are so inexpensive to buy?
    Simplifying is what brought us where we live now and growing food is integral to that renewal. Glad you were able to do it, too.

  4. Martha–

    I have about 1/3 of an acre at my house, which houses 450 sq ft of raised beds, planted intensively. I am also renting for the first time a garden plot which is 1000 sq ft and it will also be planted intensively.

    I grow from seed and start my own seedlings. My seedlings are hit or miss for the most part so most things are planted from seeds. I try to start tomato and pepper plants and they come out OK, but they never look as hardy as the ones that professionals grow. I also buy some seedlings to transplant at the markets around here from surplus farmer plants.

    You’re right, dried beans are so inexpensive, but I needed to work in a nitrogen fixer to follow the heavy feeders in my crop rotation scheme. We can only eat so many green beans, and peas are my nemesis, I can never get them to grow. I’ve had good results with dried beans in the past so I’m using them again. I’m also trying peanuts too because they also fix nitrogen and I have some free seeds.

  5. Can’t wait to find out how your peanut plants grow.

    I still salivate remembering yummy boiled peanuts back when we lived in South Carolina. They are the ultimate snack food!

    Good luck!

  6. after double digging the first of two 5×10 raised beds, the lasagna method is looking better and better.

    and how can you not love peas!? I can hardly plant enough to have some left over from my constant picking and eating right on the spot.

  7. Kory–I love fresh peas. The problem is that my yard is cursed and can’t grow them. On occasion I can get the plants to grow, but not get any pods from them. I usually buy every batch I can find at the market.

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