Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gardening plans

This lovely spring weather has me itching to get started on our garden!  I have put a good deal of thought into what the best route for us to take this year.  As we have found, we have a lot of clay on our hill.  I am not the biggest fan of plowing and tilling for garden space as we want to preserve as much beneficial worm activity as possible!  While I grew up with a traditional large row garden, I knew that weeding was something I wanted to spend a lot of time doing.  So, what options am I left with?  I want something that is low maintenance because having a toddler and 53 acres to maintain will keep us busy!

{ lasagna gardening }

No, it's not necessarily just like it sounds.  One might be led to believe that it is a garden where only veggies that are useful for making lasagna are grown.  The basic idea is to layer organic materials such as compost, peat moss, composted manure, and other things you can get your hands on.  A layer of newspaper or cardboard is laid down underneath the "bed" to kill off the grass and provide a yummy lunch for earth worms to start munching on.  Over time, the earthworm activity, combined with actively adding more compost to the bed helps to remediate poor soil. The beds can be planted in immediately, but do best when started in the fall and allowed to "cook" all winter.  I really like this idea and have saved the cardboard from our windows to use under the beds.

{ square foot gardening } 
This method really appeals to the analytical side of me!  The basic premise is building a raised bed of whatever dimension you choose, as long as it is a whole number.  Inside the bed, you put in a mix of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.  You can plant immediately and since there is no remediation of the existing soil, you can have an abundant garden.  You plant in each "square" and can plant up to three times each year in one square, so crop rotation is automatic.  I have purchased the "All New Square Foot Gardening" book and have made a shopping list for materials to go this route.  I plan to lay cardboard underneath the beds to help kill off the grass.  I have some chicken wire to put on the bottom as well to discourage any rodents from a free lunch.  There is also a treillis system I plan to build for tomatoes, squash, melons, and cucumbers.  I will be updating with my progress once we get started!

Tomorrow I will share our choice of seeds and garden layout!

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