So it is still dark out right now or I would get some photos of my seedlings, which are all doing well (I did throw out the first batch of broccoli seedlings because they got too leggy and fell over, but now that I have restarted them they are doing well) and are now living out on my balcony to harden off before going in the garden. I mentioned the other day that I did finally get my beds finished, below is a picture.
After finishing them I was too tired to do anything more.
They are held together with nails, so they aren’t super sturdy, but they don’t exactly have to be, since it’s not like they’re holding a ton of soil anyway. Then yesterday I went out to begin the hard work: tilling. While the soil is very good (probably from having tons of compost applied over a period of years) and I don’t think I’ll need to till in the future, for now it has gotten too compacted from me stomping around trying to get rid of weeds for me to be able to use it as is. So I double dug the first bed yesterday, though I didn’t do it exactly as pictured (I made my life much harder by digging out the entire bed at once rather than in sections and by putting the dirt to the sides of the bed rather than in a wheelbarrow). Once I was loosening up the second layer, there was definitely some clay, which surprised me, since I expected sandy soil here in FL. The top layer, though, is very nice, not clay-like and not sandy. I did add a wheelbarrow load of cow manure, but that was mainly just to make sure I had a load to use (the pile has only been there for about a week and already it is half gone), since that much manure is probably too much for one bed. Whenever I dig out the second bed I will probably end up moving about half of the manure over. Meanwhile, hopefully the worms will move in and start breaking it down, because it is much fresher than I would have liked and is definitely not really composted down. I am hoping that I am adding little enough not to damage my plants. I would like to add some compost to the beds as well, but there isn’t any ready right now at the garden and I’m not sure whether I want to spring for some bags of it at the store or not (I probably won’t). I would really like to get some worm castings but those are very expensive so I will probably just ask Santa for a vermicomposting kit to put in my apartment instead so I can generate my own worm castings. Once I finished all the digging, I added some manure at the bottom of the bed and tilled it in, then put the soil back in and tilled some more, then added the other half of the manure (which again will probably end up being scooped into the bottom of the other bed). It looked like this:
I actually got a blister from all the digging!
I then added some cardboard to deter any weeds that might germinate from the light exposure:
Doesn’t it look so nice and neat?
And finally I put some black weedblock fabric over the top of it (and added cardboard around the sides as well):
I am hoping that the cardboard and the fabric will help prevent any weeds from germinating after being exposed to the light during the tilling process. I am also planning on using cardboard as mulch around my plantings to help prevent moisture evaporation as well as weed germination. Hopefully having the beds raised like this will prevent water from pooling in them, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem since we are now going into a relatively dry season. I am hoping to go out and finish the other bed on Tuesday morning. If all goes well I should be able to start planting some things by next week (I want to get everything at least a week to settle after all the disturbance). Meanwhile I will probably start working on fashioning all the fencing into some sort of trellis. I am also planning on making a low cage to cover the entire bed to protect seeds/seedlings from birds and armadillos. I am not sure whether that would end up being permanent or whether I would remove it when things get to a certain size. I will leave you with a couple of cat pictures.
Laziest cat in the world
He must be within four feet of me at all times (unfortunately, this includes when I’m trying to cook!)