The first weekend in March I took a gamble and put in a few rows of my spring/summer garden. Planting this year was less effort and more effort than in years past because hubby has decided that tilling is not good for the soil--I'm not exactly sure why it is not good, but I'm willing to give it a try this year. The garden has had a rough time the last two years, we got some produce, just not very much, so a change is probably in order.
Not tilling meant less effort up front because I never had to wrestle with the tiller, but also more effort because I had to use a hoe to loosen the top layer of soil (I'm not exactly sure if that is okay per hubby's 'new idea', but shhh, I know no other way of getting seeds planted without lovely loose soil). Luckily, over the last 7 years we have worked so much compost and organic matter into the soil, we have a really good base, so I don't think we'll be missing out by not tilling in the amendments I have poured on over the winter (4 bales of straw, a load or two of mulch, a truck load full of composted cow manure, 2 huge boxes of horse manure) All of that is mostly broken down into the soil, the larger chunks I just raked into the path areas.
To make room for the new season, all the 2011 garden hold outs were pulled--mostly just turnips and mint (argh my weedy mint is taking over the back quarter of the garden). There is one row of peas and one row of Kale which will remain along the back of the garden.
We have harvested and eaten turnips all winter and there was still enough left over to fill a child's wheelbarrow.
Garden layout wise we went back to planting in standard rectangular rows instead of the more visually pleasing V shaped planting beds. This was a decision based solely on ease of watering. From the looks of things, we will have another dry year and my #1 concern is making it easy for me to water my garden.
With lovely 70 degree weather I put in a 2 x 20 foot row of green beans (tri-color mixed, Jade, and Contender), a 3x20 foot row of summer squash (round, patty pan, caserta, cocozelle, umm.... 5 varieties in all) and 9 tomato plants. In all honesty, it is probably too early for tomatoes. But it is so hard to resist the flats of lovely plants at the nursery.
March 8 and 9th are cold and rainy, 42 degrees, but with a lovely slow drenching rain. I could do without the cold, but the rain is just perfect to kick off the growing season.
The oregano and parsley are doing great
The aquaponics set up is just so so, there is some nice lettuce and a few swiss chards, as well as the lavender I'm starting from cuttings (the main lavender plant is blooming now)
The hens are loving the longer days and have started laying again with gusto. They also love the 'chicken fort' that Andrew built for them from a cardboard box. He loves that they lay their eggs in their fort.
I did not think I was ready (I'm still bummed we 'missed' our winter) but bring on spring 2012.