Our 2021 garden: new bed built

It was an absolutely gorgeous day today!

My younger daughter and I took advantage of it and built a new garden bed in the area we plan to plant tomatoes.

The tomato seedlings are doing well, as are the luffa.

They have roots starting to show out the bottoms of the pots already!

The onions in the sun room are doing well, but not to much the ones planted more recently.

As for the gourds, none have sprouted yet but, from what I’ve read, they do take a long time to germinate.

Here is where the tomatoes will be going.

We did absolutely nothing to the ground before we started. There really wasn’t any point of even trying.

The first step was to cover the grass.

Actually, the first step was to cut down that maple. I’d already noted that it was creating so much shade when in full leaf, that a unique lilac in the flower bed beside it was being killed off. The stump was left high and will become the support for a seat. The main trunk and some of the larger branches are being kept for future projects.

We’ve been saving the cardboard boxes from cat litter, and their flaps were placed against the fence as a short barrier to hold in the soil.

Well… after spending some time removing all the tape. It took more time to get all the tape off than to lay out the cardboard!

Those and some moving boxes were enough to cover the entire space between the flower bed and the fence. πŸ™‚

Then, we broke out the new soaker hose! πŸ™‚

We will likely be going below freezing tonight, so the water will still need to be shut off from the basement when we’re done, but for a warm day like today, we could use the hoses for a while.

The soaker hose is 50 ft/15m, so we’re looking at approximately 25 ft/7 1/2m for the new bed.

While letting that soak, my daughter and I began bringing loads of straw over from the bale in the big garden area.

We probably could have left the water running all day to soak it thoroughly, but we didn’t bother. We did move the soaker hose over by the haskap berry bushes, though, and left the water running while we moved on to the next step: spreading the straw.

Actually, I spread the straw while my daughter filled a couple of wheelbarrows of soil and brought them over. Once the cardboard was covered, we tromped back and forth on it, stamping it down, then lay the soaker hose back over it.

We left that to soak and took a walk around the big garden area and talked about changing a few things.

The above image shows the existing beds from last year’s garden, in green. The three smaller beds in the middle were going to be where our three varieties of spinach would be planted. I was thinking we might change those up completely. Instead of three short beds oriented East-West, it would probably be better to have two longer beds oriented North-South, like the two we already have. One of the North-South beds was supposed to have shallots planted in it, but the shallot seedlings failed, so we’ll still have three beds available to plant spinach (and whatever else we interplant with them).

Eventually, we will be building accessible raised beds here, so nothing is permanent at this point, anyhow.

There’s also the two small beds – the shorter green rectangles in the above pictures – where we’d planted potatoes last year. There’s nothing stopping us from making those longer, stretching into the skinny bit that’s marked in orange.

So that’s what we’ll do with those areas.

By the time we went back to the new bed, my older daughter was done work for the day and was able to join us.

The first thing they did was stop using the larger wheelbarrow, because it sucks. :-/ Actually, they both do. We need to get a new wheelbarrow! Just one good one is enough. πŸ™‚

So one daughter had shovel duty, filling the smaller wheelbarrow, while the other brought it over and dumped it, then I spread the soil until a new load was brought. The job was done very quickly!

The area of straw left uncovered will be a pathway. At some point, we’ll put in some pavers or something, but for now, the straw and cardboard will keep the weeds and grass down. That and lots of tromping it down with our feet. πŸ™‚

Each of the haskaps got a load of soil around them, too.

Then, because the hose was handy, the soil got a brief watering, more to keep it from blowing away than anything else.

Our last frost date is June 2, so this will have more than a month for the straw to settle. We’ve got one more warm day, then we’re supposed to get snow. Long range forecast sees more snow and rain into the first few days of May. Any precipitation we get will help settle it more, and we’ll be able to see if we need to add more soil or not.

If all goes well, I will use tomorrow to dig a new bed next to the garlic beds, before things cool down again. That one will be a lot more physical labour than this one was!

I’m looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

One area done, many more to go! πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

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