The forecast for today has changed, and we are expected to be even warmer than originally predicted. Before trying to get my husband to the lab in town for his blood work (he never even got to the counter to get his requisition; the line up was out the door, and was moving so slowly, he ended up leaving, due to his pain levels), I saw we’d already reached 13C/55F, which was originally our predicted high. The new high for the day was listed as 18C/64F. As soon as I could after we got back, I headed out to get the new bed done, before things got too hot.
Yeah. I know. It’s not really “hot”, but we’re not acclimatized yet!
This is what it looked like before I started.
I would like to point out how deep into the soil the spade is. This is actually really, really impressive. Pretty much anywhere else in the yard, I would not be able to get the spade that deep, even while standing on it – and I’m no lightweight! Typically, I’d shove the spade into the ground, turn around to do something else, only to have it fall over, moments later. What a difference with soil that has been buried for decades under where the wood pile for the furnace used to be.
The first thing to do was remove that lovely soft soil.
And more roots.
We’ve de-rooted this area three times, and I was still finding old cherry roots!!
Also, worms. Lots of worms!
I dug down until I hit gravel. Which was not as deep as the other two beds that our garlic is planted in.
You can see a root sticking out that I couldn’t remove. I decided it wasn’t worth going back to the sun room to get something to cut it with. Some of the other roots I pulled out went under the boardwalk on the side! I’d dug those areas down to the gravel, too.
Being near the compost ring, this bed is narrower than the others, as well as shallower.
Being right next to the compost ring came in handy, though.
I pretty much emptied the compost ring, then walked back and forth on it to stomp it down.
Using the contents of our compost pile like this, we aren’t getting a chance to get any finished compost! Which is fine. It’s still organic material for our garden beds.
Speaking of which…
Next came a layer of straw.
Unfortunately, the wind was really picking up, and things were blowing away, so I made sure to tromp all over the straw, too.
When it came time to return the soil, I did much of it by hand. This allowed me to break up lumps, remove rocks, old tree roots, weed roots, and gently cover the worms.
This is where a soil sifter would make things a lot easier.
Well. Except for the “gently cover the worms” part. That would be more of a “bash the worms to bits” thing. So I don’t mind doing it by hand!
With the previous beds, I returned the soil that was dug up, plus added the soil from where the paths are. I’m not making a path on the other side, so it’s just the soil I removed. I’d used that side area to pile grass clippings last year. Most was used elsewhere, but there still was some left, and that got added to the bed as well.
We will be adding some of the lovely new garden soil to this, but not yet. By this point, it was just too windy to keep working on it. Hopefully, it will calm down a bit, later. After today’s high of 18C/64F (it’s already 17C/62F), we’re supposed to drop to -3C/26F, with “isolated flurries”. Tomorrow’s high is only 2C/35F, so if I can get this finished today, that would be great.
I do want to break out the soil testing kit first, though. I want to compare soil samples from this area, with the big garden area, and with the new garden soil. That should be quite interesting!
So there is the new, layered, garden bed, almost complete. This will be a good bed for root vegetables. I think we’re planning to put a variety of beets in here, though maybe it would be better for carrots. We have several varieties of both beets and carrots, so we might even do one of each. We shall see!
A lot of our seeds packets say to direct sow “as soon as the ground can be worked.” Which, obviously, can be done now. With the predicted overnight temperatures, though, I don’t think I’d be willing to chance it for another week even if we cover them with plastic. Even cool weather crops have their limits! That will just give us more time to prepare the beds. We’ll have to go over the seed packets and figure out just how big some of them will need to be and start marking them out. That will help us make some decisions on exactly where different things will be planted. Especially those that will need trellises and other supports.
We have lots of work to do, and I’m so thankful to finally be able to get at it!!