Our 2021 garden bed prep, and dealing with the heat

The weather forecast said that we would be cooler today.

They lied.

When I did my morning rounds, it was already above 20C/68F, and we easily hit 28C/82F this afternoon, with a humidex above 30C/86F. Which meant that we spent as much of the day indoors, out of the heat, as we could. Thankfully, the way things are oriented, we can keep certain windows open to allow a cross breeze without heating the house up.

The cats appreciate that.

Yes, we leave the little step ladder at the door, just so they can look out the window! It was so funny to watch these to, with their matching positions, heads turning and tail tips twitching, in unison! Hard to believe that little Layendecker is now just as big as Cheddar! With the smaller cats, three of them can fit up there, but these big boys fill up the whole stop step! 😀

I did have to make a run into town, as we ran out of kibble for the outside cats. While I was there, I picked up some ingredients for my daughters. Yesterday, they finished off one of the giant bowls of spinach to make a spinach soup.

We’d already finished off one giant bowl, mostly through dehydrating (using the screens in the sun room didn’t work, so we did batches in the oven). When making the soup, that huge bowl cooked down to a remarkable small amount in the stock pot! 😀 With my trip into town, the girls have enough to make a huge batch of baked spinach dip, which we plan to enjoy while watching watching Sherlock Holmes, with Jeremy Brett and David Burke.

It’s going to be a late one, though. We didn’t get back from working on the garden until past 10pm. I had tried going out a bit earlier to start prepping the spinach beds to plant in again, but those beds are in full sun. I wasn’t interested in getting heat stroke! It didn’t get cool enough to head out again until past 8:30pm.

The girls did the evening watering while I worked on the beds.

The logs were added after we’d started making the beds, so once I’d cleared away the remains of the spinach plants and the weeds, I took advantage of the situation to level the beds out, and create a bit of a ridge around the edges, to help keep the water from draining down the sides – and taking the soil with it. I used a garden fork to loosen the soil, to more easily pull the roots out. I was most pleased with how keep the tines could go, without any sort of resistance. This bed would handle root vegetables very well!

I had “help” while I was working.

Nutmeg could not get enough attention! 🙂 While I was pulling out roots and weeds, he kept getting under me, demanding pets, and rolling around in the freshly turned soil, sometimes rolling right off the edge of the garden bed – just like his brother does on our beds, indoors! Unfortunately, when I was using the garden fork, he had a terrible habit of suddenly lunging at the fork to “catch” it, even as I was stabbing it into the soil.

This bed was surprisingly different from the first one. When pushing the fork into the soil, I would quickly go through the raised part of the bed – about 8 inches – then hit solid. I wasn’t hitting rocks. Just rock hard soil! The last bed was much the same, though not as bad as this one. There is a difference between them. The first bed I worked on had been a squash bed, mulched with straw, last year. These two beds were a last minute change. When I’d prepped the area last fall, I’d made three smaller beds oriented East-West, where three pumpkin hills had been. This spring, I decided to make these two larger beds, oriented North-South. The soil beneath would be a mix of soil that had been turned in the fall, and walking paths. It’s remarkable what a difference that one season of use the previous year has made in the soil of that first bed.

All three beds are now prepared and ready for planting! We will be planting lettuces in succession along one side of each bed.

Since the radishes we interplanted with the corn all disappeared, and I ended up picking up more. Three different varieties to try, though I couldn’t find a daikon type that my daughter likes. They are fast maturing, so we should be able to grow some radishes, and still be able to grow more spinach in these beds for a fall crop.

We’re not actually fans of radishes in general, so we won’t be planting many. I do want to leave some to fully mature. I’ve read that radish pods are very tasty, but it’s not something available in stores, and I’d like to try them. From what I’ve read in the past, radishes used to be grown for their pods, not their roots, and the pods can be canned as well. It should be an interesting experiment. I’m still disappointed that none of the ones we planted earlier survived, even though they did germinate so quickly. I had specially ordered those varieties for my daughter. 😦

We’ll just have to try them again, next year!

Well my other daughter had just swung by to inform me that the baked spinach dip is ready! I am really looking forward to it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

6 thoughts on “Our 2021 garden bed prep, and dealing with the heat

    • Ohhhh… the weather… 80s ate usually good here but have been oppressive lately due to humidity. My automatic fans have been kocking on at 8pm. I dread when we hit 100+!!

      Still… better than what I first read… 200°!!

      Liked by 1 person

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