Our 2022 garden: preparing beds for planting

Last night, I was able to head outside again and work on a couple of the low raised beds. We’d done these in the fall, but they need more work again.

I managed to get a bed and a half done last night.

We definitely need to raise these beds higher. With the constant bending to pull the rhizomes and roots out, by the time I was done, I was feeling light headed and ill. 😦

The garlic hear is doing very well. The other two beds are doing very poorly. Because I planted them in a grid, I could use the few sprouted garlic to figure out where others should be, and gently dug down. I’ve found some cloves with their bit of leaf sprouted, but not at all green. I suspect we may have lost a lot of cloves to the cold, even though they were heavily mulched.

The remaining three beds need to be worked on, but we’ll have to do the pea trellises, first. Those should be planted already, and the purple peas the sprouted from seeds we saved need to be transplanted. They are frost hardy, so we don’t have to wait until past our last frost date, and they’re getting too big for their pots.

Today, however, I was expecting our potatoes to come in, so I really wanted to get that second bed deep mulched. I was very happy to be able to pick up some more cardboard from my new homesteading friend this morning – and get to visit her chickens, guinea hens and ducks! I was very inspired. We so need to get a coop built, so we can have chickens!!

They didn’t have as much carboard as list time, but I was also offered stacks of egg trays, so I went ahead and took those, too. The one downside of this program: it may keep a lot of food waste out of the landfills, but the farmers and homesteaders are left will all sorts of packaging, and not all of it can be reused. Even some of the cardboard has a wax coating on it, can can’t be used as mulch. Stuff is still going to end up in the landfills.

But not the cardboard I got today! πŸ™‚

This is the area that needed to be worked on. This had two layers of black tarp over it!

We are dry enough that I could break out the weed trimmer (and three extension cords!) and use that, first.

I trimmed right into the ground as much as I could, which tended to reveal plenty of surface rocks. I stopped frequently to pick the bigger ones. I’m not sure how much of a difference it will make, but better to remove them while the chance was there!

After this was done, I dug some hoses out of the garden shed and set up. It was very hot (we hit at least 22C/72F, which is higher than forecast) and windy, so I wanted to be able to wet down the cardboard as I worked, to make sure it wouldn’t blow away.

By this time, the post office was open again, so I headed out to pick up the potatoes, only to discover they weren’t in yet! I suppose I should have checked the tracking number first. Ah, well. I needed to get more milk at the store, anyhow! The tracking number now says they should arrive tomorrow by end of day, but the store is open only half a day tomorrow. Hopefully, it’ll be in, in the morning. We’ll see.

Once home, it was back to work!

This is when I ran out of cardboard, including what was left over from last time!

This is where I ran out of egg trays, including some of our own that we’d been saving. They’re laid in interlocking layers, so each row is at least two layers deep.

What to do next?? This is a large area to cover.

I scrounged around the house and found some boxes I could break down. Then I remembered we still had some moving boxes in the basement. We’d been saving them for something – I can’t even remember what, anymore – but the new basement now gets wet where a rain barrel had been allowed to overflow, before we moved here, and the boxes have been water damaged.

Which is just perfect for here.

I used up almost all of the old moving boxes! I think there’s three left, now.

I kept having to pause and use the hose, because they were drying so quickly in the sun. The egg trays, at least, hung on to their moisture a lot more.

Then it was time to start laying out the straw.

This took up a lot of that big straw bale!

Since I had the hose handy, I took the time to wet down the straw every now and then – and the cardboard, so it would still be wet as I laid the straw down. It took quite a while to get it done, but I think it worked out better that way. I hosed down the other bed as well, but it takes a lot to get straw really wet. We’re expecting showers and thundershowers, on and off over the next couple of weeks, but it won’t be enough to really get it soak, so we’ll be hosing it down daily. I plan to chit the potatoes, so we should have a few days to get it really good and wet.

The high raised bed, with its onion transplants and sown spinach, also got thoroughly watered.

While I was working on this, a daughter was back out digging holes for when the trees come in, until the heat became too much for such heavy manual labour. It was bad enough that she had to break out the loppers to cut roots she was hitting, not to mention all the rocks she had to clear out, too! Including both the bison berry and the highbush cranberry, she’s digging two rows of 16, three feet apart. Then there’s just the holes along the lilac hedge for the 5 sea buckthorn, and those will be ready for when the trees arrive. The shipping date for those is scheduled for May 30, with an expected arrival of June 2. Once they arrive, we need to get them in the ground as quickly as possible – and have a way to protect the saplings from being eaten by deer!

For now, we are ready for potatoes. Now that we finally have a break in the weather, the next few weeks are going to see a lot of garden activity! I’m eyeballing the long range forecast, on three different apps, and while they are all slightly different, none of them are suggesting we’ll be getting frost, and overnight lows are looking pretty good. I might have to chance it with some of our transplants. The kulli corn is outgrowing their toilet paper tube pots and need to be in the ground! I’m still not even sure where I’ll be planting them. They can grow up to 8 feet tall, so I’m thinking of putting them along the back of the main garden area, where we’d tried growing gourds our first year of gardening. They’ll be protected by trees from the north, while getting full sunlight all day. They would be planted in two or three long rows, closer together, rather than a block, but I think it will still work out.

This is going to be a very interesting gardening year!

The Re-Farmer

2 thoughts on “Our 2022 garden: preparing beds for planting

    • Isn’t it amazing? The lawn even needs mowing, though it’s still too wet in places. It’s late, but the trees are finally starting to get their leaves now, too.

      Thanks re: the beds. I can hardly wait to be planting some cool weather crops in them!

      Liked by 1 person

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