After finishing my morning rounds, I remembered to check the tracking information and saw that our potatoes were ready for pick up. After picking up the nice big, heavy bag, I made a spur of the moment purchase and got some more wood shavings. We still had a small amount left over from last year, but since we can’t quite use our wood chipper yet, I decided it was worth picking up another bag. I’m glad I did!
One of the issues we have with our soil is that, when it’s watered, it develops a hard crust at the time, which seedlings have difficulty breaking through. One way to reduce that is with mulching – and that’s something we don’t have in the old kitchen garden right now. A straw mulch would be too much for what we’ve got in there right now. We do have lots of the hardwood pellets we use for cat litter, but I decided to use the shavings, too.
For some things, I could use the shavings for a slightly thicker mulch, such as around the irises and daffodils, and that one onion that predates us and keeps coming back, no matter how many times something managed to crunch it. The onions along the retaining wall are super tiny still, so they just got a very light mulch, as did the area we planted poppy seeds in, and the tiny patch with lettuce seeds next to the rose bush. More can be added later, as things grow, if necessary.
I even mulched one of the retaining wall blocks. Last year, we found a mystery bulb lying on the grass. We weren’t sure which of the bulbs we’d planted had lost one, so I just stuck it into this cube to see what came up. Nothing did, so it was quite a surprise to see what looks like a tulip emerging this year!
For the beds that are covered with netting, I still used the hardwood pellets, since they can fit through the net. It was a bit difficult to get it to spread evenly, since they wanted to roll into the furrows seeds were planted in, but those are what we want to protect from crusting, anyhow.
All the mulch got watered, so they can help keep the soil moist, and for the hardwood pellets to break up into sawdust. The seedlings should be able to push through the sawdust just fine.
Over time, the crusting problem will lessen as more organic matter like this mulch, breaks down into the soil. Definitely a long term process, but that’s par for the course! This garden has already been 4 years in the works, since we started cleaning it up and prepping it, our first summer here!
Ah, but what about those potatoes we finally picked up?
That will be in my next post! 🙂 I am really happy with them!