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Starting Garden 2016

Watering the garden to start blending the soil additions and the few existing plants.

Watering the garden to start blending the soil additions and the few existing plants.

As a branch to my food endeavors, I’m including some coverage here on my gardening efforts. Since the end results are ultimately to be used in my home cooking and/or canning projects, it’s appropriate. I’m continuing to use the raised bed set-up that I started a couple of years ago. (Disregard the bulky wooden thing next to the garden. I’m rethinking trying to use it somehow and will break it down soon.) Unfortunately, some boards are bowing and some wood is rotting. I’m trying to shore them up with some stakes, but I may be looking at a rebuild next year.

Shoring up some problems.

Shoring up some problems.

Also, my rotary tiller is kaput, so I bought a small electric model for $150. Less maintenance and no fuel to mix.

Small electric rotary tiller...works just fine.

Finally, the garden was pretty much a failure last year. I figure that the fertilizer and lime that I tried to add to the soil did not do the trick in revitalizing the soil. This year, I have decided to add four big bags of MiracleGro 6 month feeding potting soil and some Jobe’s Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer.

The first thing I did was break up the ground with a shovel. Next step was to till the existing dirt with some of the fertilizer. Then I added the potting soil and tilled it again. I used a thatching rake to level everything out and remove fibrous roots, acorns, sweetgum balls, and leaves.

I still have left, surviving in the garden from last year (amazingly), some parsley, a couple of grape vines (that I hope to transfer to a separate set-up someday), some Cascade hops rhizomes, and some ginger root with green plants above. I’ve never done ginger before, so I’m not sure where that project will go. The hops bines (why they aren’t called “vines”? I don’t know….) should be spouting up any time now.

For new plantings, I’ve checked what gardening zone I am in and picked some things accordingly. I have added some oregano and a yellow bell pepper plant, from seedlings.

My son, helping to add the oregano and bell pepper plants.

My son, helping to add the oregano and bell pepper plants.

The rest of my choices, to start with, are seed packets. Most, I plan to plant directly in the garden, but I did buy some little biodegradable seed starters. The seeds I bought for a mid-March start are: beets, mixed color carrots, radishes, mixed color Swiss chard, and basil. Pretty sure I’m going to plant everything directly, except the basil.

Seeds.

Seeds.

IMG_20160316_151829651

Two pots in front have some strawberry plants from two years ago. Lets see how they like the new soil and fertilizer mix.

So, since I have invested in the tiller and another $150 in tools, soil, and fertilizer, I’m really hoping to have a better harvest this year, to reap some benefits from the investment!

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