>Gardening 2.0

Spring has sprung…or not. I was pretty excited about gardening last week but this cold snap has taken a little spring out of both my step and the air come to think of it.

We’ve been spending every spare minute and evening working on redoing our raised beds after reading the All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. He proposes an intensive gardening method in 4×4 foot raised beds with a mixture of vermiculite, peat and compost and suggest row planting is for machinery not the backyard gardener.

We made these big raised beds last year and had good success with them with a mixture of coffee bean compost from the Yard Waste facility in Springfield, compost and some peat but they were actually only half full anyway so we are taking the top layer of blocks off and creating more beds and plan to do more intensive planting this year according to Mel’s book. We’re all pretty excited about it.

You may also be impressed to know that I managed NOT to start any seeds yet. YET. I did go to Baker Creek Seeds last weekend and spent $40 on seeds, onion sets and seed potatoes (despite the great array you see there on the kitchen island) but I plan to buy the bulk of my plants at their May festival. I got all our seeds organized and I’m READY!

I also fixed up a little seedling station in the dining room and hope to get some pepper plants started this weekend. I’m not even going to bother with tomatoes … except for the one mystery heirloom tomato I made an attempt to save the seeds from. I doubt they’ll work, but who knows. It will be like playing the seed lottery!

Bryon and Gary worked on building beds for all the berries Bryon ordered from Stark Bros. which should arrive any day now. We’re ready for them!

And Grace entertained herself with sweeping out the barn and garage and searching for seashells in the gravel that we are putting down between the beds to keep the weeds out.

I also finally learned how to use the chainsaw and got about a dozen loads of gravel with the tractor this week from the big pile and dumped them between the rows. I also got the chicken house all cleaned out and spic and span! You could sleep in there if you wanted to but then again… We are going to expand the chicken yard to about double the size and put a gate between the yards so later if I have two sizes or kinds of chickens I want to keep separate I can. The six hens are still laying (year two for them) but I want to get six more pullets and a rooster so I can try raising my own. I’m interested in the Buckeyes which are rare, heritage breed chickens but 25 is the fewest I can order online I think and that’s way more than I want.

These are what the Buckeyes look like.
I’ll have to do some more looking around until I figure out what to get and where.

Thank God I’m a country girl 🙂


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