With most of our attention focused on the kid last spring and summer, our 2014 garden expansion ended up being a bit of a bust. This year rather than trying to make the garden bigger, we’re focused on some fundamental improvements to make it better.
The first task here is soil improvement. We’re staring with heavily compacted, gravel-filled suburban lawn and last year’s half-hearted sheet mulching wasn’t nearly enough to transform it into healthy garden soil. This year, the sheet mulched bed is getting tilled up using our newly acquired Rogue field hoe and then planted with a green manure cover crop. Meanwhile, the raised bed soil’s getting supplemented with our first solid bunch of homemade compost.
After some reinforcement, the soil sifter I made out of scrap lumber and hardware cloth last year was up to the job of separating out the fine finished compost from the chunky bits. If we braved the snow to turn the pile over the winter I think we would have gotten more finished material, but what we have should be enough to build up the organic matter in the small beds.
The other big garden improvement we’ve embarked on is a fence to keep the critters out. We decided to hire professionals for that job and work is underway right now, so we’ll have pictures to share soon.
Finally, we invested a little money in a basic drip irrigation kit so we can water more effectively and efficiently throughout the season.
Hopefully, all these improvements will make a firm foundation for bountiful fruit and veggie harvests. On that note, we have some exciting plantings queued up for this season, including a fruit tree and some berry bushes. More on that in a future post.