Taking advantage… of the weather.

Like many of you, I’ve been taking advantage of the unusual Spring-like weather. For the past several days, I’ve been working in my garden, raking, pruning, thinning plants and overall clean-up. Oh boy, I can feel those achy muscles I forgot I had!

Here’s the trimmings from my sage and Greek oregano plants! Don’t be shy to clean-up those woody stems of sage and cut back the runners from the oregano!

My trimmed Greek oregano and sage, neat and tidy.

I’m anxious to get a few seeds into the ground: a mix of salad greens, spinach, radish, leeks – basically, many of the cold weather crops. Do you know the website SproutRobot?  It will help you to plan your garden and advise you when you should start seeds indoors or plant directly outdoors. Pretty cool!

If you’re planning a veggie garden this Spring, don’t take shortcuts and neglect your soil. Remember – SOIL is the building block for all life! Soil is composed of: organic matter, clay, silt, fine sand & coarse sand. The organic matter contains the NUTRIENTS and improves any kind of soil texture!

Begin preparing your garden by amending the soil with organic matter. While you may purchase soil amendments, I prefer to use my own home-made compost!

Did you know…? When you use fertilizer, do you know what those three numbers, side-by-side tells you? The numbers tell you the amount of nutrients to be had — N-P-K — N is for nitrogen, produces green leaves & ‘above-ground’ growth. P is phosphorus (the second number) helps plants bloom flowers and make fruit or, root growth and flower development. Last, K is the third number, potassium, overall plant vigor, stress resistance, stem strength. Simply put (and easy to remember) N-P-K, above, below and all-around…. generally! (I used to ‘teach’ junior master gardeners). 🙂

Now, back to my photo. First, I harvested the rest of the carrots that over-wintered. We always plant lots of carrots for all the critters! Then, added lots of compost & double-dig – to aerate the soil & mix well… removing any debris. I found lots of worm (that’s good) and only one grub (that’s bad).

My favorite garden tool – a garden fork! I use it to break up the soil, dividing & transplanting plants and finally, harvesting potatoes!

This is my ‘BEFORE’ compost. We use three-stage compost bins: one bin for  accumulating garden debris, one that’s in-process, and the third bin, for finished compost. Plant waste goes into the bin throughout the growing season. Late Fall, The Big D, normally processes the garden waste through his chipper/shredder (that operates off his tractor PTO) to reduce the particle size, increasing surface area and accelerating decomposition! It’s much easier to turn-over (to aerate) the pile, when it’s well-mulched!

This is my finished compost: rich, black gold that’s  full of valuable nutrients for healthy growth of the garden plants. Depending on it’s use, I may screen it, but more often, I just add it direct to the garden… tossing out the stone or stick.

You can see my 3-stage compost bin…the empty bin, when not in use, provides space for additional plants.

Composting is a must-do, if you have a garden!

Finally, I’ll rake out the bed nice and level and it’s ready for planting!

Happy gardening!

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