It’s been one week since I sowed the seeds for soil repair. I’ve been watching closely hoping for some green sprout to push its way through the rich dark top soil. Well, get your machete and your local trail guide ready, because the brush is getting thick my gentle readers! Continue reading “Planting a Winter Garden: Status Report”
Late as usual
Hello dirty minded peeps! Well, as usual, I’m a bit late in my planting schedule. I was hoping to start my winter garden last month but have been swamped with other projects. This would be a poor time for most of you out there to start with the impending frost heading your way, but to folk living in SoCal it’s a moot point! This will be the first time I’ve ever tried doing a winter cover crop that wasn’t specifically just for the dinner table.
What is a Winter Cover Crop?
A winter cover crop consists of plants that are perfectly designed to repair the soil after all the leaching of nutrients that occurred during your spring and summer growing season. Not only do they add precious nitrogen to the soil, but many of the plants roots are perfect for reaching deep into the earth to break up the soil that your normal crops can’t reach. They then pull up the nutrients to make them accessible for the next spring/summer growing season. Then all you have to do is turn everything into the soil for a perfect green manure. It’s a win win situation! For more information on nitrogen fixing plants, check out my article on legumes!
Prepping the space
So the first thing I needed to do was to get the garden ready. I was getting tired of the many rows I made before and how inaccessible the whole garden was when everything was growing madly. I decided that I wanted to consolidate everything into one, easy to get around, raised bed. I had a bunch of scrap cedar planks left over from an exhibition at The San Diego Museum of Art that were used for our Piranesi exhibit as rustic wood flooring. I used some of it to build my chicken coop, a compost staging bin as well as other yard projects. One of the many perks of working at the museum is repurposed materials!
I began by pulling all the weeds out, removing the spent summer crops and raking the soil into a pile instead of the 4 rows it used to be. I had to move the micro drip irrigation in order to do all of this.
Beans beans, the magical fruit…
Have you ever started a new bed or a new garden only to be vastly disappointed with the general shabbiness of the growth? You’ve watered it the right way, given it plenty of sunshine. Maybe you even sang to the plants. Yet still, somehow, nothing really takes off the way it should.
One of the causes could be the quality of your dirt. We must always mind our dirt! It may be devoid of the proper levels of nutrients needed for healthy happy plant growth. If you want your plants to grow big and strong, one of the best ways is to give it nitrogen! Plants are like people, they love water, fresh air and sunshine but they also need to eat. Continue reading “The Wonderful Legume! Nature's nitrogen fixer and fertilizer you can eat.”